When schools were forced to cease face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 epidemic in March 2020, online education attracted widespread attention. According to UNESCO estimates from 2020, the global health crisis has forced over 1.7 billion students out of school. As a result, educational institutions were forced to transition lectures and courses to elearning as quickly as possible.
Besides, today’s instructors are well aware that the 21st-century student is no longer interested in traditional classroom learning, which confines them to textbooks and lecture halls. Rather, they choose freely available internet channels that provide them with a considerably greater range of self-learning options. In fact, the scope of online learning is no longer limited to school and competitive exams, but has expanded significantly. Many online players have entered the upskilling market, assisting job seekers in acquiring new skills and preparing for today’s changing work market.
We have prepared a list of five popular online learning trends that are transforming the way we study.
Institutions of higher education are expanding their online learning programs
Though demand for elearning in some parts of the online education market, such as K-12, may fall after COVID-19, higher education institutions will continue to see significant demand for digital content and courses.
When students are picking between online learning and traditional classroom instruction, flexibility and convenience are two of the most critical deciding criteria. In Learning House’s Online College Students 2019 survey, 63 percent of 1,500 registered online students said they enrolled in an online program because it was the best fit for their work and personal commitments, while 34 percent said it was the best fit for them and only 3% said it was because they could only find their program online. According to the same survey, 67 percent of online course students lived within 50 miles of the college or university where they were enrolled. This is an increase from 42% five years ago. This is a fascinating statistic since it suggests that more local schools are offering online courses.
According to Guide2Research, if online education’s relevance grows following the pandemic, and interest and enrolment numbers continue to rise, higher education institutions will extend their online program offerings as a strategic reaction to the current demand.
While online learning and technology-based paedagogy continue to grow in importance in the face of the global epidemic, experts advise that going entirely online should only be considered as a supplement to traditional academic methods, not as a long-term educational strategy.
Top-of-the-line, transformative educational technology
The academic experience has developed and changed in the same way that people have through the pandemic. Institutions need trustworthy technology, such as strong systems and secure networks, to give students with educational accessible from anywhere in the new world of high-volume, remote learning. A school’s commitment to invest in user-friendly technology for a smooth experience might help overcome time, technological, and location barriers to learning throughout the digital move to huge virtual learning. Faculty training and development must be included in the digital delivery of education so that all tech-related questions may be answered swiftly and easily.
Whether universities seek to engage students for COVID-19 updates or give ‘coming attractions’ of future careers, some of the innovative solutions utilised to overcome the pandemic’s obstacles include:
- Chatbots with artificial intelligence (AI)
- Subscriptions to e-blasts
- Alert programs that send out mass text messages
- Social media platforms
- 3D Printing
- Applications for texting
- Zoom and Microsoft Teams are two examples of virtual conference software
- Virtual reality simulations, among other things
Schools are also employing analytic tools to pinpoint data that reveals what is working and what isn’t in order to insure user consistency across the board. Schools can practically meet learners where they are with improved capacity for technology-enhanced learning. Students are more engaged and empowered to push themselves and their futures forwards when they have easy access to the material.
Changing traditional curricula
The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the need to digitise and personalise courses with a special focus on the future occupations of individuals enrolled, with many college and institution doors closed.
When unemployment is at an all-time high and unemployment is at an all-time low, the importance placed on education takes on new meaning. With job outcomes and return on investment at the forefront, accelerated programs, online degrees, and skill-building, short-term certificate programs are gaining traction.
Many institutions have collaborated with local firms, civic organisations, and state legislators to develop curricula that teach industry-specific skills. Sectors in need of a broad resurrection, such as sophisticated manufacturing, can create educated, competent individuals who are ready to work in these specialist areas.
Corporate partnership programs now work with schools and universities, collaborating with students and their career services teams to help them achieve their professional goals.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced curriculum. Along with it, the ways by which instructors pass on new knowledge are evolving, as is the flexible way students learn.
Some institutions started to use the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) paradigm to reinvent existing educational infrastructures and provide a more student-centered approach to academics in order to make education as accessible as feasible for all learners, regardless of their location. The fascinating UDL framework breaks up the monotony of standard memory tactics. UDL allows students to demonstrate mastery of course material on their own terms, allowing them to communicate what they’ve learned through writing, animation, song, podcast, dance, or other means. No matter where a student is, whether in the classroom or on the internet, UDL can help them succeed.
Gamification and serious games are gaining traction
While video games were formerly one of the most common reasons for parents to scold their children, gamification has evolved as a new type of learning tool that is universally approved by educators. A huge number of players in this area are gamifying many ideas that might assist students improve their problem-solving ability, information retention, and overall performance in a very engaging and fun-learning manner. Educators have used this method to teach important skills that students will need in the future.
Gamification tactics such as badges and leaderboards are being used by colleges and universities to boost student participation in school activities, stimulate them to pursue learning outside of the classroom, and assist them boost their social engagement with peers. Gamification has also been employed at other colleges to educate soft skills and encourage students to develop a habit of lifelong learning. These initiatives have been demonstrated to promote not only student enthusiasm and success, but also school retention.
There is a large body of evidence that supports the educational benefits of serious games. In one study, serious games were found to be useful in increasing cognitive abilities and producing a positive attitude towards general learning, while another found that serious game-based learning kept students and teachers engaged for longer than nongame-based learning. The caveat with serious games is that they must be carefully designed in order to have the desired effect on different types of learners and to effectively teach the goal material.
Because not every teacher or institution has the technological expertise, time, or finances to create serious games, they may want to look into other educational technology solutions designed expressly for gamification tactics in the classroom. Quizizz and Kahoot!, for example, can assist teachers in turning any subject into a game. Other programmes, such as Minecraft: Education Edition, allow students to work together in a gaming world that is connected to the topic they are studying in class.
Taking a learner-centered approach to improve outcomes
People explore development opportunities throughout their careers to keep up with the rapid pace of technological progress. As a result, institutions must adopt a learner-centered strategy in order to make it easier to obtain an education and succeed once classes begin.
Meeting the individual needs of each learner is critical to their success, yet this can be difficult. The population of online learners is becoming more complicated, as the Online College Students report reveals. A single class could contain recent high school grads, community college grads, working adults, and single parents, – a level of complexity that necessitates the use of artificial intelligence for personalisation. Furthermore, because students have a variety of learning styles, it’s critical to provide programmes in their prefered format, whether it’s online, on campus, or a mixture of the two.
Taking a learner-centered approach also necessitates institutions scrutinising present regulations in order to remove learning impediments. Throughout this process, administrators should ask themselves: Is this policy in the best interests of the students? Or does it exist because that’s how we’ve always done things? If the latter is true, simplifying policies could help more students achieve their objectives.
Now that students have more options for where they will continue their education, tailoring programmes to meet individual requirements is critical. If a local university does not provide a flexible education path to a student’s goals, he or she may be able to find one through a distance-learning program. Sentinel9 recognises this, which is why we collaborate with institutions to create, implement, and administer education programs that enable students to reach their next and subsequent goals.
How can you take advantage of these online education trends?
Many of the advancements and advances in online education are being pushed by emerging technologies. They have the potential to democratise education, foster self-directed learning that results in interested and motivated students, and assist educators and trainers in identifying their students’ learning needs so that better support and guidance can be provided.
However, we can see how technology cannot solve the problem on its own. Strategic relationships between Edtech businesses, governments, and schools and universities are critical to bringing these changes to online education to fruition.
- Ahmad, T. (2020). Scenario based approach to re-imagining future of higher education which prepares students for the future of work. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 10 (1), 217-238. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/HESWBL-12-2018-0136/full/html
- Krippel, G., A., McKee, J., & Moody, J. (2010). Multimedia use in higher education: Promises and pitfalls. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1056343
- McIntyre, S. (2011). Case study: Teaching with web 2.0 technologies: Twitter, wikis & blogs. College of Fine Arts Online: The University of New South Wales: Sydney, Australia. https://www.coursera.org/lecture/teach-online/case-study-teaching-with-web-2-0-technologies-twitter-wikis-and-blogs-optional-kLJwx
- Ragan, L. (n.d.). Principles of effective online teaching: #8 safe and secure. In C. Hill (Ed.), 10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education. Faculty Focus: Special Report. Magna Publications: Madison, WI. https://www.facultyfocus.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/10-Principles-of-Effective-Online-Teaching.pdf