The world of e-learning is not a static place – constant changes and advancements continually unfold new techniques and processes. Some trends are of an experimental nature, while some are here to stay.
2019 has already proven to have started as an exciting year, and we will closely observe any developments. While we cannot discuss all the relevant trends, we have selected those that are particularly noteworthy.
By now, most of us have come across the term “user-generated content”, referring to the concept whereby the users contribute with their own content. While at first one may argue that users do not have formal qualifications, they still provide their unique perspective and can come up with very practical ideas that facilitate their struggles in the e-learning process. Furthermore, the theory of “wisdom of crowds” (as, for example, suggested by James Surowiecki) applies here – the more individuals contribute, the higher the chances that the overall outcome will improve. User-generated content has already gained strength in 2018 and has been adapted by many.
Several trends in e-learning can be found in the area of meeting contemporary student needs. The modern student crowd has different wishes compared to more traditional student types. These include a higher demand for mobile learning for students on the go. An e-learning provider will need to find better ways to satisfy the desire for mobile access to education content. The keyword here is responsive design (a Web design approach that is targeted towards displaying Web pages on a variety of devices and screens).
The same is true for microlearning, which allows students to learn one small chunk at a time. The consequence is that education providers would be well advised to consider courses with smaller modules and units that can be quickly completed. With many students struggling with numerous commitments and challenges other than their e-learning enrolments, this allows them to progress without getting lost in complex modules. Microlearning can meet the needs of diverse individuals, which inevitably leads to adaptive learning. Here, the individual’s needs are taken into account, and programs are structured in such a way that students are allowed to progress at their own pace while receiving targeted support.
So far, we have discussed the needs of students – now we turn towards the education itself. This is all about playfulness.
The increasing role of video-based instruction cannot be overlooked. Here, students benefit from a more realistic way of receiving information, which includes voice and moving pictures. It’s a technique that does not only enhance the learning experience for the student. A video needs to be recorded once and can be watched as much as needed, so it is also an efficient way of teaching. The developments, however, haven’t stopped here, and interactive videos are an intriguing way of making e-learning fun. Fun is also the keyword for gamification of e-learning programs, a trend that is only limited by the creativity of the developers. It’s a science in its own right and includes highly engaging activities such as simulations, timed decision-making activities, story-based games, and interactive learning games. Gamification can lead to high user engagement and positive attitudes towards learning.
In a nutshell, current e-learning trends revolve around the needs of the contemporary student crowd as well as the design and structure of e-learning education materials. In a fast-changing world, trends appear out of nowhere, and some vanish as soon as they appear. We will stay tuned and keep you updated.