Online learning was once, in itself, a new trend in education. There have been many innovations ever since the practice of online study began in the early 2000s. Online classes and e-learning websites have grown in scope and scale. New technologies have sprung up beside them to make them more accessible and widespread.
These technologies include things like video-conferencing software, virtual reality classrooms, and artificial intelligence in learning. But what are the latest trends that could potentially revolutionize online learning and education in the future?
Keep reading to find out what e-learning trends educators are following in 2021.
E-Learning in Education: Why Online Learning is Here To Stay
The sudden shift to online learning experienced by billions of learners around the world in 2020 super-charged the growth of digital education tools for students and teachers. Students, teachers, parents, and school boards all came to rely on new e-learning tech that was, in large part, untested.
While the roll-out of these new tools proved uneven in some parts, educators realized that tech-based, remote learning tools were on their way to becoming integral to the future of education.
Here are some of the e-learning in education trends that made an impact in 2020 and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.
Identified as one of the most popular trends in education since the early 2010s, mobile learning (via portable electronic devices like smartphones or tablets) became a lifesaver for many parents and students during the pandemic.
The widespread use of smartphones and the tech-savviness of young people made mobile learning the ideal platform to reach students.
Mobile electronic learning apps like Quizlet, Notability, and QuizUp were the backup that teachers needed to keep students motivated outside of regular online classroom hours.
These apps also provided a way for students to keep learning especially if they did not have the resources to keep up with remote classes.
While smartphones in the classroom have been treated traditionally as a distraction, the pandemic has shown that mobile learning apps give students more freedom to learn when they want and where they want.
Given that students will continue to use smartphones long after the pandemic is over, educators should be more accommodating to students using them to learn.
Also Read: Easy Learning Apps On Smart Phone
There was a lot of watching and listening done during the pandemic. Teachers, to keep students engaged, had to rely on more visually and aurally stimulating content.
Otherwise, they would risk deflating student’s interest in the whole enterprise of online learning. Inserting dynamic visual and aural content into their lessons also gave teachers a break, as it freed them from having to sustain their student’s attention for hours on end.
With a wealth of online educational content, it was not hard for teachers to find and then post links to relevant YouTube videos or news clips to their lesson plans.
Teachers even found ways to include things like podcasts and online social media posts to create real-world connections to material covered in their class, giving students a deeper understanding of the subject. As there formats will also be with us past the pandemic, they present an opportunity to broaden the tools used in online, as well as, in-person learning.
As learning continued (albeit online) after worldwide school shutdowns so too did testing, exams and other types of assessment. While higher education exams were either canceled, rescheduled or performed in socially distant settings, other types of testing and exams were still done but through new online formats.
The danger, of course, is that online testing could be thwarted by students who used the Internet to find the right answers rather than relying on their knowledge. This complication meant that teachers had to rely on encrypted document sharing programs that allowed them to send fillable tests in electronic formats like a PDF to be able to secure the process.
Programs like Lumin PDF allow multiple users to access a single file so teachers can see their student’s work in real-time. The program’s auto-save feature also meant that no work would be lost during a test, especially if a connection was lost. Setting time limits during an online test or asking for an adult in the household to supervise would also stave off any temptation to cheat during an online test.
Also Read: 5 Reasons to Use Skype to Learn a Language
The Rise of Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems came to the forefront during the pandemic. Their wide-ranging features like classroom management, lesson planning, and lesson distribution became a crucial lifeline between quarantined students and teachers.
Popular LMS platforms like Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Schoology made the transition to online learning easier.
Teachers were able to organize virtual lessons with the help of collaborative tools, assign students to work, as well as track their progress via performance trackers. While LMS is more prevalent in higher education than K-12 education, the latter had to embrace the technology when the pandemic hit.
While adoption of LMS platforms in elementary and secondary schools may recede after the pandemic, they may still prove useful to blended learning environments where teachers can still assign and track their student’s progress while also teaching in-person classes.
Learning management systems are also in demand in the private sector, as they make organization-wide training initiatives easier to develop and track.