Online learning is revolutionising the higher education industry. It’s a cost-effective system that enables students to study at their own time and pace wherever they are in the world – all they need is a computer with a high-speed internet connection. With technology continually improving and evolving, here are some of the likely e-learning trends for 2019.
With human attention spans declining (recent studies suggest that people now lose concentration after just 8 seconds), teachers have been using microlearning as an effective method of delivering content. Microlearning teaches in small, specific bursts (10-15 minutes) and is objective driven, focusing on a single learning objective per asset. Teaching methods may include videos, games, quizzes, or infographics, and enables learners to apply new knowledge and skills in a short time period. The concept is not new (flashcards are examples of microlearning) but has been refined to maximise student engagement and optimise the use of digital technology. Microlearning grew in popularity throughout 2018 and will continue to trend throughout 2019.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Chatbots have already revolutionised the customer service industry and now they are making their way into higher education facilities. Acting as virtual advisers, chatbots can adapt courses to students’ abilities so they can follow along at their own pace. By engaging in a dialogue with students, chatbots can establish which topics learners are struggling with and personalise the curriculum accordingly. Bots can also help students search for key content in modules using voice-guided technology. A more affordable way of providing every student with a personal tutor, the use of chatbots in higher education is likely to become increasingly common this year.
What better way to engage students than by turning a learning experience into a game? Cognitive science studies show that games engage long-term memory, optimise the brain’s processing of new information, and release happiness hormones such as dopamine and serotonin that help to stimulate learning. With numerous ways of incorporating games into curriculum materials, the use of game-based learning will continue to trend.
Thanks to the popularity of video-based sites such as YouTube, video learning has become a favoured way of engaging students and maintaining interest levels in both physical and online classrooms. Students can take control of their own learning process by pausing, rewinding, forwarding or adding subtitles to videos as required, and teachers can make video learning interactive through the use of quizzes, games, or links to third-party sites or articles. As technology improves, the focus will be on decreasing video size and load times for an optimal e-learning experience.
Interested in a teaching career in Higher Education? Falmouth University’s Flexible Learning PGCHE programme focuses on the growing importance of online learning, enabling graduates to develop an informed and critically reflective teaching practice within a fast-changing sector. Visit our course page for more information.