The growth of e-learning, or e-learning, does not stop. It was already a growing trend for years, but without a doubt the events experienced, both in Spain and in a large part of the world, due to the COVID-19 have only added fuel to the engine of e-learning.
Whereas before e-learning was a convenience, in 2020 we have seen how it has become, on occasions, a necessity. Schools, universities and other training centres have been forced to adapt their training plans in record time during these times of pandemic. But have we learned anything positive from this painful experience, and what will be the trends that will mark the 2020/2021 academic year or beyond? Let’s find out in this article.
How has interaction with students changed?
The most obvious change when it comes to online versus face-to-face courses is communication with students. Since there is no direct contact in the classroom, it is necessary to put extra effort into interacting with students, and using digital tools is essential.
Programmes such as Zoom or Google Meet have seen an exponential growth in their use, and even universities have their own learning platforms. These tools are not only used to talk to students, but on many occasions also to share files, use a virtual blackboard and even carry out online activities and tests.
Not only that, the way classes are arranged has also changed. Although many centres are opting for a face-to-face model by videoconference, in which the student is present in class at the same time as being broadcast, there is a greater facility for recording and uploading classes to a virtual platform where they can have them available at all times. This is also very useful for training companies, which will be able to take advantage of the content of these classes to hold webinars on demand, for example, although always respecting the privacy of the students.
Smartphones will be the new classrooms
If you have knowledge in positioning or web design or you are up to date with the trends in e-commerce, you will understand the importance of the mobile phone in today’s internet. An increasing number of users are connecting through their mobile and even make purchases online, why would it be different in education?
The increased availability of online education invites users to make it available in the way that suits them best, so it is logical to think that most users will prefer to connect from their mobile devices. In fact, especially in families with fewer resources, they may have easier access to mobile phones or tablets than to other computer equipment such as laptops or desktops.
It is therefore essential that our online training takes into account this significant percentage of users, and that we ensure that they can enjoy the learning process from the device of their choice.
E-learning is also Mobile Learning.
Education, in small doses
Did you know that there are key cycles of attention in our brain that range from 90 to 110 minutes? Moreover, several studies show that sustained attention can only be maintained for short periods of time not exceeding 15 minutes.
Online training allows us to have more control over the timing of each lesson. If we use a live model, we will have it easier since we will not lose time in travelling or have problems such as availability of classrooms, which allows us more freedom when it comes to making schedules and classes more compact.
If we follow a video-on-demand model, we will have complete control over the time of the classes and we can segment the information as much as possible: instead of posting a 2-hour class, it is better to upload 4 30-minute classes, each one focused on a key point. In addition, students will be able to consult more easily the points where they are most lacking, instead of having to watch a whole long class again.
Video is the king of content
It comes as no surprise that multimedia content, specifically video, is the one that is being most implemented in both leisure and education. In fact, throughout the article we have taken it for granted that a large part of the educational offer will be based on video, whether it is on demand or live broadcasts.
But can we go further?
In leisure, the video game sector has already far surpassed the film industry in terms of revenue. The gamification or playfulness of the learning process is very effective and considerably increases engagement with students. Platforms such as Kahoot! allow for competitions and tests that will make the classroom experience much more dynamic.
In addition, there is technology developed mainly for video games, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, which are being used in some disciplines such as architecture or medicine, as they allow us to visualise virtual elements in our environment more clearly.
Looking to the future
As we can see, education has evolved dramatically, sometimes even forcibly with situations such as the pandemic, but we must be aware of all developments in the field of education, in order to best train future professionals, or improve our own skills.