May 29, 2015 5 mins
Flexibility is the key factor behind the meteoric rise of online-learning. Structured learning in the form of lectures and readings can take workers out of their routine and rarely allows for contextual learning, whereas the flexibility of digital and mobile learning presents an opportunity to integrate training within day to day tasks and can be completed on-demand and in short bursts for just-in-time learning.
Another key selling point for online learning is the ability to tailor a course to the personality of the student. Content can be adapted and delivered in a number of different ways, allowing the student to work in what they believe to be the most engaging and beneficial way.
Below is a closer analysis of six of the most common emerging trends in digital learning and development:
Mobile is an ideal platform for bite-size content that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Push technology can reinforce learning and conveniently send updates or reminders to users while reducing cognitive load.
Various platforms such as Snapguide, a service for creating and sharing how-to guides on iOS devices, demonstrate the potential for just-in-time or in-context learning.
Gamification is the application of game elements or mechanics in a non-game context. For millennials who grew up in a digital world, some of whom have averaged 10,000 hours of game-time by the time they’re 21, attention-grabbing content delivery via gamification can significantly enhance motivation and engagement in a learning environment.
Ribbon Hero is a Microsoft Office game that puts this theory into practice, by teaching students how to use Microsoft Office through a set of challenges. The game provides immediate feedback, an overview of progress, and a social sharing feature to encourage continued engagement.
In contrast to gamification, serious games are simulations of real world events designed specifically for educational purposes. They are strong examples of technical, scenario-based training that benefits from complete immersion in an environment that may be difficult to replicate in the real world.
Various examples can be found on Serious Games Interactive, including wind power safety and PTSD assessment.
Augmented reality superimposes digital content onto a physical, real-world environment. It creates a blended, immersive world for the learner, but unlike virtual reality, participants are still in touch with real world elements.
Click the link below for an example of augmented reality being used for welding training:
In the modern workplace employees often do not have time to complete a full online course, and so companies that produce training modules are rolling out shorter content and modules on an as-needed basis that is consistent with the minimum viable product model. This has the benefit of maximising validated learning and only producing content in response to the user’s needs.
Bitfountain created a minimum viable course that started as an iOS programming meetup and now has over 10 programming courses that have generated $2m in sales.
An adaptive learning system tailors the delivery of the curriculum in real-time based on the learner’s performance, needs, and preferred interaction style. For learners, the ability to control their learning experience increases their interest level and engagement.
One of many examples of an Adaptive Learning course is delivered by Smart Sparrow.
Forward-thinking companies are already embracing many of these technologies, and these trends suggest that online-learning is set to become even more seamlessly embedded into the day to day workflow, flexibly delivering content in short bursts just in time for the task at hand. Meanwhile, platforms will only continue to advance their facilities.
Bold prediction for the future: Wibbitz, a text to video platform that creates new content in real time from existing assets. I think we’re looking at the future of e-learning.
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