Predicting The Future Of E-learning

Today, e-learning has become the norm for the young tech-savvy Gen Z and millennials with many advanced trends like the inclusion of instructor-less training.

As schools entered the worldwide pandemic in March 2020, they were required to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of teaching which required moving away from traditional classroom learning to e-learning. Based on UNESCO data in 2020, more than 1.6 billion students were learning from their homes via video lessons. Overcoming a few hiccups in the beginning, most of the schools across the globe quickly adapted to this new way of teaching and even embraced it.

Though e-learning has been around for a while, it was the pandemic that really pushed it into the spotlight and made school administrations realise it wasn’t just because of the ‘new normal’ but e-learning would be in demand in the future as well. There are many socioeconomic factors that are also pushing the demand for e-learning, one of the most important being equal access to education for all.

Today, e-learning has become the norm for the young tech-savvy Gen Z and millennials with many advanced trends like the inclusion of instructor-less training. According to research, a high number of students are using online classes for both curricular and extracurricular activities, which definitely indicates a shift from traditional classrooms. Not only is e-learning technologically advanced, but it also offers many benefits like resource optimisation, teaching flexibility, learning at own pace, among many others. E-learning equips the student to see their learning applied to the real world and get a first-hand look at how their choices result in consequences or performance growth. As schools become more adept at providing experiential education through e-learning, being more than comfortable with technology themselves, young students around the world find no difficulty in adapting and preferring this style of teaching and learning as well.

Global adoption of technology in education is transforming the way we teach and learn and in 2021, these trends promise to become the standard of teaching while continuously innovating and improving.

Artificial intelligence tools

Young Gen Z are truly digital natives and prefer a digital experience in everything they do, including learning. To tap into this phenomenon, schools having used e-learning as the launch platform, have already started including new digital learning trends like Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to further innovate the learning process. AI in global markets is predicted to reach 2 billion USD by 2023 and growing at 38% CAGR in the forecast period of 2018-2023. In India, CBSE introduced 2 teachers’ handbooks that help outline the guidelines of AI and how to integrate it seamlessly into the school curriculum. The plan is to reach and teach 22,000 schools with the help of AI and other integrated futuristic technologies.

Already being practiced in the US, the education community in India is realising the importance of this disruptive technique of teaching which will customise the experiences of different learning groups like

students, teachers, and tutors in India as well. AI tools interfaces with customisation options for digital textbooks, byte-sized lessons, will help with visualisation and stimulation of a concept and generate and update the content of the lessons by customising it to the classroom's requirements.

Video-based learning

Though born out of necessity in 2020, video learning has been around for a while and it continues to play an important role as a learning technique. 2021 can see an unprecedented rise in this trend as it is flexible, which makes it accessible to a wider range of students across the globe as it removes the concept of ‘location’. Video-based learning or live streaming not only increases retention, is immersive, and allows comprehension more easily, it also increases student engagement and motivates them towards further learning and research.

Video-based learning is taking the lead when it comes to popular e-learning trends. It is more flexible than traditional classroom sessions as with video-based sessions teachers can integrate lessons with live interactions, ready-to-use features, study polls and so much more. The content can range from streaming and recording live classrooms to videos on educational concepts. It is a simple yet almost revolutionary concept in the sense that it can be seen as breaking down barriers in education and opening up the door to a wider pool of students.

Mobile learning

The current generation of learners, Gen Z has grown up in a world where a smartphone or mobile phone is a common phenomenon, and using one comes naturally to them. So experts have found a way to turn this medium into one of experiential learning. This learning approach involves immersing students in real-life situations and offers first-hand experience through mobile applications. Research shows that students actually prefer using apps on their phones anytime, anywhere rather than sitting at a desk on a computer or laptop for too long. Mobile learning offers flexible, anytime learning, seamless accessibility which also ensures that when students do spend time on apps, it is an educational app.

Hybrid learning

Supported by the National Education Policy and driven by recent developments due to the pandemic, the ed-tech sector is poised to grow rapidly, and “Virtual and Hybrid Learning” have become buzzwords in education today. Hybrid or blended learning is a fusion of in-person lessons and distance learning. With technology supporting this model, hybrid learning can be combined in any proportion when it comes to grading and classroom participation where each student can find their own unique blend of learning that suits their personal style as well. The hybrid-model classroom allows students to participate in classes from home and all are given the same opportunity to participate in class discussions and participate in online-class activities.

So the question is what’s the near future having in store for e-learning? It is in fact, worthy of saying that all of the trends highlighted are already being practiced and will only gain momentum in 2021. These

trends are increasing in demand and gaining larger audiences, with collaborative learning, engaging classrooms, and a surge in cross-platform learning becoming the norm in schools across the world.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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