The changing trends, content delivery and technologies in eLearning pose many opportunities for entrepreneurs and content developers. Once embraced, there will be a great change in the learning industry.
Trends Teachers are moving towards a facilitator role, whereby each learner will receive more attention in specific fields. This accommodates learners that learn at different speeds and motivates engagement.
lthough technologies advance the industry by allowing more delivery options, they have also become a restriction as teachers resist them through fear of becoming redundant.
Students are becoming more empowered and are led to do their own research. Collaboration with other learners is encouraged to gain more knowledge, even through social learning by using social media platforms like YouTube/Flicker/Twitter and various forums.
Content Interactive content has replaced static content delivery. This includes SCORM and lately “gamification”. Gamification teaches the learner real-life skills by playing games specifically designed for certain learning outcomes. The interactive learning approach enables all learners to obtain the required learning outcome in the same time period, accommodating those that traditionally fell behind owing to being slower readers.
Open access content and open source software can be used to deliver content cost-effectively.
There are open access publishers in the market, for example AOSIS Publishing, as well as Open Education Resource repositories worldwide, such as OER Africa. Some international universities have taken this one step further and introduced open courses, whereby learners can do a complete course at the university at no cost; the only cost is for certification or to obtain the degree. Examples here are iTunes university and Coursera. This also allows customised content to be delivered to audiences in certain fields with low to no Internet access.
Technology The traditional classroom model, where a teacher stands in front of learners, is rapidly changing to a form of blended learning, where the teacher becomes a facilitator to help learners develop research skills and explore the world on their own.
One thing to keep in mind is that with all the technology out there, such as Blackberry, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile, the content needs to be delivered in a manner that will be accessible across different platforms.
Globally, more people have access to mobile devices than personal computers; this has led to the development of mLearning. Even in populations where people have access to both a mobile device and a personal computer, mobile devices receive preference due to the ‘always-on’ factor. Even entry-level mobile devices are capable of accessing the Internet nowadays.
A child can create an ebook on a mobile device to tell a story of what they did in their holidays. As an assignment, the teacher can set up the basic structure of the book and share that with the class to complete the learning outcomes. Technology also makes location-based training possible; take for instance a utility company worker that arrives at a distribution box in an unfamiliar town. Equipped with a mobile device with GPS, the device can then - based on the location of the worker - provide the relevant manuals to service the distribution box.
Conclusion There are a lot of options out there to deliver your online training. Partnering with knowledgeable professionals will ensure that you chose the best solution for your training needs.
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