Over the past decade, e-learning has gone through a rapid transformation. E-learning tools have completely revolutionised the world of business training, allowing people to learn at their own pace. This training method works well for people looking for distance learning and removes the need for traditional course schedule time constraints.
Online learning that has more recently evolved as "micro," "adaptive," or "gamified" also has real value in today's modern workplace. Each of these propositions has a tremendous opportunity. There's alot of genuine research now that shows how these modern learning techniques can increase engagement and knowledge retention.
With improving technology, it is easy to see that it will not take long before the next developments earn a place in the world of online training and e-course products. So what are the next big things in e-learning?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already present in many areas of e-learning. However, using AI within the actual online course content is not the only way to apply AI to improve e-learning. AI algorithms, and machine learning technologies, can help developers create better web training.
One way that AI can help is by improving the classification of content across training platforms. As digital learners increasingly expect content to be offered in multiple formats, multiple languages and on a variety of platforms, many Learning & Development teams might find themselves re-purposing content and implementing design. A piece of information might be presented in a video or infographic format, along with a text file containing the video transcript, and a chat-based quiz that offers feedback.
Virtual worlds promise the best bits of traditional and e-learning all rolled into one. Users can create an avatar that enters a virtual learning reality on their behalf. In this online space, the rules of physics do not apply. You could be walking into a university lecture theatre, traveling back in time or floating in mid-air on the International Space Station. The possibilities are endless.
When the user’s avatar has entered a virtual learning reality, they can use online communication tools to interact with other users. VR users can utilise voice notes, video chat and messaging features to ask the professor questions and socialise with other learners – without disrupting the narrative of the virtual world.
This means instead of sending an email and waiting for a reply; learners can interact with their educators in real time and receive the instant support they need throughout their online learning experience.
Simulations can engage learners in immersive, interactive situations, bringing them closer to real experiences which are not mediated by a book or tutor.
From the instructor’s perspective, there is now widely-available technology to build complex rich-media simulations at a lower cost. These less expensive tools enable non-programmers to create their simulations for online training. The simulations can be run as standalone applications or embedded in web pages.
Learners, in turn, will benefit from the opportunity to interact and practice in a low-risk environment, which offers sophisticated and timely feedback.
By blending the best of the real world with the latest technology, the business students and entrepreneurs of tomorrow will have access to the best learning opportunities ever seen in education.