Higher education is greatly affected by the impact of e-learning content and media. In an online world for higher education, several latest e-learning tools like digital textbooks and mobile devices have been playing a significant role. Higher education students are deeply involved in virtual learning through various modes. This trend is definitely not going to fade away. It has come to stay for long. Many experts of e-learning and teaching have suggested a few dominating trends that would be interesting to observe in recent times.
More ground for digital textbooks
While digital textbooks are already picking up well among students, upcoming days will see the trend shooting higher. Various university libraries and bookstores have also started providing the digitized books that are convenient to handle and easily accessible. Once this becomes a hot trend, students will not have to wait for the latest versions of textbooks they require. It will also ease off their financial burden.
Improved distance learning
Online learning is being preferred by many higher education students, as it is more convenient and supportive. Keeping this demand in mind, several distance-learning institutions are trying to bring improvement in their program offerings using enhanced e-learning tools. For example, some institutions are installing audiovisual systems so programs may be made more interactive for teachers and students.
More personalized learning environment
Teachers, as well as students have been making use of several technological tools to personalize their learning environment and making it more interactive. In online learning, there are varieties of tools that are available for free use. Such tools not only help teachers in designing innovative content, but also support its quick delivery to learners.
Emerging mobile technology
Every other day, we see the launch of newer mobile technologies and devices. These mobile tools are already trending on college campuses and this trend is expected to continue. Mobile units can now be easily connected to classroom education. While students have already been making good use of mobile learning apps, more teachers will soon be involved in synchronizing such tools with their teaching practices.
Better integrated information technology tools
Educational institutions have started looking at ways through which IT systems and tools may be integrated in their setups in order to facilitate their constant connectivity with students. Soon, we will see more of these integrated systems across individual academic units. It is quickly becoming a requirement rather than remaining an option.
E-learning has been fast emerging as an alternative to traditional classroom learning techniques. While classroom learning makes you confined to an instructor imparting training, e-learning exposes you to all its elements that can be easily perceived. It offers high visibility of content that improves retention and optimizes learning in students. Basically, e-learning provides better access to the instructional environment. However, there are various aspects of e-learning that need to be researched in order to determine if it is really effective for learners of all types. For this purpose, it is important to study the way people learn and retain information.
There is further need for finding out the effectiveness of varied instructional methods and media elements. Although technology supports new learning, it is still to be seen if it can overtake the benefits of classroom teaching techniques. Many people assume that e-learning is more effective due to its use of latest technology and methods. However, experts feel that it is more important to focus on the way such technology and methods are utilized for instructional purposes. It is the way a lesson is designed that impacts learning. If a lesson is poorly designed, then even a good delivery technique could fail.
E-learning can be highly effective if we concentrate on designing lessons with a learner-focused approach instead of only focusing on the way these lessons would be delivered. There are several media that e-learning uses to deliver content. It is not necessary that every medium would be equally effective in carrying specific content. It is the synergy of the effectively designed content and the right delivery technique that governs effective learning in students. Students usually feel that they can learn better through graphics and audiovisuals. Again, this aspect of using various media elements for the delivery of lessons depends on the way these elements are used.
While some studies have shown that learning through graphics is highly effective, it is also shown by other studies that a dramatic use of these graphics can also depress learning. Thus, instructional designers need to be aware of the best use of media elements in designing such content that enhances learning instead of hampering it. E-learning surely has a wide scope of designing and delivering lessons in several innovative ways. The only need to turn it more effective for target learners is to make the best use of design techniques, delivery methods and media elements.
Mike Cornell and Emma Jones are behind the success of Elearning Blog, a blog solely focused on providing free resources and tips for e-learning.