How To Improve Your Online Learning - Educational Technology Best Practices

・7 min read
How To Improve Your Online Learning - Educational Technology Best Practices

Introduction - Applying technology in the classroom

Technology has revolutionized almost all the aspects of our life including learning processes, especially across all the educational institutions. Today, the classrooms are way more digitized and innovative than ever before, thanks to easy-to-use smartphones that have reached every kid of every age, spreading the concept of digital-first among the current generation.

Before COVID-19 took-over the world, most of the educational institutions (and their respective teachers) had already embraced Edtech in their classrooms; now, they are offering e-learning solutions.

Whereas, on the other hand, those who were in the process and needed more time to plan, design, test, and implement virtual classrooms, are fast-tracked dramatically.

Digital education is expanding the learning opportunities and educational practices while leveraging hybrid courses, innovative collaboration models, personalized instruction, and an array of engaging yet innovative learning strategies.

Now, the students are no more just the consumers of digital content rather become the creators of digital media. Their success lies in how good they are at communicating ideas and demonstrating competencies while practicing data visualization, storytelling, and content curation.

This blog is highlighting some EdTech approaches that are being practiced, improving online education, and making it accessible for the masses.

Learner-centered Approach

The learner-centered approach is based on the students’ individuality, since each learner has different characteristics, so do they deserve different training and learning methods.

A learner-centered eLearning course should have some distinct attributes, such as:

  • Personal Context: The learning tasks of the course should have a real-world application so that the learners can connect personally (and their prior experiences and knowledge) with the learning content.
  • Problem-solving: Having a problem-solving scenario let learners develop, test, and analyze their ideas in comparison to others' opinions. Once collaboration completed, an individual can reach the right conclusion.
  • Conversational: Communication, especially in the planning stage, is a must for an eLearning course to be useful and practical; this will help learners to get away with new learning/s.

Microlearning or bite-sized learning

As the name refers, micro-learning refers to bite-sized or short module training, teaching content in relatively small units. However, having a 5-minute course doesn’t qualify it to be bite-sized; rather, it should focus on the learning objectives.

This learning module is flexible and takes less time for students to acquire knowledge; it helps to achieve a specific learning objective; even this also boosts learner retention abilities.

One of the advantages of this learning approach is that learners can choose a path/unit that suits their learning needs. Microlearning can be in the form of articles, video, e-books, infographics, images, drills, simulations, quizzes, podcasts, mobile apps, and anything that offers bits of learning.

Students have to work on many subjects at a time, which means no luxury of time to study the entire book or chapter, just to understand a concept. Hence, the need for small modules - with a specific learning outcome - has increased immensely.

With bite-sized/microlearning courses, students can selectively learn, acquire new concepts/knowledge, and retain them faster, and interestingly, at their convenient time and place.

Rich eLearning Analytics

eLearning is not just evolving in its own manner, but also widening the opportunities for the education sector to use the big yet valuable data that is being recorded in providing the personalized learning experience.

This information can be used varyingly, and meaningful changes can be achieved in the whole sector. eLearning analytics help institutions to design more personalized courses that may increase learners’ satisfaction and engagement.

Harvesting the big data can help the education sector to improve existing trends, and loopholes, while also help the professionals to bring or prepare for new instructional trends.

There are different flexible analytics tools and Learning Management Systems in eLearning that can be used to manage the data which is increasing over time. They make the learner progress easy-to-track and manage while revealing all the key aspects of learners’ learning behavior.

Big data can be used as part of a long term approach; managing this valuable data can significantly enhance the organization’s ability to provide and improve (if already practiced) eLearning solutions.

Gamification

Gamification in eLearning is about using game-based mechanics - both aesthetically and content, in non-game contexts - just to engage learners, and motivate them to learn more; it also helps them to retain more.

It is more than just games (sometimes gamification does not involve playing games at all); this eLearning approach revolves around three principles - autonomy, value, and competence, you can thank Michelle Schwartz, Instructional Design, and Research Strategist at Ryerson University, for explaining the game theory.

According to him, game-based learning engages learners more than any other eLearning solution, as here, everything depends on their choices and decisions. So, more autonomous a learning solution is, learners are more likely to stick to it.

The “Value” principle in online learning while playing games lets learners engage more if they are given to learn/play the game according to their nature - like some likes to play strategy games, some play racing games, and so on so forth. By playing such games, students get better at something that can also be applied in real life.

Completing one round in a game is like achieving a milestone - so think of a learning game, if a student completes a task in the game, he/she feels competent and accomplished as learners.

The success of gamification in eLearning is how the concept is gamified. An effective gamification concept should...

  • Capture (and retains) learners’ attention.
  • Be challenging.
  • Offers both engagement and entertainment
  • Have enough learning material.

User-Generated eLearning Content (UGC)

The concept of ‘train the trainer’ has evolved in this era of content sharing, standing side by side with social learning, gamification, VR, and many more. Integrating a user-generated content (UGC) makes the learning environment more relevant, authentic, applicable, and trusting, for the masses.

Honestly, we learn more from each other than our instructors. And, that’s the reason why eLearning courses with interactive discussions or forums are considered to be the most satisfying solutions, as they let students to raise their relevant concerns and share their experiences.

Having UGC-loaded eLearning solution means;

  • More engagement
    • Giving students the chance to participate in generating the content for themselves and others motivate them to raise their voices and share their lived experiences with like-minded pupils.
  • The best Learning solution
    • The best learning programs should offer a learning culture that feels more natural, and one of the best ways to do that is to incorporate the knowledge and expertise of existing students and making that available to others.
  • More Real content
    • Students learn and retain the tips, tricks, strategies, and experiences of other fellows more than the one taught by their teachers. So, capture such material and make that a part of your eLearning solution.
  • Less Money
    • User-generated eLearning content is less expensive to capture than paying experts and other learning professionals.

Summary - custom eLearning vs off-the-shelf eLearning

With the increasing demand for eLearning courses, managers around the globe are in a dilemma whether to opt off-the-shelf eLearning courses, mentioned above, or go for a customized one.

It’s simple… if your students’ needs are unique, keep changing (due to any reason), and especially if you want your eLearning program to be all yours or reflects your brand identity, then you should go for customized options, which we can create just for you.

And, on the contrary, if your budget is less, your requirement is urgent, like the one arisen due to this pandemic, and especially if your eLearning solution has the genetic material, then the off-the-shelf is good to go.

So, decide wisely!

Good luck

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