The Future of Online Learning – What are our expectations?

Educational systems are undergoing the transformation which should lead to a close alliance with technology and quality improvements in teaching and learning. We expect that online education will use the benefits of the technology advances and new teaching and learning methodologies to make learning more accessible, personalized, and engaging.

I am hoping that educational reforms undertaken by many countries will not stop in the middle of the transformation and will be able to address major issues related to teaching and learning of the 21st century. If educational reforms will be successfully implemented, we are going to have a generation of learners which is creative, active, capable to make decisions, responsible, and intelligent.

Online education is not exempted from the transformation and implementation of new teaching and learning methodologies. It equally applies to content design, assessment strategies, and teaching methods.

The growth of online learning and training industry presents new challenges for educational institutions because of the necessity to expand their pedagogical expertise. The future of online learning depends on the implementation of innovative teaching and learning strategies, and the quality of the course content.

Moving towards Global Transparency and Accountability

The transformation of online education and training is driven by two factors: Global Transparency and Accountability of educational institutions.

Online education and training is a true implementation of education without borders. Learners from around the world are joining courses and programs offered by online providers without concerns regarding its geographical locations. I have taken several online courses and I can’t say for sure from which place on the globe these courses were running.

Because of the global nature of online education, there is an urgent need for a universal standard of course quality. We all know that academic quality differs from one institution to another. The international regulations for quality and consistency in online education might enhance institutional accountability for the online course delivery.

This will require educational institutions to implement tools which can enable the transparency of academic processes. Sharing academic analytical information and assessment strategies will be necessary for assessing the quality of courses.

Making personalized learning a priority

New pedagogical approaches in online education must provide opportunities for personalized learning which means that the learning process of each individual student will be driven by his abilities, learning preferences, and techniques. Such approach guarantees learners progress at his own pace and it will increase the overall satisfaction with the learning experiences.

Online learning and training are moving away from the one-content-for-all approach. The adjustment of the learning content based on learner’s profile is possible if instructors are equipped with intelligent analytical and monitoring tools. These tools collect data about learners’ progressions through the course and provide recommendations regarding the optimization of the content and style of delivery. These tools can identify the situations when a learner is falling behind and is not coping with the content, and it might require instructor’s help to overcome such learning hurdles.

The Value of Educators

One of the most important factors impacting student success is the instructor. Some people still think that with advances in online education, teaching profession will start disappearing together with hundreds of other jobs affected by technology intervention. In reality, technology will not replace the teacher – it will equip teachers and instructors with effective tools which will help to better engage and teach students.

The changes will be applied to the teaching methods and use of technology. Online teaching approaches will be based on the application of knowledge to real-life problems and collaboration with virtual peers. New assessment tools and academic analytics will help instructors to achieve higher quality standards.

Since online education is evolving into a personalized, consumer-driven model of learning, the teaching job will change as well. Experience in teaching and course design will not be sufficient to achieve the success. Online teaching encompasses advanced technology skills, excellent communication skills, collaboration, management, and analytical skills.

Instructors and teachers will become learning experience managers and they need to understand and use analytics to support personalization. New analytical tools will have artificial intelligence features and educators should know how to apply them to achieve the optimal learning result. I foresee that special programs need to be developed to train future educators which will develop skills needed in modern education and change the perception about learning and learners.

Learning through collaboration

Evolution of online learning is supported by new developments in cognitive sciences. Modern learning science admits that the process of learning consists of series of interactions between people and interactions with different resources in the environment. Based on this approach, students learn better when they collaborate, share, and discuss ideas, test and adjust developed models, and articulate their knowledge and experiences.

Another important feature of modern learning science is that it acknowledges the value and importance of technology and its role in supporting collaboration between virtual participants. The tools that support student-to-student and teacher-to-student collaboration are available already and they are making an impact on teaching and learning approaches such as video-conferencing, blogs, discussion forums, social networking platforms, and e-resources.

Delivery of online courses is driven by learning management systems (LMSs), and it means that collaboration tools should be embedded in LMSs to create true platforms for collaborative online learning and to offer students accessible and flexible learning environment.

To address learning preferences of Millennials, new learning methodology called immersive learning is becoming more common and effective. This new methodology is based on technological advances and focuses not only on the content of material but also on learning experiences. Immersive learning solves the problem of distraction during the learning process, implements microlearning approach, and offers engaging learning opportunities through collaboration and practice.

Several learning platforms have been built using immersive learning methodology to drive and measure learning, to inspire learners and deliver the effective result.

Conclusion

Technology is driving the transformation of education and its impact continues to grow. The effective combination of pedagogical sciences with technology innovations helps to create learning experiences that lead to the development of industry-specific professional skills and technology skills which have high importance in the job market. By creating the modern framework for online learning and employing modern technologies for course delivery, education institutions can improve significantly the quality of online courses and programs across the globe.

 

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8 thoughts on “The Future of Online Learning – What are our expectations?”

  1. I agree with you that online learning became a very important way of learning. It has many advantages such as the removal of the distance burden between teachers and learners, however, there is a need to develop and monitor the process to ensure quality education is provided.

    1. Thank you for the valuable input. Yes, online instructors need proper training since this type of teaching is very different from the traditional one. It is more about support, communication, collaboration, and encouragement. A lot needs to be done to improve the quality of online content delivery.

  2. I wish my teachers had access to your article!
    Would made my life and anyone else’s so much easier.
    Not all the children are the same, so why education would be same?
    I totally agree with you.
    Great post, thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I totally agree with you – every student, every learner is different, and this is why we need a personalized approach which will support and respect learning preferences, style, and pace of learning. The online education is turning towards personalization and engagement.
      I wish you many successes ahead.

  3. Really great article, and timely too. As an educator, I too believe that technology will have, and already is having an impact in this sector.

    Good point about regulations on quality and consistency. In Singapore where I live, the government is pushing for e-learning. There are regulations in place, but only locally.

    Since the Internet is global, I agree that there should be International Regulations. And also legitimacy of education providers need to be looked in to. What do you think?

    1. Thank you for your valuable input. Yes, online education is growing, expanding, and we see new names of providers entering the industry. This is a good sign but it also creates some worries regarding the quality of their offerings. I believe that the international certification body should be created for content providers and the same should apply to online instructors – they need special training courses and valid international certification. I don’t know how long it takes to achieve this but if we aiming for better quality in e-learning, it should be done.

  4. Finally a post about personalized learning. Maybe there are others but this is the first I read about it. I totally agree with you about making personalized learning a priority. I mean, there are kids who are good in academics, but there are also kids who hate them not because they are not good enough but because their area of interest is different, it may be more of creative, or skilled or some others. Giving them the same approach would totally crash that area they’re good at and look not smart enough when in fact, they were just not given proper understanding and tools to hone their skills. I hope it will be implemented and parents be educated about this approach.

    1. Thank you for such inspiring comment. Yes, education can’t stay as it is now. We need to start looking at our learners not only on the content. We don’t deal with masses, we need to care about each individual by taking into account learning preferences, preferred pace of learning, and type of content.
      Wishing you all the best.

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