Digital technologies have forever changed education. Now millions of people worldwide can get new knowledge and skills anywhere with an internet connection. Moreover, high-quality eLearning is available on any device (e.g., PC, smartphone, tablet, and even Smart TV).
However, technology alone is not enough. After all, it is vital to use it correctly to get the most out of creating a great learning experience. This question is relevant now, as the pandemic has forced many companies to go completely online or adopt a hybrid approach. Therefore, we invite you to analyze together how modern technologies affect the effectiveness of the learning experience and why it is essential to understand them.
The Use of Modern Technologies in E-courses
First of all, let's think about the standard target audience. Initially, visitors of online courses were mainly young people, but older people have also begun to join them. In the past few years, there has been rapid growth in the 35+ audience of eLearning—about 42% of the total.
The same applies to the level of professionalism. According to the BestColleges portal, about 68% of eLearning course participants are already professionals in their field. Among other things, 36% decided to move from one industry to another, and the remaining 32% are "career accelerators" and want to gain more valuable knowledge to improve their competencies.
In general, modern technology has changed people's expectations of getting knowledge. Why? The reason is quite simple: they began to dive deeper into the learning material, which became more accessible and entertaining. And all thanks to the use of mobile devices and laptops in the learning process.
In addition, technology has strongly influenced the issue of location when you pass eLearning courses. The ability to watch videos and complete assignments from any place in the world gives you much more freedom to create synchronous, asynchronous, or blended learning. And we don't even mention gamification and integration of the course with social networks.
However, methodologists and effectiveness experts believe that the main eLearning points do not depend on the online or offline component. Students remain motivated and looking for courses with high-quality consolidation of knowledge and exciting practice. Therefore, the core teaching methods remain unchanged.
Since online learning is student-centered, it can bring significant results. But how does this affect the structure of eLearning courses? Consider the four main areas in which modern technologies affect the most.
The 4 Most Important Aspects of Using Technology in E-learning
Firstly, this is not the first time technology has affected the education sector. In 1960, PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations) arose as the first eLearning system. Its main goal was to create affordable and universal computer learning for everyone. By the end of the 1970s, it connected thousands of computers worldwide into a single network.
And although classical learning with notebooks and textbooks looks fine, it is much more complex to organize it:
- supplies and handouts are constantly needed;
- traditional practices are less involving and interactive;
- it fails to understand and consider the needs of individual students.
Therefore, more and more people are paying attention to technologically advanced and highly effective online courses. Let's look at four critical aspects of curriculum development affected by technology.
Before you start working on an eLearning course, you need to understand what your students already know. That is why the first step of development is a mandatory assessment of the knowledge and skills of each student.
The traditional approach is straightforward. Students are given sheets with tests or open-ended tasks to complete. However, this only applies to the organization because processing and checking answers take much time. If you want to work with such data much faster, use modern technologies.
With the help of the educational platform, you can more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of teaching methods and track the students' progress before and after the course. In this way, you will understand what benefits your e-course brings. For example, you can see the leading audience and check how it meets your expectations. Another example: you saw that students do poorly on intermediate tests. In this case, it is worth reviewing the training program.
Moreover, the eLearning system allows you to get data on thousands of students and use them for creating new modules or editing existing ones. All thanks to convenient visualization in the form of graphs and charts. As your course becomes more complex, you may want to apply other scoring criteria. In this regard, the educational platform is a great helper. For example, it allows you to evaluate the quality of homework assignments: how much time a student spends on them and what is the number of redos (if analytics settings allow it). It turns out to be something like a digital twin.
In general, using a data-driven approach brings enormous benefits to the creator of an e-course. However, the next aspect also depends on it.
Putting eLearning to the test is more of a necessity than just advice. After all, without a field test, you will not be able to create a truly successful and functional curriculum.
However, it is not necessary to do this with a ready-made course. After all, the educational platform allows you to create a model for further passing the e-course. It is enough to enter the required data and run the simulation. After that, you will receive data for further analysis.
In addition to working on learning experiences, there is another area where models are applied - courses in business planning. In this case, the LMS uses a virtual environment (simulator) in which participants perform individual or group tasks. They are associated with decision-making regarding the development of companies. Often, eLearning developers use multiple-choice scenarios when the further course depends on the chosen decision. The facilitator gives feedback throughout the game or at specific key points.
The primary advantage of modeling is the option to test theories and hypotheses safely. If you make a mistake, this does not affect the success of the online course. Moreover, you can check the consequences immediately.
This factor is also crucial because teaching 5,000 students and consolidating the gained knowledge and skills are different cases. Further, some topics or modules may be hard to understand for students. Therefore, you must have an easy and cost-effective way to improve your learning experience.
The educational platform makes consolidating knowledge even better. Each student can get quick help from a tutor if they have problems. It's also essential to provide enough practice to immerse your audience in the new environment as much as possible.
Another good idea is to add interactive elements to an eLearning course. So, the system can make daily reminders that you need to review some material. For example, if you use characters, add tips and helpful tips that appear when you click on the avatar. Further, a rating table or badges for achievements increases motivation and creates competition between students.
#4. Getting Feedback
It is equally critical to give precise feedback to students that allows you to maintain contact with the audience and revive the application of the gained knowledge and skills in practice. However, if there are too many students, it will be difficult for each student to answer. Even having a full-fledged support service, problems can arise.
Video conferencing or virtual avatars (if you decide to try working in the metaverse) will help solve the issue. Another solution is a chatbot. It will act as a front line and answer 80-90% of possible questions from students. If the question is too complex, the bot connects the user to a support manager that will help to solve the problem.
How To Improve the E-learning Effectiveness
If you have paid due attention to all the above aspects, you have a chance to create a top-notch course. However, it is worth doing a little more to stand out. Here are our tips:
Consider Student Needs
You should pay attention to the needs of your target audience and take them into account when designing your curriculum. Then, it will automatically consider the students' motivation and increase the value of your e-course. The reason is quite simple: if students are motivated, they achieve better results.
Add More Digital Content
It can be not only videos and presentations but also reference materials (manuals, memos, guidelines, etc.). Digital content allows students to spend less time learning and get even more relevant knowledge. If you already have digital content, it's best to update it:
- add more visual elements for attraction;
- break the text into separate sections;
- find updated data and add it to text.
Do not leave a solid text canvas, as students can get tired of reading too quickly and stop focusing on learning.
Use Game Mechanics
If you haven’t considered gamification as a means of attracting attention before, go for it right now. Add quizzes with a time limit per question, and implement open discussions and leaderboards. The active participation of students motivates them to achieve results. In addition, you can connect integration with social networks for maximum effect (e.g., by leading discussions in private chats and group messages).
Do Not Overload the Course With Interactive Elements
All of the above benefits are really helpful. However, too many interactive elements only distract students' attention. You need to find the right balance between valuable knowledge, game mechanics, and quality UX design.
Turn On Additional Features
Offer your students additional resources for self-study. They can be published on an educational platform or placed as links to download and work offline. You can also create a separate landing page and post all additional materials here (for instance, presentations, videos, text files, etc.). Both methods will help students consolidate knowledge and refresh it in the future (if necessary).
Let's sum it all up. Modern technologies expand learning opportunities and make learning more accessible, flexible, and fun. And all thanks to the use of game mechanics and advanced design. E-learning courses will become even more popular soon as more people learn to use gadgets. Therefore, the current eLearning rise is just the beginning!
We hope that you found this article helpful. If you have any questions about e-learning technologies, write them in the comments. We will answer them, and the most interesting of them will become the basis of our following articles!