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Is Online Education The Right Choice – The Future of Digital Learning

With the world education system gradually switching to digital platforms, the question - is online education the right choice, takes the top spot.

If you think digital learning is a new trend, know that the word ‘e-learning’ was coined as early as 1998-1999. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it! Today, it is so eminent that the US market is expected to grow by $21.64 billion by 2024. It will amount to a total of $305.3 billion by 2025.

Is the anticipated shift beneficial, or are students losing opportunities by not learning through the traditional ways?

Walk through this piece to explore the potential benefits and challenges of online learning. Furthermore, you will also discover the exciting technological trends transforming digital education in 2021!

How Digital Education Works?

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is all about gaining education with the help of technology. It requires almost as much time and effort as the traditional one. However, it is significantly easier to understand due to the exciting modes fostered by technology.

In fact, according to a study, digital learning exhibits enhanced positive effects on students’ motivation and learning outcome.

So, how does it work? Teachers design courses and learning materials through computerized machines and impart knowledge via videos and digital documents. Additionally, multiple software services facilitate highly interactive learning methods and tools that are downright fascinating.

It is not restricted by time and place anymore. Students can seek knowledge at any point in the day, from any corner of the world. Moreover, with online education, children need not learn at the pace of the entire classroom. They can take their time and understand with greater ease.

That being said, digital education requires input from educators as much as from technological hardware and software. Besides devices like computers and laptops and content like apps, games, and videos, instructors are quintessential to online learning.

They provide a personalized learning environment to students and guide them to eliminate errors and stay on the right track. Additionally, they ensure children get access to vital information sources and education material.

What to Expect from Online Learning?

Designing the right type of course and planning it out well holds immense importance, particularly for online learning. The best way to prepare the correct proposal is by understanding what students expect from the course. Additionally, you got to bear in mind a few key pointers while developing the ultimate e-learning plan.

Active Communication

One of the prime essential factors expected from online courses is communication. Teachers got to communicate in detail the outline of the study along with what students will learn by the end of it.

The educators must also mention the time frame, procedure of going ahead with the class, technological support required, and more. They need to provide the digital sources of learning and communicate their expectations from the students about adhering to the rules.

All of these matters need to be covered well in advance to avoid any discrepancies during the course progression. This way, students present in different geographical locations can prepare mentally while also getting acquainted with the study material.

Consistency

Another vital requirement for educators is maintaining consistency in teaching practice. While students need to be diligent as well, it is the teachers who got to initiate this practice.

Apart from consistently exercising active communication regarding the course, they need to maintain the quality of teaching. That not only includes delivering the lecture in time but making sure every student can understand. They all must be on the same page (literally).

Teachers can ensure consistency through regular feedback, weekly assessments, and other similar methods. This way, students will remain active in class and try to explore their maximum capabilities.

Personalization

Online education allows each student to learn at their pace, and the instructors have to ensure the same. Teachers got to make sure they devote enough time for every learner, eliminating the obstacles present in traditional classrooms.

Educators can do this by bearing in mind learner variability. Though it can be challenging, using technology at its best can help combat this problem. It will allow you to align the course experience with the preferences of different students.

Going Beyond the Normal

Online courses give the opportunity to educators to go beyond the standard norms of teaching. You need not limit yourself to delivering lectures and grading.

For example, the science instructor can now create digital classes where students will drag and drop atoms. On the other hand, a business tutor can design case studies and ‘what if’ scenarios that require student input.

Besides developing interesting learning material, educators can be available outside the classrooms to clear students’ doubts. Therefore, online learning is expected to be more valuable for both students and teachers.

Engagement

In most cases, learners begin a course with high enthusiasm and anticipation to achieve a specific goal. However, they may get lazy or lose interest as the lesson continues.

It is the duty of the instructors here to maintain active learning through high engagement rates. One of the best ways to do this is involving students in project-based learning. This way, they will interact with each other and try to put forward new ideas.

Another way is by taking real-life examples and imparting knowledge that learners can implement practically.

5 Benefits of Online Education

Did you know the count of US students seeking higher education through online courses is about 6.3 million? That is based on data collected from over 4,700 colleges and universities. Well, with the numerous benefits and ease of online education, the traditional approach is bound to get sidelined.

Breaking Barriers and Fostering Flexibility

One of the key benefits of online education is the ease of access. With open-walled learning systems, individuals are no longer limited by time zones or geographical locations. According to a survey, e-learning courses help 61% of students with disabilities, 25% international students, and 29% academically underprepared students.

Customization

Another exceptional advantage of online learning is the customized environment that students can access. Digital learning gives you the freedom of learning at your own pace. As there are no set class timings, you are not obligated to stay in line with the classroom’s speed. Moreover, even professionals can easily manage time and take up degree courses while still working.

Assessment and Follow-Up

While traditional classes may conduct examinations to assess the learning outcome, it is not a very successful approach. Through digital sources, you can organize real-time assessments and get instant reports. This way, not only the educators but also the students can analyze their performance by the end of the lecture itself.

Collaboration

According to a study, student engagement amongst each other and with the teachers is more enhanced in digital learning. Furthermore, it also positively affects student satisfaction and perception of knowledge.

E-learning courses include group projects that require individuals to connect digitally and use critical thinking to complete the assignments. Moreover, according to Statista, 41% of graduate students stated that their online classes were way better than their college-level classroom classes.

Quality Learning Tools

When empowered, even a low-scoring student can excel in coursework. Digital learning tools bring the world to your disposal, allowing both students and teachers to utilize them thoroughly. In fact, almost 7 out of 10 teachers agreed e-learning tools help students learn on their own with higher ease. Moreover, this also ensures the real-time upgrade of educational content.

More Sources for Educators

Not only the students but even educators can also improve their proficiency through online learning sources. They can connect on digital platforms to share tips and teaching sources. That will not only diversify their career opportunities but also help them grow on the personal front.

Online Learning Challenges

Despite the plethora of digital education advantages, particular challenges need to be overcome. Though few, these setbacks can dramatically impact the learning quality of students.

Time Management

Though students have the liberty to schedule classes according to their convenience, it becomes rather challenging. They might end up postponing the lectures indefinitely due to other personal and professional engagements.

According to the US Department of Education, a full-time student needs to devote 30 hours per week to a regular course. That can become significantly challenging for those who have jobs or other businesses to handle simultaneously.

Motivation

One of the biggest challenges of digital learning is gathering the motivation to take up the classes. Learners may be enthusiastic initially, but they tend to lose the drive as the course continues. In a digital environment, they do not have to be present like in a physical class. Besides, they may not complete their assignments in time, thinking that the deadline is far.

Lack of Sources

While quality educational tools are one of the biggest boons of the hour, they may not be available everywhere. In fact, about 63% of schools do not have the budget to provide e-learning, while 60% cannot afford enough digital devices.

Adaptation

Apart from availability, adapting to digital education sources is also a significant factor of concern. Using new software and technologies can become a barrier for some students in their learning process. Moreover, students are also afraid that a lack of face-to-face communication with educators and classmates can affect their quality of learning.

Tips to Overcome Digital Education Challenges

With the dynamic world of the internet at your disposal, eliminating obstacles and overcoming challenges is rather attainable. Formulate the correct strategies, and the e-learning system will prove to be significantly advantageous for students, instructors, and parents/guardians alike. Take a look at these small yet vital tips that can help combat digital education challenges:

For Students

  • ● Creating and abiding by a set schedule – practicing time management
  • ● Preparing all the required material in advance
  • ● Thoroughly skimming through learning resources before each class
  • ● Actively engaging with the instructor as well as classmates
  • ● Reviewing through daily assessment reports and working upon teacher feedback
  • ● Organize a study space to enhance concentration and eliminate distractions

For Teachers

  • ● Prioritize the learners while developing a course plan
  • ● Bear in mind learners’ variability
  • ● Inculcate engaging classes and an active learning environment
  • ● Continual improvement of students through regular feedback
  • ● Keep your sources of after-class communication open
  • ● Make efforts to motivate and help students adapt to digital learning

For Parents

  • ● Providing mental and emotional support
  • ● Minimizing pressure and expectations
  • ● Eliminating sources of distractions
  • ● Provide an organized space and required learning materials
  • ● Provide regular feedback
  • ● Encourage kids to establish communication with teachers, classmates, and friends
  • ● Aid in time management by offering tips

In Conclusion

Did you know by 2022, over 18% of jobs will require a master’s degree? In such a fast-paced, dynamic world, staying ahead requires you to update your knowledge constantly. So, why not utilize the digital learning sources for good!

Besides, one very crucial point that you may be missing is that e-learning facilitates an eco-friendly environment. It cuts over 85% carbon dioxide emissions while also reducing energy consumption by a whopping 90%.

The digital education system brings tremendous opportunities for both the learners and the educators. If imparted well, online learning proves to be significantly more beneficial and interactive than traditional learning. Instructors must adopt a learner-centric education plan, as it is the best way to implement new-age learning successfully.

So, what’s the holdup? Enroll in an online learning course and experience an environment of revolutionized education culture brimming with creativity, interaction, and engagement!

Technological Trends Transforming Digital Education 2021

Digital education is the new “wow” factor, but what excites the future of Education is the integration of technology into the Education System. Let us have a look!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

You may have heard the phrase — ‘Why waste time when a machine can do your work!’ Well, it dramatically refers to the online learning system. AI and ML enable educators to develop complex courses in no time with the help of algorithms.

Teachers can create learning tools, testing systems, assessments/feedback schemes, etc., with high efficiency and personalization. This way, they can redirect their time in guiding students, solving their doubts, and helping them learn better. Instructors can let AI do the machine work and invest more time in human activities.

With the help of AI, new systems are created to customize the learning experience and cater to individualized student needs. Additionally, this technology will allow students with special needs and with different languages to access educational material with ease.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have revolutionized the way students gain knowledge. It refers to visual content from a 360 perspective. These technologies empower students to visit the entire world right from their seats.

It helps them gain exposure to a global environment and makes their learning sessions highly fascinating. Moreover, students can learn better by experiencing a particular incident. Needless to say, it also fosters creative thinking and encourages students to expand their horizons.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) refers to physical objects interconnected with each other through technology and software. In the world of digital education, these include phones, tablets, and laptops that have replaced the traditional chalkboards and exercise books.

Students need not maintain physical notes and documents anymore. They have access to e-books, videos, learning software, and multiple other tools. Interactive displays and wireless communication further make learning collaborative and exciting.

Blockchain

While transforming the entire system into an open learning space is highly advantageous, it also brings along chances of a security breach. The technology can help institutions secure vital information about students such as identity, qualification, degrees, privacy, and other data.

In fact, the University of Melbourne had already started using this technique in 2017 for the issuance of digital credentials. This way, students can share copies of verified degrees and diplomas while ensuring well-rounded security.

Besides, rapid technological advancements raise a need for a reliable way to store old and new qualifications. According to research, the use of blockchain for storing educational credentials is bound to increase in the near future.

Big Data

Big data holds prime significance in the field of education. It can allow educators to thoroughly assess student performance and identify red flags before the kids score poorly. Additionally, big data can aid in identifying administration flaws and monitoring institutional performance.

According to a survey, 69% of educators believe this technology can help them evaluate, track and estimate student performance. Other educators (61%) add that it will significantly improve graduation and retention rates (61%) and allow teachers to formulate constructive teaching strategies.

Robotics and Game-Based Learning

Robotics can particularly help students with disabilities to gain education with the ultimate ease. While students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) can pursue practical learning, other kids can use robots like personal assistants for smart learning.

Game-based curricula are an excellent way to engage students in creative learning. By inculcating interactive sessions through games, students will not only understand seamlessly but also retain what they learn with greater ease. Needless to say, it is an exclusive source of entertainment along with education that will keep kids hooked.