20 August 2020 | Stanisław Suchodolski

E-learning in 2020 — a response to the age-old problems of learning?

E-learning — which already in the 90s supported the classic model of teaching — assisted by new technological trends, today has eclipsed it in many cases. Of course, the catalyst for change in recent months has been the coronavirus pandemic, which limited the possibilities of direct learning.

The benefits of e-learning are undeniable and we wrote about them HERE.

They are noticed by companies from all over the world and therefore it is forecasted that by 2025 the size of the e-learning market will exceed USD 300 billion. In this article, we will analyze the latest trends in e-learning and look at what needs they respond to. We hope that this text will help someone choose an appropriate teaching strategy in their organization.

AI and Big Data

One of the first applications of AI in e-learning were simulators, that helped to practice a hypothetical situation, e.g. solving a client’s problem. The latest trend is the use of a chatbot as a virtual trainer. He can answer the trainee’s question at any time and on any of the defined devices. It already has a huge impact on the online training design process, also by creating custom training paths through data analysis. It is an automated, inexpensive, fast and effective way to collect the necessary information, which can then be useful in optimizing the e-learning process.

It would not be possible without Big Data analysis. It obtains data on behavior, preferences, but also the results of students during the course and allows to personalize subsequent training segments. BD analysis enables trainers / teachers to gain insight into progress and gaps, allowing improvements to be made, to make the whole learning more optimized. Hence, we treat Big Data as one of the foundations of e-learning in the third decade of the 21st century.

Gamification

Gamification introducts lements known from computer games to the process of teaching. A few simple functionalities added to the e-course allow you to encourage the student to work and turn another boring training into a healthy competition with colleagues or simply with himself. A detail such as a progress bar — telling us what percentage of the stage of the course we have completed — motivates us perfectly, because we see in real time, how close to the end we are. The system of points that creates the ranking is also a specific motivator. In turn, unlocking new levels, that you have no access to until you “pass” the previous one — this is the forbidden fruit you want, so you will definitely solve what is in the way.
There are some solutions in e-learning, that more literally resemble a game. Then we can count on additional commitment from younger participants, brought up on computer games.

VR / AR

It is obvious, that a) a large proportion of learners are visual learners, b) we learn faster, if we perceive information more intensively with our senses. Therefore, in the coming years, providing us with knowledge using virtual reality (or augmented reality) will undoubtedly be one of the leading trends in e-learning.

Using wannabe-authors’ creativity

User-Generated Content is a creative, amateur contribution of end users to content available on the Internet. While until recently the publication of content on a large scale was available only to qualified professionals (writers, publishers, journalists, specialists), now the authors of the majority of publications are amateurs. These are blogs, videoblogs, podcasts, reviews or Wiki entries. By using this type of content, we personalize learning, bringing its form closer to the one that learners associate mainly with their free time. By inviting students to share their content, we find a fantastic way to stimulate creativity and enthusiasm among learners.

Microlearning

Microlearning is the fragmentation of the training process into very short stages, adapted to the pace of life, in which we live, as well as the multiplicity of stimuli that surrounds us. If you compare learning to nutrition, microlearning is a quick snack — a bite of knowledge, that we catch “on the way”, leaving ourselves a longer “meal” for another time. It is much easier to immediately engage the student during a bus trip with short video material, a quiz or a game, than with text.

Learning experience platforms

LXP (Learning Experience Platform) — a solution, that helps teachers in remote learning by providing a personalized learning experience. This also applies to professional training — the Linkedin Learning platform has already used it, offering self-educated people a kind of Netflix, based on artificial intelligence, offering personalized recommendations of materials based on the role of users, interests, previous behavior and other relevant variables. LXPs are compatible with all types of “trendy” content, including podcasts, microlearning and movies.

What needs does e-learning fulfill in 2020?

Looking at the current and expected trends in e-learning, the course creators try to find a remedy for:

  • lack of time — microlearning is the perfect answer here, thanks to which the student is able to use up to 2 minutes in the elevator for learning;
  • difficulties with concentration and commitment. Today’s recipient of knowledge is a completely different person than the one from 20 or even 10 years ago. Sometimes he is like a computer with too many applications open. It is difficult for him to “switch off” and focus on receiving knowledge. Here, visually attractive forms (VR or video materials), as well as the motivational boost in the form of competition come to the rescue;
  • lack of personalization of existing learning paths — it is difficult to talk about one universal way of remembering information. This is one of the problems faced by school education. AI, supported by Big Data, is able to individualize the entire process — moreover, to do it almost in real time.
  • the impact of the human factor on the training process (in a negative sense). A good teacher will make you fall in love with math, a bad teacher will put you in trauma for life. Chatbot — will make the best of you.
  • the existing educational models do not use psychological phenomena, such as the need to create (user generated content), the rule of inaccessibility (discovering the next stages during the course), the tendency to compete (rankings — gamification…);
  • mismatch between traditional training models and new models of perception of reality. An example of this is the change in the behavior of consumers who, wanting to repair a washing machine, increasingly prefer a video tutorial of, over 50 pages of user manual.

It seems, that we have found the perfect solution, that will optimize every possible learning process. With today’s technological level, we are also able to quickly verify which e-learning ideas enrich this field and which will end up in the dustbin of history.


Marcin Kapusciński
Transition Technologies Managed Services