The pandemic era fostered great acceptability and adoption of online education globally. But educators didn’t enjoy them as much as the students did. Cumbersome zoom setups, awkward room break-ins, and a sudden urge to detract from the task were some of the many issues faced by the teachers. With the challenging ongoing tenure of Covid-19, many analysts, and experts including Dr. Luke Hobson and Professor Peter Shea, have optimistic views on the prospect of online education. Both experts have shared their insights into proposing the 10 online learning trends that can shape the future of online learning for teachers and students alike.

Human-Human Interaction

Online learning that seemed like a contingency plan in the pandemic is more than a substitute today. According to our experts, these new educational methods driven by technology will continue their due course for the future.

However, a more humanized version of online education needs to be as we move forward into 2022. Prioritizing learner experience and their psychological well-being is the core focus behind the idea. The two recommended ways of achieving that are;

· Instating regular check-ins between instructors and learners regarding the course layout to develop a human-human interaction.

· Adopt other ways of on-camera interaction with the learners if they are unwilling to reveal themselves.

Instate Peer Networking

Learning in a peer-to-peer network is highly regarded as a modern learning concept. Adults believe peer feedback is more realistic and constructive compared to instructors’. Moreover, introducing peer-reviewed activities in learning courses can help students better comprehend the topic. Instating peer-to-peer interaction can help promote the development of social skills and mature innate critical thinking in students valued at various organizations and companies.

Informal Learning Communities

Generally, individuals are considered better learners in a community than privately learning. Online learning has enabled learners to access countless educational communities within and across borders to build productive learning networks.

Students can build or link with learning networks on online platforms like Facebook and Linkedin. These learning environments have enabled students to reach subject experts, explore many viewpoints, and collaborate with like-minded individuals while being in a protected environment.

Integrate Supplementary Resources Section

The section of supplementary resources is often overlooked when formulating online learning courses. Course instructors can utilize these sections to create appropriately arranged and realistic student experiences. Podcasts, for instance, can be an effective way of leveraging supplementary resources as students often dislike the idea of rigorous study. Students can simply learn about a specific topic while commuting, thanks to podcasts.

Introduce Microlearning

Microlearning – the method of learning small pieces of content. Despite the rigid formalized learning ecosystem, it has already made its way through workplace settings. Microlearning can help students quickly revise the course at the end of every training session.

Such methods may include problems that allow students to put their acquired knowledge through tests and identify any knowledge decay or gaps. This can help instructional designers to construct courses based on the data obtained during the microlearning process.

Flexibility in Online Learning

Instead of being specified, courses should be flexible enough to allow students to adapt themselves to the course and improvise it as they study through. Also, if allowed to shift between the course structure; students will likely have a better interest, higher participation ratio, and a profound understanding of the curriculum. Similarly, learners should be free to select a pace they can comfortably follow.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence can play a crucial role in revitalizing online learning for students. The concept was already tested in 2016 by Georgia Tech, where an AI solved and answered students’ doubts and questions regarding computer science within a 24-hour framework.

Further, the application has shown that a human simulation in the form of AI can be a better substitute for answering recurrent student questions. Unlike AI, instructors find it hard to give feedback promptly.

Extended Reality (XR)

Moving forward from the artificial reality AR, mixed reality MR, virtual reality VR, extended reality XR is an amalgamation of all previous technologies in a single virtual space. Such a virtual space embodies the real world carrying digital footprints. This futuristic invention can pave the way for online education for years to come. For Instance;

Facebook’s Metaverse is a shared digital space reached through an oculus headset connected through the internet. The digital space lets you connect to and interact with individuals in real-time.

Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine started using 3D cadavers as a form of virtual reality. This enabled students to perform tasks such as digital dissections and perform ultrasound imaging digitally.

Initiate Short Simulations

Short simulations are a form of interactive educational medium where learners can simulate and develop their cognitive ability. Short simulations were only limited to high-end organizations and training institutes until recently. For instance, medical schools, aviation training centers, and military institutes due to their high cost and labor-intensive production.

Currently, there is software like H5P and TWINE. Where instructional designers can develop synergistic short simulations on various programs to facilitate learners.

Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is an overarching branch that connects all of the above described online learning trends. The concept revolves around recognizing, understanding, and advancing online learning experiences by reviewing and leveraging learning data produced by them.

Furthermore, the trend intends to create a continuous learning chain, improvising and formulating impactful learning courses that benefit learners. Instructors must enhance the scope and capacity of data acquisition by focusing on learning indicators like interaction and course retention to create a better learning experience for the students.

Bottom Line

To sum up, the pandemic has played a vital role in wide-scale technology adoption and has revitalized the concept of online learning. These online learning trends will develop a profound, robust, and diversified learning ecosystem for educators and learners. Moreover, there is a growing need for instructors to rely on advanced technological tools to create a better learning infrastructure for students.

James Morgan