One of the challenges of elearning is that while digital technology is ever changing, what keeps people learning remains as unpredictable and elusive as ever. As a result, there are always new ways to attempt to access learners online and new ways to present information. But these innovative methods are not necessarily as effective as tried-and-true ways of teaching. There are dangers when it comes to employing new technology and trends. You have to take care to use them effectively. Just because someone is employing a fancy new technology doesn’t mean they’re using it well. After all, being in a fancy new car doesn’t make you a good driver. And having the auto-brake feature doesn’t mean you’re completely safe from getting in a car accident. The same principles apply to elearning. Unfortunately, technology doesn’t really make teaching easier – just different. You still need to put reasonable effort into incorporating it into the course the way it should be used. Here are some details on what to look out for with the various types of technology trends:
MicrolearningMicrolearning is a developing trend, though some (or maybe even most?) seem hesitant to full embrace it, and for good reason! It’s not right for every learning situation, but it microlearning has many benefits relevant to today’s busy online learners:
- Useful for just-in-time learning.
- Easy to update to reflect fast-changing information.
- Can be fit in during the small amounts of time available to busy workers.
- Easier to remember information that is absorbed in small chunks.
Virtual Reality (VR)Virtual reality is a really exciting development. Every technology company seems to be dipping into it, and companies have figured out ways for VR to be available via our phones, computers, televisions, and giant VR consoles that let you walk around in virtual worlds. Of course, elearning has begun to embrace VR as well. Virtual reality courses can range from practicing surgery to flying planes to engineering skills. It’s a great choice for those who are learning skills that can introduce a lot of risk when things are not done properly. However, it is expensive and takes a lot of effort for the simulation to be accurate enough to apply to real life. In fact, many argue that the skills will never be able to transfer to real life. It’s also difficult to apply in an elearning model because students are not likely to have access to the equipment needed to use VR in an average home or office setting. Or, you would have to supply it – yet another expense. VR definitely has its applications, but companies should be realistic about their virtual reality aspirations and in how it could truly benefit their employees. If you are considering VR, be sure to consider what unique benefits VR offers that other kinds of technology don’t before you invest in it.
GamificationGamification is one of our favorite developments in learning technology. It’s well-researched and seems to provide many benefits:
- More engaged learners
- Higher knowledge retention
- More efficient learning