Advances in technologies and new approaches to learning and teaching keep the field of e-learning solutions in a state of constant development. Let’s look at the latest ideas to increase the motivation and involvement of e-learners.
Let’s play a game!
Creating short educational games attracts not only the attention of children but also adult learners. Who wouldn’t like to combine business education with pleasure? The architects of e-learning solutions are eager to merge the possibilities of computer game mechanics with educational value. This solution in the industry is called gamification.
Increased involvement and interest in the course are not the only advantages of introducing games to education. But how is it possible that the use of simple game mechanics affects both the external and internal motivation of learners?
Computer game producers have created a perfect system that allows them to intensify interactions with the game. Essentially, it consists of the following elements:
- Status – increasing status in a specific learning community (levels of advancement and badges)
- Competition – both single- and multiplayer (rivalry and challenges)
- Achievements and self-improvement – overcoming subsequent achievable challenges (difficulty levels, progress bars, rankings)
- A sense of community and the possibility of contact with other people with similar needs and interests
- The possibility of self-expression (forums, emails, huts)
- Altruism (exchange of virtual objects and points)
All these techniques are implemented in business educational programs. They are used instead of traditional information security, compliance, procedural, sales courses and much more. In terms of topics where gamification can be used, the sky is the limit (or rather the imagination of the course architect). In this context, another trend worth noting is the use of VR and AR technology to drive the educational element in games.
Until now, such technology has been used to create simulations to support health and safety trainings (e.g. training concerning emergencies like fires) or training in dealing with potentially stressful situations. For example, Virtual Reality Medical Center runs courses for people who are afraid of flying.
Take it personal: adaptive learning
So-called personalized or adaptive learning makes it possible to match the current knowledge and needs of the user to the appropriate level and scope of the course. In a nutshell, this method depends on the learner’s result in the pre-test, which determines the initial level of knowledge.
This method creates a lot of room for adaptability. Learners can choose the preferred course module instead of passing all existing modules. It’s also possible to pick a non-linear learning path (e.g. starting from module four and going back to module one when necessary).
The best things come in small packages: microlearning
Microlearning is one of the strongest trends for 2018. Its core is the division of educational material into small parts. This allows for easier focusing and processing information in a short time frame. The benefit of this technique is the possibility of creating objective-specific content possible for quick deployment and increasing the learner’s productivity.
Educational materials can be presented as short games, quizzes, videos or interactive infographics. Importantly, the units are created in such a way that allows them to be shown on any device. Due to the increasing use of smartphones, this form of learning will become extremely popular.
Let’s learn together: social learning
Education becomes easier when it’s shared between peers or coworkers. A collaborative learning environment allows us to share ideas, issues and comments. The tendency to prepare social learning platforms is constantly growing.
People want to talk about their knowledge, experience and best practices in their field of expertise. Knowledge sharing lets them assume the role of an expert and gives employees an opportunity to help and teach one another. It’s not a new concept, though – Joseph L. Badaracco, professor of Business ethics at Harvard Business School, stressed the benefits of knowledge sharing in 1948:
In today’s environment, hoarding knowledge ultimately erodes your power. If you know something very important, the way to get power is actually by sharing it.
Encouraging knowledge exchange helps in building an organizational culture or academic community. It works no matter the size of the learning team, from a small group in one office to thousands of learners worldwide.
Academic Intelligence: AI in e-learning
Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, we can create something more than just academic lessons— they become immersive experiences. The possibilities of such a technology go far beyond text information or simple quizzes.
AI made it possible to explore a chosen academic area deeply, in complex learning scenarios based on, for example, Monte Carlo Tree Search (a heuristic search algorithm often used in games with many decision opportunities). Such approach can be used in learning games to boost students’ knowledge and problem-solving skills.
After all, why not to have fun while gathering information? AI also gives us the opportunity to track which e-learning activities a given user prefers or skip to more advanced modules when the system sees that a learner knows topics included in planned parts.
Of course, it is not so easy to create a learning environment that will respond to all educational market requirements. There is a need, especially when talking about people with specific learning difficulties, to make knowledge as accessible as possible. The goal is to show it in the simplest way and to engage students in particular practical tasks related to the learning topic.
However, due to the technological possibilities described above and due to the progress in psychological knowledge, thanks to e-learning we can not only teach people about new information but also to build strong teams based on knowledge sharing and bring a new bright perspective for business.