Online educators have had a difficult few years—zoom fatigue and unsightly breakout room glitches. With a gradual shift from the classroom model, we are optimistic about the future, despite ongoing challenges from Covid-19. These trends will make virtual class more fun, diverse, and engaging for both you and your students.
Trend #1: Flexibility
Learners need to change their tracks and adapt to the material. Courses should also offer different paths learners can use within each course. For example, a learner might start on the advanced course and then move down to beginner if it becomes too slow. Flexibility is key to attracting learners and ensuring they complete their courses. If you don’t offer flexibility, learners will find their education elsewhere.
Trend #2: Microlearning
Learning content that takes no more than 5 minutes to consume has already been accepted in workplace learning. It can also be used in academic settings despite institutional learning models that are rigid and inflexible.
Instructional designers, for example, can use micro-learning to enhance their learning after completing a course or training session. This is possible by setting up reminders with a time-spacing sent to learners after each course has been completed. These reminders encourage learners to use the knowledge gained to solve problems.
These micro-interventions can have impressive results. For example, Time-spacing can be a powerful tool to combat knowledge decay. It allows learners to identify their knowledge gaps quickly. Instructional designers can also benefit from the data generated by micro-learning reminders that are sent after courses.
Trend #3: Artificial Intelligence
AI is the simulation of human intelligence using machines. Students can use it to answer their questions and provide feedback. This is especially useful for large learning groups. This will allow instructors to spend more time on higher-level thinking, such as data analysis.
Trend #4: Informal Learning Networks
Learning has been a fundamental human tool. Online learning has made it easier to connect with other learners and gives them more opportunities to work together.
Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can help build relationships with subject matter experts and develop a ‘hive mind’ when solving problems. With informal learning networks, learners explore new ideas in a safe environment.
Trend #5: Learning Analytics
Learning analytics is the analysis of learning data to improve learning experiences. Learning analytics allows us to create more effective learning interventions that will bring about long-lasting learning change.
Although it sounds great, leveraging learning analytics presents some challenges. For example, learning analytics will focus on subtle learning indicators such as interaction and engagement rather than simple metrics like attendance and course completion.
The Covid pandemic was a catalyst for online learning and increased the speed of technology adoption. As a result, educators must look at the new technology to improve learning design’s impact.
However, we must not forget the humanity of our learners. We must remember that while we can incorporate new technology into our instructional design, it is important to maintain our focus on the learner’s humanity. This balance between technology and humanity will make the year meaningful and enjoyable.