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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

E-learning trends. What is happening?

What is going on in e-learning? A lot of ideas, tremendous scientific progress. Computers can be manipulated only by thoughts, they understand your voice, and you can play games by gestures using Microsoft kinnect. Even in using only your web cam you can read your emails in Gmail by special movements. Here we will discuss some moments of e-learning, accessibility for people, use friendliness, effectiveness and of course trends.
How much people have now Internet? A lot 1,966,514,816 people were Internet users at 30th June 2010, but it is only around 29% of all world population. Yes, sure there are a lot of programs like One Laptop per Child ( But maybe it is great idea, but with 7.5” TFT display, I am afraid children in 10 years will have problems with eyes. And even if we stop on 29% of people who have Internet, there are a lot of who have pretty bad connection. So it is one of the current problems, people need access to the Internet and modern technologies to take part in e-learning process.
Also anyway this software has to be user friendly and of course to be pretty interesting. What means interactive, contains media recourses, have immediate feedback and so on. But the big problem that computer cannot check everything and give a big variety pieces of advises. Now software tends to the micro learning, to mobile applications, rich web applications, or to the learning in the games. So sometimes learning process can happen even when you don't notice it. For instance I have got knowledge about Vikings mythology from game "Age of Mythology ", it was and it is very popular among kids, because it is the easiest way to arouse children interest. The game play means active involving participant, so he is not only learning something but also do it, what yield pretty good. Fast development of web 2.0, mobile internet, and time of tablets allows creating systems which can be accessed in any time, any place, and gives for applications possibility to look nice, have immediate feedback, to communicate with other learners, create discussions, and imply knowledge in practice. If designer, software developer, pedagogue, marketer and good manager will create team, they will create an amazing product.
But what about efficiency? We have around 10% comprehensibility from reading, 20% from audio visual material and 30% from demonstration. This is what we get from traditional learning, but also from the majority of e-learning systems. But there are some another activities which are more beneficial. And they are the core of successful e-learning systems. Because half material brought to the discussion will be memorized, and for practicing and teaching numbers are 75 and 90% percent correspondingly. But in current time it is not easy to organize comfortable online video conference, where you can talk, draw, show, explain something, so now e-learning often is used as a part of study process, and supplement with workshops, working meeting, presentations. What give maximal efficiency? Because people at home can learn some material, make partly exercises, tests, and the come and discuss it or implement something.
Separately I would like to mention micro and social learning. As Wikipedia says micro learning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. Generally, the term "micro learning" refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training. Let imagine that you are in the bus or train on your way home. And at this time you have to learn English for the job. Only some clicks and you have on your mobile application to learn works, which can be personalised, and uses different kinds of media. 5 trainings per day, 5 minutes for training and you learn daily 10-20 words. But you use time you wait on the bus stop, or in the transport. So you don't waste your time and get knowledge!
Social learning is a new paradigm of finding, consuming, creating and contributing information via collaborative commons. In a social learning environment, community creates and maintains multiple forms of content and members of such community are able to then find and consume such content via informal path. Social learning is distinctly different from formal learning, where in formal learning environments the content is typically created by designated authors and then assigned for consumption to a broader population. In modern world, social learning is powered by collaboration technology such as social networking and content sharing platforms like YouTube, among others. Video has become one of the most effective content types within the social learning ecosystem. However, social learning is not limited to content that has been created by the community, but it also extends to the ability to find human experts for the purposes of connecting the seeker of knowledge to a potential source of knowledge, which is another individual who could be an expert on the topic.
Social learning environments have been proven to offer significantly higher quality of content as compared to formal learning environments. Additionally, social learning creates a higher degree of engagement among participants. Social learning is currently being considered as a leading method of spreading knowledge in various environments, which include formal settings such as enterprise and business-related environments. So we have big amount of possibilities, instruments, but it is not widespread. This is very significant step, because allows participants to teach each other, discuss and look together for new material and ways of learning.
Now we see that current usage of e-learning is supplementary and is used with traditional learning paradigms, but is very efficient. And nowadays trends try to help you have possibility to give you knowledge in minimal volume of time, like using short periods of time, when you are free (micro learning) and involving in practical knowledge applying and teaching, what is very productive. And maybe with so fast technology progress soon we will have possibilities to have virtual meetings- it is already applying for certain fields like SVN for developers and Google docs, but not so comfortable as usual real discussion.