in an article about edtech, distance learning via Zoom

EdTech’s Impact on Distance Learning

The education industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and modern IT solutions make it happen. Check here what impact EdTech has on distance learning.
August 8, 2021
8 mins read

Nowadays, we can all see a real transformation when it comes to innovations in education and trends in personnel training. Most people associate these changes with the consequences of the pandemic and the transition to remote work. However, the transformation of education began much earlier; it is now picking up speed thanks to modern EdTech solutions and approaches. So what are the key trends in distance learning? What technologies are being currently (will be) used? And what can we expect from it in the future? Let’s answer all these questions further in this post.

What Is Special About EdTech?

The U.S. EdTech roars with more than $3.2 billion invested in Q1-Q2 of 2021, which once again proves a steadily growing flow of investment in this industry. And the pace will only increase in the future. Just for comparison, the investment benchmark was at the level of $2.2 billion in 2020 and didn’t exceed $1.7 billion in 2019. So we can count on significant changes and new tech solutions to become a part of the education sector. Here are some of the EdTech solutions that have already been introduced or are just stepping in.

Modern Tendencies

The education niche is developing at a fast pace, with new solutions and approaches being introduced every month or so. In the past few years, the following trends in e-learning gained massive popularity and are becoming more widespread every year:

  • Adaptive or personalized learning on Century Tech, Google Classroom, and similar platforms is becoming a standard training model, whose main idea is to adapt to the knowledge, skills and even the mood of each student;
  • Microlearning gives an opportunity for every student to find the best “learning pace.” The duration of each program unit is between 1 and 15 minutes, with the main focus being on the result of training. With such an approach, the student’s brain is not overloaded; the course material is absorbed better and retained longer;
  • The development of flexible and soft skills, such as leadership, creativity, responsibility, critical thinking, discipline, teamwork and others becomes more important. According to the World Economic Forum, 54% of all workers will require retraining by 2022. It is expected that professional skills will not be considered important anymore, and it is soft skills that will play a key role when applying for a job in the future;
  • Gamification is the educational use of gaming approaches that are widespread in computer games. Obtaining points and “achievements” stimulates students to study harder and better. Recent survey results showed that 89% of learners feel productive after training that involves elements of gamification; 61% of respondents said that they always studied in this format, and 33% of people want to have more gaming opportunities. At the same time, 61% of the interviewed students believe that studying according to traditional methods is boring;
  • Virtual reality is being gradually integrated into the education setting. The main advantage of VR is the immersive effect it produces, which means that the learner stops feeling like an external observer and begins to perceive the virtual world as real. This makes the VR&AR learning process more effective and easier for a student;
  • Augmented reality improves the perception of any information. The use of augmented reality systems in educational activities allows you to recreate incredible processes and phenomena that are physically impossible to implement in real life. Thus, you can go on an expedition around the world with Google Expeditions, explore the deep sea, or see the seven new wonders of the world with your own eyes;
  • Artificial intelligence systems and programs are expected to change the future of modern education. The most common use of artificial intelligence is chatbots — programs that determine the needs of users and assist with them; they are especially effective in AI distance learning.

The online model of education creates a perfect setting for the use of different tools and course material types to make the education process smooth and effective. Tutors can give their students some notes to read or show images that depict the target content. It is even possible to record and post audio files with their text or image content. To make a virtual class more engaging, lecturers sometimes run it in a video format and use special programs for that. With the best HD screen recorder and video streaming solutions, teachers make sure that students don’t drift off while listening. All this helps to achieve the top effectiveness of the e-learning process.

Current Situation With e-Learning

Today, the largest number of consumers of e-learning solutions is concentrated in the U.S. and Canada. In the United States, distance learning is offered by more than 200 universities and thousands of colleges, and the number of online courses is growing by about 40% annually. According to some American experts, half of the current colleges will be closed, merged with their competitors, or will radically change their mission by 2025. Besides that, half of all U.S. university programs will soon be available online.

A diploma issued 10-15 years ago will no longer be enough for Americans, so many students in private and public higher education institutions will be over 25 years old. Increased competition for high-paying jobs, coupled with the shift to telecommuting and rapid advances in technology, will force people to learn constantly.

At the same time, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 40% of working Americans change jobs every year. As a result, the need for training, retraining and advanced training of personnel is sharply increasing. That is why 85% of leading American corporations allocate funds for retraining their employees.

For many Americans, the traditional way of presenting information in the form of lectures is becoming unacceptable. They give preference to interactive forms of education and independent learning processes. Instead of a diploma, many Americans would like to receive a certificate confirming their knowledge of specific disciplines and methods. In this regard, special attention is paid to the reliability and quality of knowledge offered by certain e-learning solutions around the world. The distance learning’s impact on education IT will be just huge.

In European countries, e-learning is developing mainly due to government subsidies. Another aspect of the development of e-learning in the educational sphere is that the world economy is going through hard times today. Educational institutions do not have enough funds to increase the number of students, so they are increasingly thinking about transferring part of their programs to an online format.

According to research conducted by the international analytical company IDC and the consulting firm Gartner, the following global trends in modern e-learning technologies can be distinguished today:

  • Demand for complex solutions;
  • Development of uniform requirements and standards, especially in the field of the quality of electronic content;
  • Development of tools for rapid development of e-learning solutions;
  • Reducing the cost of e-learning solutions.

So if you were wondering whether online learning was the future of higher education, now you know virtual education is gradually changing the way we learn.

The Verdict

It is quite obvious that e-learning is not a temporary trend but a modern approach to the organization of the educational process. In the future, interest in this form of education will only increase, and the development of digital technologies will give impetus to the emergence of new tools for unconventional college education.

People want to learn quickly, in a place convenient for them, and according to an individual schedule. Companies strive to retrain their personnel quickly. Educational institutions will focus their efforts and capabilities on the improvement of education quality and its accessibility. E-learning is a powerful and progressive method for achieving these goals with ease.

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