Going from the basics. What is E-learning?
E-learning is a training system or methodology whose main characteristic is the development through a device that is connected to the Internet, although it does not have to be continuous, such as the offline e-learning platforms.
Some of its characteristics are the elimination of displacement and its physical barriers as well as temporary ones, that is, space and time, giving us the opportunity to access lifelong learning, adapted to our personal needs from any place and any time.
In summary, there is no excuse to not learn new things! 🧠💡
In fact, e-learning is here to stay. After the Covid-19 pandemic, this became a new formal and informal training that aims to provide flexibility, personalization, diversity, and better follow-up in the learning processes.
The arrival of this methodology has produced a significant change for both student and teacher roles, and it has even incorporated unknown professional profiles into teaching.
For example, the role of the online tutor goes from being a transmitter of knowledge to a facilitator of learning.
On the contrary, the role of the student is situated as the center of the training process, where the idea of a single teacher addressing large groups of students disappears.
In this way we create and promote self-training, avoiding dependence of the student on the teacher. Although in traditional training there were already collaborative dynamics, with e-learning, group work and collaboration are encouraged.
Also, this system leads to the creation of new jobs to develop this learning process, such as designers, code developers, platform administrators, course developers …
These create content, activities, learning resources, payment methods, and an endless number of plugins and developments that can be created to adapt to the needs of customers who maintain these platforms called Learning Management System (LMS).
Among examples of LMS we find Totara, Blackboard, and these other so-called Open Source LMS because as their name indicates, they are for free (Moodle, Chamilo, ATutor, …). Therefore, this methodology can enhance and encourage learning, although we must not forget to do it in the correct way, taking into account the needs of the students. If we do not organize our training activity well, it can lead to the failure of the student in their learning.
Where is the e-learning heading?
As we have already anticipated, e-learning has undergone great changes since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 since schools, academies, universities, and companies were closed, so it was decided to take advantage of these resources to continue training, not only schools but also companies and their employees.
During this boom, e-learning led to the arrival of new versions, optimizations, and plugins for the different LMS platforms, such as Moodle, which later experienced a brutal increase in users and installations of new platforms. In fact, the Moodle team ended up growing from version 3.7 to 3.11 in such a short time.
As their team said, “we pull our socks up, ever harder…!” 💪
This produced the Moodle LMS platform new features and integrations in their default installation (no plugins), such as BigBluebutton, Paypal, integrated H5P, support for new versions of PHP, more accessibility, modern and easy-to-use interface, notifications, monitoring of the course, progress and endless new features, …
But what is really coming and that draws attention for the very near future is learning or e-learning methodology fused with virtual reality and other new technologies and gadgets. 👨💻
E-learning and Virtual Reality
This learning method takes e-learning to another degree. The visualization and interaction with the learning objects/gadgets make e-learning rise to another level. In this way, it gives our users or students the feeling of being within the course or even within the physical class where the teaching would be taught.
Can you imagine visiting a historical scene and being able to interact with the objects as if we were living in that precise moment and place? Or having a science class experimenting/dissecting with a 3D human body?
With virtual reality it’s possible!
In fact, we can see that this change is producing a great impact, same as of the arrival of podcasts, SCORMS (interactive resources), and explanatory videos instead of the continued use of PDF, written content, or traditional learning.
With all these changes, the market has been advancing and adapting new technologies to the e-learning world and some companies have been specializing in the gamification of these LMS platforms to encourage their students even more to achieve their learning objectives.