Here are ten trends in online education that are currently materializing in the field that we can expect to continue onward into the near future:
A shift to open source—Learning Management Systems (LMS) have traditionally been paid services. Newer open source systems like OpenClass are free and open source and have received a warm welcome from both students and educators.
Being considered more valuable by employers—Online educational degrees have up until now been largely regarded as not as valuable on the job market as traditional degrees. As the number online students reaches critical mass this perception will change.
Hybrid courses are surfacing—Blended classes that feature some online education and some face to face teacher interaction have become popular at some colleges in miami and in other spots in the nation as well. These types of schools gives students more options.
Enrollment growing exponentially compared to brick-mortar-schools—Online education enrollment as a 21% growth rate compared to the paltry 2% growth rate in overall higher education. This trend can be expected to continue as the technological services become easier to distribute.
Shared data, collaborative functionality—What will facilitate the easier distribution will be shared texts and the ability to collaborate on projects remotely. In-person learning will no longer be seen as superior to distance learning.
Shift from books and closed texts to digital content distribution—Textbooks are slowly being phased out in deference to digital content distribution systems that allow people to access texts and learning materials online through variety of mobile devices.
Social learning systems to be cloud-based—These digital content distribution systems will be social and cloud-based. OpenClass, for instance, allows enrolled students to share data and collaborate remotely through cloud services that do not have extensive hardware requirements.
Podcasting is on the rise—Nearly half of US teens and adults have listened to a podcast and this number will grow. Podcasting will continue to be adopted more as an educational tool.
Better technology is emerging—There was a time when online education consisted of reading textbooks online. These days students have a wide variety of tools at their disposal, including text chat, immersive multimedia, virtual classrooms, and digital whiteboards. These tools will be further streamlined by better cloud services.
Social media becoming educational—Social media, which has long been viewed as the opiate of the masses, is more and more being utilized to facilitate social learning tools and Learning Management Systems. Expect entire educational social media networks to build off of sites like Facebook.
Many of these trends are already surfacing in big ways in the educational industry, others are still embryonic. The rise of online education is expected to continue and many of these issues will play big roles in how perceptions of e-learning change in society.