Since the beginning of the current millennium, the e-learning industry has grown by 900%. We’ve seen major overhauls in the way we teach and learn, with new initiatives and technologies emerging practically every day.
In fact, e-learning has taken center stage in the past 2 years, as the pandemic has thrown educators and students online. Even as we’ve seen small returns to “normalcy,” technology continues to play a pivotal role in the education landscape.
What’s on the horizon for e-learning? 2022 will be an important year in education technology. Let’s take a look at what we can expect.
6 Trends in E-Learning for 2022
1. AI Is Central
Artificial intelligence (AI) is touching every sector and nearly every occupation so it’s naturally playing a fundamental role in education. In fact, the worldwide AI in the education market is expected to grow to 3.68 billion USD by 2023.
Already, AI technologies are integral to e-learning. They can be used to score tests immediately and offer individualized feedback. They can guide learning plans according to a student’s level of mastery of specific concepts, enabling learners to advance at their own pace. They can offer educators a big-picture view of students’ progress, allowing them to craft learning plans unique to students’ abilities.
Take Duolingo, for example. This language-learning platform crafts lessons according to individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, helping them progress at their own pace — all thanks to AI.
2. Gamification Is on the Rise
Gamification makes learning, well, fun! For years, this style of teaching has engaged learners of all ages. In 2022, we will see this style of education take off, reaching new heights.
Gamification can be simple, using nothing but a pen and paper, but it’s made all the more fascinating by technology. Today, there are many different apps and platforms that involve games in the learning process. Duolingo, the example above, awards points and trophies for accomplishments on the app.
AI, of course, plays an important role in gamified learning approaches, but there are also plenty of examples of education platforms that gamify learning without it.
3. Big Data Augments Personalization
Personalization and individualization are king when it comes to the learning environment. It’s become obvious that education approaches aren’t one size fits all. But many educators are tasked with teaching students with a huge array of learning styles and abilities, so it’s exceedingly difficult to meet the needs of each and every one of them.
That’s where big data comes into play. Leveraging learning analytics gleaned from information about individual learners and their styles, educators can assess how people interact with e-learning platforms, the paces at which they absorb information, and much more.
From there, companies and individual educators alike can craft personalized learning plans that meet the needs of students, based on how they behave and their unique habits in the education landscape.
4. MOOCs Help a Variety of Learners
Massive online open courses (MOOCs) began with a small project more than a decade ago. Now, it’s hard to imagine the world without them. Engaging people in a huge array of topics — from cryptocurrency to coding to journalism — people can learn practically anything for a fraction of the cost of a college course, much less a degree.
Coursera, Udemy, edX, and Udacity are just a few examples of the many MOOC platforms that exist today and engage learners of all ages. Some courses are free, while others are relatively low-cost. Sometimes, they even lead to real credentials.
While the popularity of these courses and platforms took a bit of a dip in the mid-late 2010s, the pandemic saw a resurgence of MOOCs — something that will continue to escalate well into the coming year.
5. Video-Based Learning Is Augmenting or Replacing In-Person Education
Compared with the high-tech, super-modern initiatives and advances described above, video learning may seem like small potatoes. But simple is sometimes — often — the best approach, especially when it comes to education.
Videos have long been used as a method of teaching. Now, we have even more platforms for teaching, such as YouTube, which offers free lessons. During the pandemic, this has become a great resource for asynchronous instruction, especially as people require access from every corner of the world.
Many educators are using digital videos to augment their in-person or synchronous online instruction as another resource students can access again and again, too.
6. Immersive Learning Will Dominate the Landscape
In the not-too-distant past, students had to “experience” events and circumstances by reading about them in textbooks. That’s no longer the case. Today, technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) provide a means for immersing learners in new worlds. This is a much more hands-on means of educating people, allowing them to truly understand by interacting, not just watching.
Now, mixed reality is entering the e-learning landscape, and we will see it become much more prevalent in the coming year. This blend of real and digital worlds enables learners to experience elements of both, completely immersing the student in an AR landscape.
Individuals can interact with elements of a fabricated world, allowing them to, for example, train for combat or perform a complex medical procedure in a low-stakes context. Or, students can get a taste of history, walk among the dinosaurs, or witness events from 100 years ago.
Together and separately, these technologies and innovations have enormous potential for improving and radically transforming the education landscape and equipping learners with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. 2022 is the year that will truly bring e-learning to the forefront of the world of teaching and learning.