An intelligent world calls for intelligent e-learning.
The e-learning industry is constantly evolving. In a world that changes and evolves a symmetrical evolution of the educational systems is required which must necessarily be capable of promoting and managing the change in which it is pervaded and part. Therefore it is necessary to analyze e-learning trends in order to manage the change of things and possible educational systems in an appropriate way.
The continuous growth of cyber technology generates practically endless possibilities for the future of e-learning. The pace of technological evolution in the world of ICT has developed along a geometric progression so as to make its own developments uncertain even in the short term, but it is always appropriate, if not necessary, examine observable trends, in order to make the best use of the available opportunities.
If we briefly look at the paths of our educational systems we must remember how the most ancient teaching tradition was oral and based on memory rather than knowledge itself. In the days of Homer, Omèoron, the one who does not see, the word transfer was essentially oral. But there are still places, where time is still standing, where the practice of word transmission has remained unchanged. In some wonderful Central African communities, for example along the Gambia valley, Griots still exist. They are oral storytellers that tell the story of entire families, following them over hundreds of generations, using specific metrics in the story. A griot can speak for three days in a row without any need to stop, and has many students in a memory study that lasts more than fifty years. The death of a Griot is a collective mourning event, which would correspond to the burning of a library and a registry office in a western city.
Then the word was transferred through writing. A written book is the first known and extraordinarily effective form of distance learning. It is funny to think how writing was born, probably, for the purpose of simple registration and exact reporting of the quantity of wheat contained in the Sumerian Ziggurat, before becoming an effective communication tool for ideas, knowledge, emotions, as it is now. Borges says that the plow is the extension of a man's arm, the telephone is of the voice, and the written language of memory and imagination. It is through written communication that it is possible to read, know, and learn information at a distance of place and time, making communication and knowledge much easier in its distribution and extending its usability according to the needs and times of those who use them. The transition from oral to written communication has resulted in a huge increase in users of knowledge, the first exclusive of very few people, the aedi, and the great revolution of Gutemberg has further increased the distribution of texts and teaching materials, completely exceeding the slowness of manual transcription.
We reach the last years of the twentieth century without other major revolutions, when the word begins to travel and is transmitted on the web, and the times, the possibilities of delivery, the costs and the spaces are totally cut down. At the end of the past century, the Internet was already beginning to pervade in a systematic way all forms of communication and training, generating a new educational system where the way in which, especially the younger ones, can learn has been completely transformed. It is no longer necessary to go to the classroom and listen to the expert professor, but it is possible to access the necessary information through a simple connection. This is the socio-economic environment where e-learning takes shape, in which technical thinking is applied to learning processes through the platform.
The advantages can be immediately evident. What the aforementioned discovery of the press made in the world of information transmission did today, on an even larger scale, its transmission on the web. There are no geographical or time limits in the transmission of information for which it is possible to learn everywhere and at any time whatever you want and with effective software that help in the translation between different languages if necessary. Consequently, the dissemination of information has no limits and the increase in the number of people who seek and use it has so far been enormous and is destined to constantly increase in the next future. A lot is really the way we have done so far and the same can still be done along a direction that has proved extremely encouraging.
But there is nothing autopoietic, where things arise of themselves, in the process of developing the new formation. A new educational system must correspond to a new language communicative, equipped with new tools and methodologies, as happened in the passage of the oral communication to the written one, before the latter became really effective and rich as it is still today. So in e-learning, in order to become effective, it is necessary to study carefully how it is possible to introduce all forms of communication that are proper to it, from the image, to the sound, to the video, to the active interaction and to the direct dialogue between the teacher and classroom and between student and student. Based on a continuous study of tools and methods, e-learning produces its own continuous development that it needs and is capable of.
Here are some trends that are currently the hot topics of education systems:
- - Gamification. Translating learning into play has proved to be one of the most successful trends in recent times, since play activity voluntarily produces pleasure, and determines cognitive and emotional attention, visual memory, and active participation without generating tiredness.
- - Cloud-based Systems. The use of an e-learning platform has proved effective in company training, which allows employees to have access to training at any time of the day, and generating an increase in productivity and retention.
- - Big data. The term indicates the ability to extrapolate, analyze and relate an enormous amount of heterogeneous, structured and unstructured data, to discover the links between different phenomena and predict future ones. Big Data is everywhere today, from social media to website analytics. In e-learning, in particular, the analysis of usage data makes it possible to understand the methods of assimilation and this allows the development of ever more effective didactic strategies.
- - Wearable technologies. New wearable tools such as Virtual Reality (VR), Google Glass headphones and smart-watches have become common access and use. These tools are used to create interactive training experiences.
The traditional education system, based on the learner-learner relationship, will be increasingly replaced by the new forms of training.You must also consider the previously unknown possibility of overcoming all the geographical barriers for which today it is possible to take courses from overseas at home, being the distribution of the cognitive product immediate and infinite. Didactic assistance could also improve by building forms of direct dialogue between the student and his teachers and tutors. The management of personal use of time for learning is an additional tool of great advantage for people who follow both academic and business training courses.
The popularity of e-learning today is of a high degree, and everything suggests that it is destined to grow in the near future, both in companies and in schools, allowing access to continuous training for an increasing number of people.