Saint Joseph's University

Trends in Instructional Design and E-Learning Solutions

With an estimated growth of over 23 percent in eLearning over the next five years, many institutions are moving toward this style of education. Educators must pay attention to the evolving trends in eLearning as they relate to instructional design. Here are four e-learning solutions to watch out for in the coming years.

1. Mobile Technology

Image via Flickr by David Lankford

Chances are, if students were learning from a distance, they were doing so on a personal computer in their home. Today, people are connecting to the internet in a range of ways, from desktops to tablets and cell phones. When it comes to distance learning, mobile access is the new precedent. According to United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), “[…] for every one person who accesses the internet from a computer two do so from a mobile device.”

Mobile technology isn’t confined to distance learning. According to the National Survey on Mobile Technology for K-12 Education, respondents from a variety of school districts stated, “75 percent or more of their schools had adopted mobile technology.” But what impact does mobile technology have on education? In a study conducted at an Auburn, ME school, about half of the students from 16 kindergarten classes were given iPads while a control group went without. The students who practiced reading on the tablets “outperformed the non-iPad students in every literacy measure they were tested on.”

2. Gamification

Image via Flickr by dullhunk

Nearly everyone loves playing games. Gamification or task-oriented game thinking gives incentive to a user’s actions. Just like a game, their increased engagement in a certain activity such as learning is rewarded. This concept can be applied to everything from working out to watching movies. Gamification is even used to increase engagement in corporate environments for leadership development.

Gamification has already been implemented in education. One such example is that of Quest to Learn, a Manhattan, NY charter school with a curriculum based entirely on “highly immersive, game-like learning experiences” (re: gamification). Students are “leveling up” to the challenge. According to the NYC Department of Education, while it is a “B” school overall, it received an “A” for Student Performance on the 2012 state tests in English, Language Arts and Math.

3. HTML 5

Image via Flickr by Carlos Varela

One thing that designers and programmers are going to need to keep an eye on is HTML 5. This partially takes over the functionality of Flash (re: videos and animated games), and makes it easier to create the website and educational materials needed on a number of devices. Earning a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology gives educators an edge up on these types of trends in e-learning. Multimedia technologies are also included in this type of master’s degree.

Currently, HTML 5 and other coding options may not be handled by all browsers. However, cross-device compatibility trumps individual browser issues. It is an important step to be able to create an educational system or gamification style program in a language that works for the most devices. HTML 5 is just what educators need to implement the solutions above.

4. Interactivity

Image via Flickr by audiolucistore

Interactivity or interactive education aids in the implementation of many of the eLearning trends already presented. For these trends to be successful, teachers must engage their students through interactive learning.

It is easy to fall into the routine of PowerPoint presentations and follow-up with homework assignments based on the presentation. With the rise of mobile devices, gamification, and HTML 5, teachers can now integrate interactivity into their lessons. These methods all employ engagement through physical interaction and collaboration. As these trends fold into, build upon, and grow with technology, e-learning and interactive education will be the standard that the next generation of students will come to expect in the classroom.

It is vital for instructional designers and school district technology staff to understand the critical thinking skills behind the utilization of the tools discussed in this article. Advanced programs such as an online MS in Instructional Technology from Saint Joseph’s University can make an impact on professional growth. Though trends in design are being discussed here, the real education is learning the methodology behind the application and how it impacts learning. While technology itself is paving new paths in education, those who have a solid foundation of how to use any emergent tool will be best prepared for a long career.

To learn more about your role in the future of eLearning and a degree program in Instructional Design and Technology at Saint Joseph’s University, request more information below.


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