Top Experts predict what will transform eLearning in 2017

A big THANK YOU to Joomla LMS for including me recently, in their very nice “flip book” of educational technology predictions.

It’s a fantastic compilation of varied educational technology experts.  Out of space concerns, they edited my rather lengthy response (if you’re interested, it’s included in full below).

Embedded below is the flipbook. Click the tiny white arrows to flip through the 14 experts’ opinions.

 

Full site page: elearning edTech Experts Predict the Future

 

My full answer regarding e-Learning Transformation in 2017

It’s an exciting time to be involved in eLearning! As I look ahead to the new year, there are six areas that I believe will transform eLearning in 2017.

First to improve eLearning in the coming year, are the developments in cloud computing and SAAS (the application layer). These technological advances provide for anywhere, anytime, anywhere & any device access to amazing and innovative online tools.

These tools include powerful creation & collaboration applications, interactive media, and opportunities to share and interact with anyone in the world.

These increased computing innovations will lead to continued eLearning advances with both open and proprietary learning management systems (LMS) for creating engaging and interactive learning ecosystems for students, teachers, institutions, and communities. Examples include: Google Classroom, the Award-winning Schoology, and Canvas. Nearly 20 years later, even Blackboard has completely overhauled their LMS to the new cloud-based “Learn Ultra”.

Second is simply the evolution of ideas and the adoption of new and different pedagogies. I believe we’ve finally stopped moving the lecture classroom to the virtual world and are seeing an increase in student-centered courses. Students are excited to have more options with how they engage with the curriculum, while being encouraged to interact with the content. In addition, they’re provided with increased opportunities to interact with classmates, the instructor, and the world. Importantly, they’re given choices in how they’re evaluated and are often able to create demonstrations of understanding and standards mastery.

The combination of technological innovation and changes in learning theory allows for the most important aspect of eLearning, which is the ability to individualize and personalize student learning. This will continue to be a critical driver in 2017 as educators at all levels use eLearning to reach students at whatever level the student is at and, provide an individualized learning pathway that ensures student success.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly developing and we’ve already started to see the introduction of chatbots into classes. Ashok Goel, a computer science professor at Georgia Tech made news when it was revealed his students didn’t know their TA was in fact an AI chatbot. Microsoft and Facebook are rapidly advancing the development of chatbots. Google recently released their new Pixal phone with built-in AI and as of this writing, ChatBot.org has 77 publicly available and programmable chatbots available for anyone in their education and learning category..

The fifth important factor for eLearning is a good instructor. While the “digital natives” are good with using technology it takes a skilled instructor with expertise and experience to truly connect with students and build relationships that foster student engagement through the virtual morass. In the coming year, more focus will be on instructors making important connections with their learners.

It might sound like a contradiction to tout the advances of AI chatbots in eLearning while also saying human instructors are important but there’s an important difference. AI chatbots take care of the routine, fact-based tasks (ex FAQs)  that can now free-up the teacher to truly teach and work with individuals. Good teachers who are flexible, innovative, creative and can connect and inspire students will be difficult to be replaced by AI.

The last item I believe will transform eLearning in the coming year are certifications earned for successfully completing online courses. Whether an eLearning course is a MOOC or a micro-course, I think we’ll see greater recognition for the value of the learning experience as represented by earning a certificate. More institutions will include them in degree programs. Additionally, more career opportunities will be opened as industries grow to recognize the value of a quality eLearning pathway.

In conclusion, eLearning continues to grow in exciting ways that are being embraced by a wider audience and enhanced with innovative technological advances. Elearning will continue to make an impact on education.

In summary, the items I believe will transform eLearning in 2017 are:

  • Continued advances in cloud computing
  • New instructional models
  • Student-centered learning
  • Artificial intelligence (chatbots), combined with:
  • Great instructors and
  • A greater recognition & applicability for certificates earned online

If you have a thought or question regarding my list of six items, let me know, I’d enjoy hearing from you!

Thank you,

Kevin Corbett

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About kevin

A long-time technology enthusiast who, in the mid 80's, thought the internet might be something that would catch-on, so he taught himself programming. That started him on a very satisfying road as a course developer, trainer, online teacher and elearning evangelist. Thirty years later, he fancies himself to be a "futurist" and "thought leader".... those thoughts are more about learning that doesn't involve expensive technology and a vision of the future that makes education more critical than ever! More information at: http://kevincorbett.com/who-is-kevin-corbett/