Some Stats

ImageAccording to a 2009 study from the Department of Education: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework (i.e. blended learning) do even better                                                                           http://www.internettime.com/Learning/faq.htm

With eLearning students have more control over their learning process and can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training.eLearning has been shown to shorten the length of time it takes to learn something by between 25 and 60%                                                                                                                      http://learnframe.com/aboutelearning/elearningfacts.pdf

In 2011 77% of American Corporations were using online learning (in 1995 this number was only 4%)           Corporation won’t spend money on something unless there is some benefit. This will show you how effective elearning can be  http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/247473/18-Mind-Blowing-eLearning-Statistics-You-Need-To-Know

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Wouldn’t that be nice

Another matrix like technology that has been successfully demonstrated is ‘Automatic Learning’

ImageIt works by the learner sitting in front of a screen which displays decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which has been recorded from a subject who would be proficient in an area of interest. By doing this, the learners brain, records these patterns and it becomes part f the memory make-up.

 “We found that subjects were not aware of what was to be learned, while behavioral data obtained before and after the neurofeedback training showed that subjects’ visual performance improved specifically for the target orientation, which was used in the neurofeedback training.”
Read more at http://www.tgdaily.com/general-sciences-features/60115-team-demos-matrix-style-automatic-learning#OoSeXiE9r7lYHBBZ.99

The matrix

As I talked about in one of the first posts in this blog, the future will bring a lot of scifi like developments in eLearning.

The brain works quite like a computer, writing memory to disk, ram is short term memory and the Harddrive is our long term memory. the-matrix

Scientists have started working with theory and can see no reason why we cannot download memory, through a chip implanted in the head which is connected to the hippocampus which will then write the information into long term memory.

This sounds crazy but they have already successfully experimented with rats by recording the brain information caused when a rat remembers something and then implanting that information back in the rats brain, causing the rat to remember that information.

They have also, removed bad memories such as that they should fear certain locations, ie where a cat might make its home, causing the cat to enter this area with no recollection of it being a place it should fear.

If and when this technology becomes available, it could mean, bypassing the learning process altogether and also greatly enlarging our capacity for retaining information.

This would more than likely have so major social and moral issues as a consequence but that is another discussion.

http://science.discovery.com/tv-shows/futurescape/videos/computer-chips-in-your-brain.htm#mkcpgn=fbsci1

School in the clouds

School in the Clouds began as an experiment started by a ex-physicist in New Delhi India when he looked at the slums housing thousands of children and thought to himself, will these kids ever have a chance to become educated.

One day he decided to place a computer in a hole cut out from the wall just on the border of the slum.

Having done this he left the children who had no experience with a computer at all, to investigate the machine and work with it. He observed and was fascinated with what happened.

He kids had figured out how to browse and use the computer and were teaching each other how to compute.Image

His experiment has been repeated in other parts of the world and has been expanded to be a new type of learning tool where children figure things out for themselves and form learning groups exchanging knowledge

This is a testament to the power of the human mind and our thirst for knowledge.

“It’s quite fashionable to say that the education system’s broken,” Dr Mitra said. “[But] it’s not broken. It’s wonderfully constructed. It’s just that we don’t need it any more. It’s outdated.”

As technology frees people from offices and creates jobs yet to be imagined, it is time to let children learn in ways that let them pursue and embrace new ideas, Dr Mitra said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/schools-in-the-cloud-could-teach-children-to-teach-themselves-20130305-2fij2.html#ixzz2lnCP6GLe

It can be argued that Dr. Mitra’s statement that there is no need for teachers is a bit extreme but it is exciting to know that we have the power of learning and a thirst for it without institutionalised forced learning that happens in most western countries. And goes to show you that there might be better ways of getting children interested in education.

The Gamification of eLearning

Gamification is becoming more popular with employers who are upskilling or just training employees.

Bringing a gaming element into the learning situation not just makes it fun to learn but also plays on human nature who work better with motivation and the possibility of some positive reinforcement if they do well.Image

“E-learning has the incredible ability to overcome major challenges by using a combination of visual and auditory components to deliver the learning message, rather than just written words on a page. Gameplay promotes collaboration and strategy skills while also aligning passion and commitment to competition”

http://memeburn.com/2013/09/gamification-why-playing-games-could-be-the-future-of-training-and-e-learning/

It can put the learner in a simulated real world situation giving him or her experience rather than just reading words from a page so they may be better able to deal with whatever the topic they are learning when it does come up in real life.

“gamification in training can increase its effectiveness by as much as 50%”

MicroLearning

Micro Learning is a new trend which, with the increasing user base of Social Media is becoming more apparent.Image

It has always been know that humans are much better at retaining smaller chunks of information and adding it to our long term memory and so micro-learning is the availability of small pieces of learning which can be consumed through many different outlets, whether they be social media sites, blogs, online videos or text messages.

The idea is that a user can gather small bits of information and learning at different times which will eventually build up to be a substantial piece of learning.

It can be used for learning a language, coding and many other subjects

buffer me up

Video is becoming more and more prevalent in the eLearning sector with millions of online tutorials to be easily accessed online with little or no cost.

This allows the learner to learn at their own pace  and even to pause or go back over something that has been missed.

Video also adds a personable feel to the lesson and makes it informal allowing the user to relax which is very important when learning.

“while video can be used to put across more general principles as well as to deliver presentations, discussions and documentaries, it’s at its best when it’s showing you how to do something. And not surprisingly, that’s what most of those YouTube videos do.”

http://clive-shepherd.blogspot.ie/2012/08/why-video-trumps-e-learning.html

ImageVideo can also be used alongside many reflective forms of media such as books, pdfs and web articles. Bring forums into the mix and the learner can get feedback or ask questions about sections which might be difficult or harder to understand

Gone are the days…..

eLearning has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The emergence of new technologies being rolled out and an incredible rate and the new wave of superfast broadband internet has completely changed the landscape of eLearning.

With this comes new expectations.

Real-time collaboration is becoming more and more sought after as a cheap and effective way of delivering classes and tutorials and other learning.

The internet has come into a golden age with the rolling out of fast broadband and with it the expansion of possibilities. This is key for the delivery of eLearning.

The old days of eLearning through the post which would mean days or even weeks between feedback from teachers and lecturers are gone.

“The general population’s willingness to search for and act on information, as well as interact with others 106-chat_logoin authentic ways–regardless of location–has begun to carry over to real-time collaboration and online learning. ”

http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/elearning-future-no-longer-five-years-away

This type of learning is not just for traditional colleges and schools. Even though the likes of ‘Open University’ have been around a long time, the new advancements in eLearning will completely change the way they do things and for the better.

Examples of real-time collaboration tools: chat rooms, skype, social media, bootcamp

The Cloud

ImageOne definite trend in technology is the move to cloud based computing/storage. This move is already in full swing with the likes of music applications and graphics suites such as adobe having already made to move to online subscription based cloud accessible applications

It is only inevitable that eLearning applications, if they have not already done so, will soon follow.

“There is an increasing demand for inexpensive, high quality, global training. Currently, business is transitioning from costly in-person training routines to eLearning programs. In the coming years, any stigmas attached to online learning will be abolished. Instead, cloud-based technology will streamline corporate training procedures and open doors to customized learning options for small and medium sized businesses”   source:  Jeffrey Roth http://interactyx.com/social-learning-blog/cloud-based-technologies-and-the-future-of-elearning/

Wishful thinking

If you have ever read anything or heard Ray Kurzweil or other similar Futurists words, they have some radical ideas about the future of humanity.

Some claim that in a few years, in the 2040’s there will be a phenomenon known as the singularity (a phrase borrowed from the world of theoretical physics).

It claims that technology is advancing at such a rate, exponentially, that we will get to a point, a tipping point if you will, that a number of things may happen. Either we will merge completely with technology (this has already began) or that technology will become the overlord of humanity, whacky I know.

Or another possibility, which Kurzweil was really hoping for, Transhumanism would become a reality.

Transhumanism is the theory that we will eventually be able, when technology has advanced enough, to download or personality, or memories or being into a supercomputer and live indefinitely in a virtual digital world as avatar, creating our own reality and doing whatever we like.

Wonderful ideas but maybe a little bit to out there.

But one thing I have come to realise as I have gotten older, is that with all the misguided and underutilised ability of the human race, we have got great minds and some of the things which we have thought to be impossible have become a reality through the imagination of the human mind. Science fiction has often become science fact.

When it comes to eLearning, which might seem a bit mundane after the crazy theories I have just outlined, there is also some amazing possibilities on the horizon.

One theory is that we will be able to automatically, instantaneously learn a new language or a new skill (matrix style) by simply looking at a computer screen.

Ok so this is not what this blog is about but it all fits in with the idea that the landscape of the future can sometimes be impossible to imagine.

But we will have a go