The need to build upon traditional classroom-based learning approaches has steadily grown in recent years. Professionals looking to expand their marketability by increasing their certifications and skill sets and students with special learning needs ranging from learning disabilities, to gifted needs and other issues not well suited to traditional classroom settings have steadily grown.
The number of available technologies and their enhanced interactive potentials have resulted in new learning technologies to increase in popularity.
In this article, we review 7 education technology trends to watch in 2016
Cloud Mobile Learning
Cloud-based learning will continue to grow. Demonstrating high remote software delivery potential in a number of settings since it's humble origins as being primarily a storage based option, cloud-based software delivery systems has become increasingly attractive to educators. Many education firms and online charter school programs have invested heavily in delivering their educational curriculum using cloud-based web services and remote delivery system. Recent enhancements in security and content quality have further increased acceptance of this option.
Supporting cloud-based learning tools, the potential of remote and online learning options has continued to gain momentum. Many good online schools, including top universities are now offering professional certificates and even university credit for their online courses.
Programs such as Coursera, MITx and studyUSA provide certificates to students who complete assignments and pass examinations based upon popular open course-ware study materials.
Professional licenses such as the ability to study real estate online are made available by remote learning options supporting real estate online education.
Remote learning is further enhanced by voice and video over IP tools such as Skype and Google Hangouts.
Following the general trend of becoming an active part of every aspect of everybody's everyday lives, the rise of the popularity of mobile device use can be expected to continue its high levels of growth. Several study guides for popular professional certification courses including the Series 7 stock broker examination and even the California State Bar are available for download in the iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.
Several online education options are using mobile devices to allow their students to complete assignments, review study materials, participate in their online classrooms and as their clicker device in Student Response Systems, a combination of hardware and software that promotes teaching and classroom based activities such as question answering and on the fly aggregation of learner response data.
Given mobile device ubiquity, handheld device-based learning is the next logical progression for technology in the classroom
Gamification is a learning-based strategy that transforms traditional educational curricula into highly engageable user content by applying game based dynamics in the learning environment. Familiar examples of gamification include question answering contests and re-enactments of the study material.
Gamification naturally synergizes with other types of learning technology trends including, mobile device, remote and cloud based learning.
Game-based learning may sound like gamification, but it differs significantly in approach. In game-based learning, the student actually explores the material by playing a game, while working towards goals and objectives. This differs from gamification in which only certain portions of the educational material are made to be game-like, rather than into a game itself. The student is provided feedback using varied game-based rewards strategies.
The market for game-based learning is anticipated to grow to nearly 2.5 billion by 2017.
eBook acceptance has steadily grown to 22.7% of the book sales market in 2015, nearly 10 fold what it was in 2009 at 2.7% market share. Resultingly, more publishers are producing digital format editions of their popular entertainment and educational titles. eBooks have many advantages over textbooks including the ability to select a font, change that font's size, have the content read by a customizable narrator voice and options allowing students to take notes within the eBook itself.
Many eBook titles sell for below the cost of their hardcover counterparts and include additional features helpful to students including flash cards, whole book keyword searches and navigable tables of contents.
Custom Tailored Learning
Where all this is leading is to a more personalized education experience for students. Users are able to have content made available to suit their individual learning styles, thus increasing content retention and comprehension, in some cases by as high as 90 percent. Personalized education trends support students' enrolling in online courses, listening to the lectures while driving to work or during a lunch or other break, read the course materials and complete the assignments on a handheld device before ending the evening. The potential and returns are unlimited.
Photo: Flickr/Abhishek Baxi