Today, hundreds of learning platforms and online courses are freely available. In general, we can consider the development of two areas: content and service. Content is an approach to creating scripts for educational videos, visualizations, and presentations, composing questions and tasks. Services are models of content creation and directly a technical component: a “wrapper” in which the content is wrapped for the end-user. The question remains: under what trends and services do you need to create educational content?
The first-year MITx platform Circuits and Electronics was launched in 2012. The course lasted 15 weeks and required students to work 8-12 hours a week. It contained more than 350 homework assignments, 12 laboratory works, and 3 exams. Sounds like a lot for one student to handle. That’s why if you ever need help with your assignments, use the paper writing service MasterPapers to meet all the deadlines.
So, it’s been 4 years. This course on edX looks significantly different. It is now divided into three separate courses, lasting 5 weeks each. This also happened with the course Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python from MIT. At the end of the first version of the course, the organizers noted that very few students graduated – and today, it is divided into 2 parts. Of course, we can say that this is marketing: if a user wants to get an approved certificate, you have to buy several instead of the one. But even so, it’s not just that.
Reducing the duration of courses demonstrates the trend of microlearning, which has recently confidently captured online education. People are used to getting the information they need quickly from Google and watching short videos on YouTube. Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to sit on a long course: researchers of the online platform edX even recommend creating videos that don’t exceed 6 minutes. If the video lasts longer, the number of views drops sharply by the end – students simply get distracted, and it affects the process of learning the material.
By the way, the trend of micro-learning concerns the duration of courses or educational videos and the usual academic things like a scientific degree. Udacity has even introduced a new term for course cycles – nanodegree. Moreover, there are whole platforms that consist exclusively of short (micro-) courses. For example, Coursmos.
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Do you know which word was most often emphasized by edX founder Anant Agarwal during his speech at the international educational conference EdCrunch in 2015? Personification. Personalization, adaptation to the student, and individual learning trajectory are terms related to adaptive learning. Modern data allows us to predict user behavior scenarios – so you can create a learning system that will adapt to each student individually.
It is also important to mention that the personalization approach is also used by various services meant to help students with education-related issues. Masterpapers, for example, personalizes each essay for their customers to make it as personal as possible.
Companies and projects that develop adaptive learning systems are emerging around the world. And the invention of an effective system of adaptive education will be the biggest revolution in online education since the first massive open online courses.
Adaptive education tools are already being implemented in US universities: Knewton is working with Arizona State University. Thanks to Knewton, the student receives tasks that meet their learning needs (for example, on a specific topic that should be repeated), and the teacher – the statistics of each student and the group as a whole. These data allow to modify classes so that for each student, it was as effective as possible.
People love games. According to statistics, 97% of children aged 12 to 17 play video games. But adults also love them. Thus, the average gamer is 30 years old, and 37% of gamers are over 35 years old.
The secret is that games can capture and hold attention – they have become a powerful tool in modern education. It is worth remembering the word “gamification” – adding game elements to other activities, such as learning. Badges, levels, scores are elements of games that encourage the student and stimulate his motivation.
For example, the Khan Academy platform gamified the learning process and developed a whole system of badges. Users receive badges for certain achievements. For example, watched 10 videos – received a badge, etc.
The student sees that they received a badge, so they worked for a reason. It is very important to notice and feel your own progress because it is an incentive to move forward. The gamification of education is to borrow these incentives from games and add them to the learning process.
To Sum Up
Learning in small portions, individually tailored to each student and even with a powerful system of incentives – this is not a utopia. However, online education technologies are evolving rapidly and making learning more effective than ever. And we all have a great opportunity to participate in this changing learning process.
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