The e-learning curve

While some educators are pushing forward and keeping pace, education has largely been slow to adapt and use technology

It can be a dangerous thing to predict the future. However, there've been some strong indicators from around the world that we still have a voracious need/want to consume technology.

Last year 35.6 billion dollars were spent on the e-learning industry. There's no denying that there's huge growth in this market. Not only do we want to study and learn when we have time and when it's convenient, but we don't want to pay the earth to be educated. More and more businesses and large companies are providing professional development for staff online. In future generations, online learning will just be a normal part of learning and communication in the workplace.

In 2010 the Australian Flexible Learning Framework highlighted the fact that e-learning has become mainstream in many industries.

[quote]Around 60% of teachers and trainers said that e-learning has made learning more interesting and engaging for their students, and more than half said that e-learning has improved their teaching.[/quote]

E-learning can be incredibly creative and I don't know a TAFE teacher who doesn't have the ability to improve, develop and create interesting and engaging lessons for students. In fact, e-learning has endless possibilities in terms of delivery and I find this extremely exciting.

[quote]Delivering flexibility and quality – communicating that e-learning should be used to enhance quality training, not just flexibility.[/quote]

Over the last few years there's been an acceleration in the speed of mobile phones and portable devices. This has led to consumers wanting access to apps that will help, entertain or somehow improve their lives. While some educators are pushing forward and keeping pace, education has largely been slow to adapt and use technology. For the most part, students leave their up-to-date technology at home or have it in their pockets and come to TAFE colleges for a slower experience. However, change is afoot and more and more TAFE colleges and teachers are beginning to incorporate e-learning into their classrooms. This is through social media, apps, Moodle and online e-learning platforms and flip teaching.

There's been much talk about ‘flip teaching' in education and its benefits. I like to video all my lessons and upload them to my class Moodle site. I think the use of short videos and flip teaching will continue to grow in 2014. Screen casting has been around for many years and it's great to be able to capture and record information/images or ideas on your screen. There are now some cheap and easy alternatives available, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out how to use them. Snag it is the software I am currently using and I find it easy to use, save and upload.

In 2014 we want technology at our fingertips that will organise, engage and help our lives. Wearable devices are becoming popular and who knows when we'll all be wearing Google glasses? Why not play around with some new e-learning strategies in 2014? Or have a play with apps and software that might support and enhance learning in your classroom.