Distance learning has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the e-learning market grew by a massive 400% in 2020, even before this, high volumes of students were enjoying the benefits of online education, allowing them to access the highest levels of education from anywhere in the world.
For busy executives looking to advance their careers, or parents looking to further their education, distance learning allows them to study while balancing work and family commitments.
Even after universities reopened their doors, more students than ever opted to pursue their studies online. Technological developments, combined with a variety of new approaches, have made distance education more accessible and more effective than ever, and the sector continues to evolve at a fast pace.
We’ve witnessed a number of exciting new developments in distance education of late, which are set to become big trends in 2023.
9 Exciting New Developments in Distance Learning
Each student has their own unique learning style, individual goals, and learns at their own pace.
While most literature proposes that students fit into between four and eight distinct learning styles, one study identified no less than 71 different styles of learning. Providing a personalised learning experience that meets the needs of all students has long been a challenge within education.
However, new data analysis techniques are allowing educators to provide better, more personalised learning experiences to their students. This is particularly effective in distance learning, where teachers can design learning paths for each student that are tailored to help them achieve their individual goals.
The digital learning format combined with advances in data analysis technology also means that instructors can track student performance much easier and in more detail than ever before.
Another exciting development we’re seeing in distance education is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is also helping to personalise programs to the needs of individual students. Online courses are starting to make use of smart content, such as user-friendly digital interfaces and smart visuals, that can be adapted to different learning styles.
Online educators are now also using AI to automate routine administrative tasks, making them more efficient and freeing them up to focus on providing a better level of education.
In 2023, we can expect online educators to use AI to identify weaknesses or possible areas of improvement in their courses, helping to make distance education better than ever.
Use of AR and VR in distance learning
Advanced technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are also revolutionising the world of distance learning. AR and VR are already being used in some online courses, and we can expect them to become more and more common in the future.
One obvious advantage of AR and VR in distance learning is that they make learning fun and exciting, but the benefits go beyond this. They also provide a level of flexibility that can help students to understand challenging topics. They add a practical element, allowing distance learners to experience tasks and concepts first-hand through realistic simulations.
Blended learning is essentially a hybrid approach that combines virtual and classroom learning methods.
Typically, courses involve 60% to 90% e-learning, with the remaining time being spent learning face-to-face. Blended formats have been becoming increasingly popular recently, as students are no longer forced to remain at home, but want to continue to enjoy the flexibility of online learning.
Blended formats bring together the best of both worlds, giving students the benefits of both modes.
For example, students can continue to study from anywhere and fit their education around other commitments, while getting the opportunity to periodically meet with their teachers and peers to improve learning outcomes and build relationships.
Diploma in Blockchain
Another new development is the increasing role of blockchain within the world of online education. Blockchain is now offering decentralised educational platforms that allow open access to e-resources like podcasts, books, and movies.
Additionally, blockchain technology allows these resources to be shared securely and affordably on a public network.
Blockchain is changing the dynamics of online education, most notably because it incentivizes learning. It not only reduces operational costs but offers rewards and incentives to both education institutions and learners.
Stackable Online Credentials
Distance learning has made it easier for students of all ages to enhance their CV and stack online credentials. Education institutions are now offering specialized certificates and courses that can be combined to form a complete graduate degree.
This makes it easier than ever to take multiple courses and earn valuable qualifications that allow you to advance your career, or take it in an entirely different direction. You could complete one certificate, and then go on to study another as your schedule allows, eventually earning a valuable graduate qualification.
Partnerships with Companies
More and more companies are recognizing that e-learning is the future of education, and as a result, increasing numbers are collaborating with distance education providers. This has a range of benefits for both the students and the companies.
It gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience and valuable insights into the industry. For companies, these partnerships expose them to a host of talented new recruits and potential future employees.
Embrace the Future of Distance Learning with EDHEC
Distance learning has come a long way in recent years. The world’s top institutions offer online certificates and degrees that embrace the latest technology and make use of these resources to deliver the best learning outcomes.
In 2023, the best distance learning courses will allow students to benefit from personalised learning experiences, AI, AR/VR, and build stackable online credentials.