Technology may be the future of Adult Education

The world is a changing place and so the way we approach learning also needs to change.  It is quite common for many employees to work from home and conduct all meetings via phone or internet.  So what does this mean for the traditional face-to-face session?

The inquirer published an article on the future of technology in adult learning, which reviews what the future of training looks like.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/sponsored/2444215/the-future-of-technology-in-adult-learning

With the world moving at such a fast pace, it is becoming more and more necessary for people to continually update their skills and stay relevant.  It is not always practical to physically attend a class, which is where technology comes in.  Technology allows people to attend sessions from anywhere and learn at their own pace.

The other big trend is gamification, which is really all about making learning fun.  The article talks about how it can be easier to learn as a child as they learn things passively, but there is no reason adults can’t do the same thing.  You are never to old to play games.  Technology makes it possible for adults to learn new skills online through the use of games.  E-learns can be built that have a quest atmosphere to them, which can help the learner to feel invested in what they are learning and encourage them to keep going.  The gamification approach has built in feedback, as to proceed to the next level you have to pass the first level.

There are limits to what technology can do and there will always be a need for the human touch.  As educators, it is our job to keep up with the technology available and how we can use it to improve the learning experience.  We can still use technology to bring an interactive element, check out the below video for some tips on running effective discussions online.

http://www.oercommons.org/courses/conducting-effective-online-discussions/view

Video summary:

They make some good points about why discussion boards are effective:

  • Online students may feel more comfortable participating, compared with a classroom discussion where perhaps only dominate personalities participate.
  • Great for mapping different ideas against each other.
  • Individual student’s questions can be answered for the benefit of all students, which makes better use of instructors time.
  • Creates a community and allows for peer learning, which may also mean students delve deeper into the content and think more about it.
  • Because students can think before posting you generally get better responses.

They also gave some good advice about monitoring discussion boards:

  • If something is already posted when a student logs in it encourages them to post.
  • Responses to posts encourages students to continue posting.
  • Keep encouraging participation and summarise the benefits seen so far from the postings and discussion.

 

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