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It took a cataclysmic COVID-19 pandemic with its concomitant “stay-at-home” and social distancing behaviors to propel eLearning to the forefront of education and training in 2020, 2021, and arguably, well into the future. The pandemic era, if one may call it that, “has allowed for more enthusiastic adoption, advances in technology, improved user experience, and increased visibility and appreciation of the power of this form of learning and training.”
So, what is eLearning? In November 1999, eLearning expert Elliott Masie used this term in his speech at the TechLearn Conference: “eLearning is the use of network technology to design, deliver, select, administer, and extend learning.” Since then, eLearning has taken massive strides to become mainstream, accessible, scalable, inclusive, versatile, interactive, and collaborative, thus making the learning experience enjoyable, engaging, focused, and productive.
eLearning is here to stay. The following trends are moving from emerging to existing and persisting and must be at the forefront for all of us who are designing eLearning and edtech content.
- Mobile learning: All online learning will be designed for the mobile device first, with desktop/laptop use an afterthought, a complete reversal from a few years ago.
- Microlearning: Learning in small bites of three to five minutes is a rising on-the-job popular learning medium.
- Video-based learning: Always popular, now even more so, with interactive videos supplemented with questions or quizzes and pop-up texts, branching into embedded links, and other items.
- Immersive learning: Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) are becoming a part of the learning environment for enhanced experiential learning.
- Adaptive learning: Modern data analytics help shape personalized learning to be more efficient and effective.
In such a scenario, with electronic/digital ruling the roost, can educational publishers stay rooted to the tradition of print publishing? Not quite. Reinvention is the solution to the disruptive nature of the edtech space. Already digital solutions are exceeding hard copy sales. Accelerated shifts to digital models are the flavor of this era.
This is a win-win for both publishers and consumers. Licensing fees, lower cost of publication, faster upgrades, higher reach, and accessibility are some of the positives for publishers.
For consumers, with more and more academic institutions turning to digital education, every institution has invested in technology to support this electronic revolution. Focused, engaging, interactive, personalized, and collaborative learning are the big wins for consumers.
Hence, the sheer surge of conversions. Leading book publishers publish their books as eBooks or in other electronic formats. This, however, is not enough. With the ubiquity of high-speed internet; the sheer size of data capacities; and the demand for portable, interactive, multimedia learning, ePublishing must appreciate the importance of embracing eLearning and learn to converge or coexist.
How can this be accomplished?
- Conversion of all print publications to EPUB/equivalent formats.
- Creation of new books and publications on an eBook publishing platform, ideally cloud hosted.
- Addition of interactive widgets such as text search, bookmarks, text highlights, page orientation, backlight adjustment, and font size changes.
- Addition of relevant metadata tags for top-of-the-page search.
- Addition of eLearning elements such as videos, images, and audio files in accordance with the latest web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG).
You can learn more about how to go about incorporating eLearning into your portfolio of digital offerings with Amnet’s solutions and services at https://amnet-systems.com/services/elearning/. Our experts would love to engage!