eLearning News: Hot Trends in Distance Learning

Most of us in the eLearning profession like to keep up with the latest happenings in online education.  Thanks to the progressive nature of all things related to technology, keeping up with the current news in distance learning can be a never-ending task.  Experts in the field of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and education are often reporting on the latest trends surrounding eLearning and related topics.  Today we are sharing some of the current industry trends.

The Value of Distance Learning – This first trend is great news for all involved in the eLearning community.  With the number of people earning online degrees or participating in some type of distance learning program growing exponentially each year, the marketplace is continuously placing more and more value on online education.  As additional brick and mortar learning institutions, such as established colleges and universities, begin to add or grow their online course offerings, the value of distance learning in the marketplace will simply continue to grow as well.

Growth Rate – Speaking of the growth rate for enrollment in eLearning courses, experts predict that online education enrollment will continue to eclipse enrollment rates in traditional school settings.  One source is reporting the current distance learning enrollment growth rate to be as high as 21%, while the brick and mortar school enrollment growth is a meager 2%.  Again, eLearning enrollment is expected to continue this rapid growth as more and more distance learning courses and programs become available and technology continues to advance.

Employers Favor eLearning as Preferred Training Method – Where employers once sought to train employees using traditional classroom, seminar, or other off-site method, they are increasingly choosing online training instead.  Organizations see distance learning as an efficient and effective way to train new employees or offer current employees and updated skill set.  Distance learning allows lower training costs and requires less time away from employees’ typical job duties, which employers obviously see as two great benefits.

Social Media – It seems like you can’t read anything related to technology trends without seeing mention of social media. Trend reporting in eLearning is certainly no exception.  Expect social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to continue to increase their presence in online learning communities and to be increasingly used as learning and information sharing tools.

Open Educational Resources (OER)Open Educational Resources (OER) are something we have written about several times here, from useful sites to help you find OER to OER usage guidelines.  Experts are predicting that the use and availability of OER is going to continue to grow as an important facet of online learning.  Advancements in mobile technology and increased usage of social media will also contribute to the growth in OER usage in eLearning forums.

The Cloud – Here is another technology buzzword that seems to be everywhere these days: The Cloud.  You can expect to see an increase in the amount of distance learning courses moving to a cloud environment, thus further increasing the mobility and accessibility of distance learning in the future.

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