The year 2018 marks another exciting year for educators, teachers, researchers and students when it comes to teaching and learning technology. In the last decade, Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) has been making education accessible that a growing number of local and international institutions has adopted this approach to reach and include more learners. With the growing interest in ODeL, both globally and locally, the UP Open University (UPOU) forecasts the top trends in eLearning for 2018. As the leader and pioneer in online teaching and learning in the country and in the region, UPOU tries to continually share trends and innovations to the Filipino community, the ASEAN region and its growing network of people from diverse background, location and fields of specialization.
This blog shares UPOU’s pick on the top ODeL trends from the UPOU Chancellor herself, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, while incorporating the results of an online survey conducted among students, teachers, professionals, and e-learning experts on what they expect to see this 2018 when it comes to eLearning technology and pedagogy.
Top ODeL Trends
- Mobile Learning
Mobile learning is the top pick for eLearning trend in 2018. The rise of several telecommunication companies, and the jump in the number of mobile subscriptions to 7.6 billion (Ericson Mobility) indicates the rapid growth in the demand for digital and Internet services. In the Philippines, smartphone penetration is seen rising up to 70% in 2018 from 40% in 2015 with Filipinos logging in through mobile devices for an average of 3.5 hours per day. With the increasing number of public WiFi connections and the continuous efforts to improve data traffic, learning through mobile devices has become more accessible. Mobile learning provides a convenient option for anyone to learn anything, anytime, and anywhere. Being stuck in a traffic jam for instance, “need not be a waste of time or a time wasted but can be transformed into learning opportunities,” Dr. Bandalaria said. In the survey we conducted, more than half of the respondents (53.5%) voted on mobile learning as the top trend for 2018.
- Video-Based Learning
Video-based learning is another trend to look out for this 2018. As distance education and online courses become popular, the effectivity of video as a tool for teaching and learning has been remarkable in many universities and institutions. Studies show that 65% of the population are visual learners so video-based learning materials have better effects in stimulating the learners’ interest. The same pattern applies among Filipinos. According to Dr. Bandalaria, Filipinos prefer receiving information through pictures, graphs, diagrams, and visual media.
At UPOU, videos have evolved to become an important part of the course delivery mechanism, especially in the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Webinars are also being conducted in order to have a more collaborative discussion with the students. eLearning professionals believe that videos can enrich one’s lecture or knowledge especially in virtual classrooms.
In the survey we conducted, video ranked second in the list, comprising 24% of the total responses.
- Blended Teaching and Learning using OERs
In the recent years, blended teaching and learning basically means a combination of both online and face-to-face communication among teachers and students. As distance communication and online learning become more popular, the delivery of courses also becomes more flexible. The use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) has been prevalent to universities and institutions. OERs are any type of open licensed educational materials that are available in the public domain so anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt, and re-share them (UNESCO). These OERs are not limited to the use of textbooks and lecture notes, but are also available in the form of audio, video, and animation.
Dr. Bandalaria also mentioned that this trend in eLearning is currently gaining significance “especially with RA 10650 or Open Distance Learning Act wherein the use of OERs is very much encouraged”. The initiatives of UPOU, alongside the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), and Technical Education and Skills Development and Authority (TESDA), enable anyone to access materials and enhance their knowledge and skills on topics they wish to learn more about.
- Rise of MOOCs
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are web-based courses that are designed for unlimited participation by learners. Universities in different parts of the world are now offering MOOCs on a range of topics and through various platforms. In the Philippines, the UPOU is the first university to have delivered MOOCs as part of its thrust of making learning more accessible to more people. MOOCs have made UPOU more accessible to career shifters, out-of-school youth, alternative learning system students, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
This 2018, more players and more providers of MOOCs or even Open Online Courses are expected to rise. If this truly happens, there will be more opportunities for the FIlipinos to learn for free on various topics and subjects.
- Big Data and Learning Analytics
Big Data and Learning Analytics also made the UPOU list. The idea of big data and learning analytics is to use the information on the data gathered from available resources and identify how it can be useful in improving higher education quality, equity and efficiency. These data can be a tool in assessing institutional performances and identify potential challenges in relation to academic programs, thereby improving programs and processes to benefit more learners.
Microlearning is another eLearning trend to watch out for. Microlearning is an emerging trend in eLearning, as many institutions and organizations have begun to adopt this way of delivering content. Actually, 13.8% of the respondents in the survey believe that microlearning will impact strongly this year. Microlearning deals with small learning units and short term activities such as short video clips, interactive videos, short games, quizzes, or interactive infographics which are typically taken through phones, tablets, and computers.
The effectivity of microlearning also lies heavily in its content, since the material should be learner-centric and has specific learning objectives. The people’s decreasing attention span, the attitude of being always on the go, and the love for anything instant or short and crisp are some of the primary reasons for its growing popularity.
Last but not the least on this list is gamification. Studies say that gamification (or game-based learning) is quite a promising trend in distance education. Gamification is a process of adding games or game-like elements, mechanics, or techniques to encourage participation. Incorporating games to eLearning modules engage elearners and allow better knowledge gain and understanding.
Gamification has a combination of a goal-driven, attention-catching, and extremely entertaining approach which makes the learners more involved. This new and refreshing way of delivering rich content provides massive increase in popularity, not just in 2018 but most probably in the years to come.
The trends discussed here are just the top seven picks of UPOU for 2018. We would love to hear more from you by participating in our survey. This survey is our way for us to hear about your thoughts and opinions to help serve you better. For questions and suggestions, please leave your comments in the section below.