E-learning is becoming the new normal. The demand for high-quality ed-tech has never been greater, and the future of education depends on the creation of effective learning experience design. From kindergartens, all the way to continuing education and efforts to upskill in the workplace, the formative learning and career advancement opportunities of millions around the world increasingly depend on well-designed ed-tech. But what makes up an engaging and positive learning experience? Content alone isn’t enough, and sometimes it’s useful to look at what doesn’t work to get a better grasp of what does.
Where E-learning Fails
Too often, e-learning is bogged down at every educational level in bulk content designed for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. In this system, prevalent since early internet ed-tech development in the 90s, success was measured in simple metrics of the volume of students regurgitating correct responses to basic questions through rudimentary interfaces. It was only briefly forgivable when the technology wouldn’t allow for anything else. Somehow, there are e-learning providers who still attempt to get away with it. As the world struggles to keep up with ever-growing demand, some institutions don’t realize they have a choice. We’re now able to design technology to teach us better than we ever have in the past, and learning experience design has the potential to be so much more.
Edtech that Works
The future of education lies in engagement. What are educators trying to address, a lack of skill, or a lack of knowledge? Understanding how to craft ed-tech involves asking these questions. Content by itself doesn’t teach technique, only experience can. What does the student need to accomplish? What tools do they need? Good learning experience design meets the student half-way, incorporating elements of user experience design and cognitive psychology. Navigating successful ed-tech programs should be seamless, maintaining diversity and rigor of content and execution that challenges the student to be more learner than a user.
Content that Grows
Learning experience design needs to adapt a curriculum to its students’ needs and scale with them. It has to be tailored because one size most certainly does not fit all. Technology doesn’t take the place of the human touch in education, it facilitates it. No matter what the course, technology, or skill, education designed and delivered with the well-being of individual students in mind will always be the right choice. Content needs to blend with execution receiving feedback to be effective, and occasionally being taught face to face, even virtually, through mixed-media platforms that stimulate without overwhelming. Good learning experience design appreciates the pauses between inputs which give the learner time to absorb and to put their new skills to the test.
Integrated E-learning is the Future of Workplace Training
As the world has changed, firms, training, and education have evolved. For many, the transition to a digital workspace was already well underway. For almost everyone who found themselves suddenly working from home, new skills had to be learned. The most successful were the ones who didn’t just click through, skipping across the surface of content meant to teach them. These were determined and adaptable learners, helped along by the best combination of instructors and software to show them the way. Socially functional, intuitive interfaces let them connect with their teachers, and with one another. They asked questions, maybe even made mistakes the first time around. In an intimidating time, they persevered. Adaptive learning experience design helped them, and because of that, the worlds of business and education are carrying on in the face of an ongoing challenge. Some few, either by accident or design, discovered new and more efficient ways of doing things. They might never go back to work in the way things were before, and we might have the privilege of learning from the next.