Ubiquitous Learning, or u-learning, offers students the opportunity to experience a high-quality digital education where they want and when they want. New developments in technology and educational methods create challenging and inspiring learning opportunities. Internet access is the key to this dynamic learning method.
In recent years, learning has evolved to e-learning and then the even more accessible u-learning. Education has shed many of its limitations and made it easy for people around the world to be lifelong learners.
What is U-Learning?
U-learning is not just another way of saying “e-learning.” E-learning is a broad term that applies to all education that has a significant online component. Many schools are currently offering a hybrid experience that includes traditional in-person learning as well as online or distance learning. But much online education is still carefully structured and involves set time periods and delivery methods.
U-learning gives students the flexibility to learn on-demand, meaning their education is not limited to traditional hours or settings. As long as they have access to a computing device, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, students can fit their education around the rest of their lives. They can study from home in the middle of the night, from a park bench on the weekend, or the employee lounge during a work break This constant accessibility makes u-learning courses a compelling alternative to other educational options.
What are U-Learning Benefits?
In addition to easy accessibility, u-learning offers other benefits to today’s society. These benefits include:
- Security — The student’s work is safely stored, both on their own devices and in a server or cloud, so that it’s available whenever the student is ready to proceed. There is no end-of-the-semester material purging.
- Personalization — U-learning can adapt to the individual’s preferences and learning styles. It may use virtual reality to enhance the student’s experience. And this personalization also eases the way for digital immigrants, those raised before digital options were widespread, while serving digital natives, those raised with digital technology.
- Interactivity — Students are not on their own with u-learning. They can communicate with their instructors. These connections can be in real-time with video conferencing or IMs or through delayed communications such as email. Learners can also participate in group learning situations via a virtual classroom or self-directed study groups.
- Cultural outreach — U-learning takes the student out of their geographical area and allows them access to the world. The educational quality is not limited by where they live, and u-learning allows users to broaden their cultural knowledge and understanding without leaving home. U-learning democratizes education in a way other methods haven’t.
Is U-Learning the Future of Education?
U-learning is the future of education, both formal and informal. While high schools have embraced ed-tech, u-learning has a more limited role for younger children who benefit from structure and in-person guidance. But post-secondary education will continue to up its use of u-learning. Degree and certification programs benefit from this form of education since adults have so many demands on their time. They need a flexible and intuitive form of learning.
U-learning also applies to those who want to learn a specific process or skill. Now, almost anyone can access information on the spot to learn how to build a dwelling, apply for a mortgage or translate a foreign phrase. This information is now as close as the nearest smartphone. People have a world of information at their fingertips and many ways to learn it. More students will look for lifelong learning experiences instead of simply taking classes.