Emerging technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity to increase the quality of education offered to learners – but only if they are leveraged effectively.
Choosing the right tools for specified outcomes can do wonders for the learning journey, bringing education to life and supporting better end-results. However, the challenge today is not so much the lack of digital solutions on the market, but rather the bewildering difficulty of choice.
With that in mind, how can educators blend the right technology meaningfully into teaching?
Choosing the right tools
Educators must consider all the elements that they might need in their ‘toolbox’ to help achieve desired learning outcomes. Looking to solutions that can facilitate immersive learning is one promising avenue to explore.
Highly interactive virtual environments allow learners, whether they are scholars, academics or professionals, to quickly immerse themselves in new subjects and learn on the go. Practical applications include virtual reality (VR)-assisted experiences, where individuals are not confined to the physical elements that limit face-to-face learning, and can instead learn by ‘doing’.
This creates opportunities for studying subjects that might otherwise be inaccessible – for example, by taking virtual field trips around the globe through the likes of Google Expeditions. Chemistry students learning remotely, meanwhile, can today perform science experiments in VR. Not only can they access the lab on their own schedule, but they can also spend as much time as needed there – something that was impossible in the past.
Benefits to those in professions that involve practice-based skill development, such as doctors, engineers and architects, are clear. Applying learned knowledge in a simulated environment where mistakes can be made and corrected will prove invaluable.
Those learning a new language will likely also see the value in a collaborative VR experience, given the need for context and exposure to scenarios where understanding can be tested. Virtual simulation can teleport learners to realistic settings and even facilitate interactions with native speakers (or virtual avatars) to experience the language in its natural environment. In fact, a recent study of engineering majors who enrolled in an English course found that those who were given VR tuition significantly outperformed their peers in terms of specialized vocabulary acquisition, and were more motivated to learn English related to their future careers.
The rise of next-gen learning management systems
Improving learning outcomes can also be accomplished by personalizing content – a task that falls neatly within the remit of AI. While traditional open courses and learning software can facilitate some degree of differentiation depending on what students want to learn, educators should now turn their attention to the next generation of AI-powered systems that can curate learning processes tailored specifically to each student’s needs.
Sophisticated tools like Soffos can provide a deeper learning experience, as well as affording greater time for practice and review. Advances in natural language processing (NLP) mean that Soffos can test an individual’s level of understanding through verbal or written Q&As to ensure they are keeping up to speed with their peers. Through powerful data analysis, it can determine where users are struggling, and offer greater support to guarantee that the information is being received effectively.
Our emerging tech will put learners in the driving seat and offer greater opportunities to reinforce learning than in normal classroom settings. To ensure that professionals are not put off from asking questions for fear of looking ignorant, historic Q&A sessions and transcripts of tests will only be available to the users themselves.
However, such tools will be able to offer managers and training leaders an overview of test scores, which will enable them to track employees’ continued progress and thereby evaluate whether objectives are being met. Educators, whether corporate training leaders or academics, would do well to leverage these tools to complement their regular material, activities and practices.
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