The picture of education across Australia is one of rapid change. Not only do education establishments have to adapt to an ever-moving picture of employment trends, they also need to realise the potential that technological advances can have on enhancing learning. With a growing national unemployment rate, never has there been more need for retraining as protection from redundancy or to improve employment prospects. To that end, we explore our predictions for the Australian Education Landscape in 2017.
Australian online education is amongst the best in the world and has continued to grow quite steadily over the last five years. Access for more Australian individuals and businesses to faster internet connections has led to a boom in the popularity of online education and the industry has responded well to the prospective benefits of technological advances. With the increased viability of online learning, more businesses are realising the potential for convenience and ease it offers for work force education and training. Opportunities are plentiful within online education, to upskill a workforce via flexible study solutions, which don’t involve long stretches away from work but do provide a good work-life balance.
Trends and Predictions
Access to education for all age groups has been improved by the flexibility of online learning. This would include adults who have already entered the workforce and those who need to retrain due to redundancy. Because of this mixed demographic, online learners tend to be busy, motivated people who need to utilise their time carefully and make technology work in multiple ways. Today’s online learners want to use technology to engage with interactive learning, speed up their learning and enjoy more motivation through collaboration. Current technological trends suggest that this is becoming more and more possible.
Virtual Reality VR
Virtual reality has finally launched itself into the mainstream gaming world and when you combine this with the long time argument that gamification is a great learning tool, there are clearly opportunities for VR to create realistic world classrooms and connect learners with each other and tutors. The availability of the Google Cardboard viewer and the Jump and GoPro Odyssey camera rigs demonstrate the speed at which these technologies are being adopted.
The use of different collaborative technologies will be a boon to those who prefer to learn using less traditional methods. As well as joint presentations, conference learning and discussion forums, we will soon be seeing virtual collaborative classrooms, discussions via augmented reality and engagement through group gaming. Online education is uniquely placed to take advantage of collaborative technological advancements.
One issue with any type of learning can be self-motivation. The use of games and gaming offers enormous potential in the online learning arena. Games can be used as problem solving learning tools and offer easy options for group collaboration and tutor control. Although global take-up of educational gamification has been slow, studies suggest that it has great potential for interconnected engagement and information retention.
There can be no doubt that social media has contributed to the success of online learning. No longer do distance-learners feel isolated and left to learn alone, social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are used to encourage engagement through collaboration, support and communication. Educators have even successfully used Snapchat’s temporary messages, videos and dynamic geofilters to enhance learning and encourage participation.
The picture is clear; the education landscape in Australia has changed and individuals and businesses are now looking for the flexible study solutions that online learning can provide. The ease with which new technologies can be used to enhance interactive learning is only going to make online learning a stronger competitor on the education stage. Students of all ages require collaboration, interaction and enhancement in their learning activities and new technologies are best placed to achieve this.
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