“Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.”
– Donna J. Abernathy
Educators worldwide are using digital learning tools and e-Learning resources to harness the benefits of technology to stimulate learning. Digital products such as instructional videos and game-based e-Learning solutions can meet an educator’s goal to achieve the highest outcomes from content that is delivered to the learner.
Digital technology lets educators leverage virtual reality and bring lab experiences to life. At its best, e-Learning is authentic and problem-based. Simulations, which are modeled on real-life scenarios, can increase student engagement and motivation. Practical simulations allow students to analyze a situation, take one course of action, and then see how their actions impact the outcome. If the outcome doesn’t produce the best results, students can repeat the simulation, choosing a different course of action, and in the process building their problem-solving skills.
Think of learners as social individuals. Virtual simulations can be built in an immersive environment that lets students role play and also communicates with their peers virtually. Students have opportunities to learn from each other and see the effects of their decisions. Simulations have a reporting and assessment system that lets instructors collect data and measure learning against established behaviors in similar real-world situations. Instructors can view the recorded behaviors and hold discussions about outcomes in a real or a virtual class.
Teaching in the Internet age means that e-Learning services must teach for tomorrow. Simulations bring lab experiences into the twenty-first century. Students still receive hands-on learning but at less cost and in a faster time frame. Learning objects, such as 3D animations, help students understand key concepts. For example, a 3D animation of the human body is a major improvement on traditional teaching tools like overlays in a printed textbook and expensive plastic body parts.
Designed with the brain in mind
Technology has already impacted the way we think, learn, and interact. Students routinely use digital technology to create and communicate in new ways. Educational institutions and corporations will find no reason not to embrace e-Learning resources. Games and simulations provide powerful learning opportunities for instruction and help students develop cognitive skills. As students perform the tasks in a simulation and make choices, they are in effect controlling and altering the simulation. They are not just “learning” information—they are “creating” what they are learning.
Imagine how students can transfer their new ways of thinking to any new situation. They can become not merely students who are learning information, but creative problem-solvers and communicators who will shape the future.