How Did “The Digital” Become “The Future of Learning”

Digital tools aren’t new to the World of Education. For example, Moodle is a platform facilitating e-learning for schools and universities dating back to 2002 and is still very much in use today.

The future of learning is now in a digital world. The recent years have seen many advancements, with new apps and technologies being created every day that are helping shape our generation more than any other before it!

As ‘Generation Z’ uses smartphones more than any other generation before them, it was inevitable that Digital would play a role in learning in the past decade.

Apps Can Assist With Deadlines And Schedule

Pupils and students can now access apps like Socratic or Slader to help them with their homework. Assignments and deadlines can also be managed using other platforms, like “My Study Life” and “myHomework Student Planner”. Tutors, too, benefit from online education, which makes teaching more manageable while extending the longevity of their content.

This information can all be accessed through tutors’ and students’ mobile phones, making education more accessible for everyone, anywhere:

As B. Williamson (2017) wrote: “With the digitization of education into information that can be processed by a computer, software and the code that enacts it becomes a significant influence in how education is organized. Software code has become a system for regulating many of the practices and processes of education, teaching, and learning.”

Pro’s And Con’s Of “The Digital”

One could argue that e-learning has both pros and cons for learners.

Indeed, digital learning contributes to their independence when learning on their own. Learners demonstrate skills of self-management and prove to be more effective by targeting their own specific needs.

Through the use of digital tools, students are able to concentrate on what is most beneficial to them, and on what they are most interested in, rather than the pace of a class or a team. “Personal encrypted credentials enable users to shape lifelong learning pathways and personalizes education according to individual values and needs.” (M. Jirgensons, J. Kapenieks, 2018) This stimulates their will and confidence to learn more.

It is also important to recognize that this type of learning could isolate some learners, who would prefer the support of others and would engage their learning even more in a collaborative environment.

During the 2020 pandemic, the world faced this kind of setback when the entire education system had no choice but to turn to online learning for more than a year, leaving students and learners to their own devices. “The use of digital technology to support teaching and learning in schools has been rising for years, but in March 2020, it became the only option when the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of almost all educational institutions worldwide.” (D. Scully et al, 2020)

But this was not the end for e-learning; it only made it adapt even more to the needs of different types of learners. Many existing platforms and online tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams became more popular, enhancing the communication between students, tutors, and teams.

Companies could offer new training to their employees, making remote working more engaging. Universities switching to online platforms managed to keep their students engaged too, in more interactive activities than ever possible with traditional learning.

The attention span of new learners seems to decrease with new technologies, mainly due to social media apps making the viewer lose entertainment very quickly, to then switch to the next piece of content available with no effort.

As a consequence, learning has to adapt and become more interactive and engaging, which mainly digital learning proved to make possible.

Exploring New Opportunities With “The Digital” Platforms

While the pandemic was devastating for many, it also created an opportunity to explore new opportunities. Platforms like Masterclass and Skillshare saw their popularity during this time as people wanted ways to stimulate themselves.

Smartphone apps gained in popularity too, such as Babbel, Duolingo, and Yousician; all proving to general audiences that e-learning, whether used for languages, music skills, or academic topics could be possible, efficient, and enjoyable, without quick loss of attention nor too much effort.

Even though many of these tools were already accessible before the pandemic, the challenge the pandemic brought, helped researchers and scholars understand how individuals function and learn online more than before, since more data for e-learning were collected.

Some universities kept online tools and incorporated them into their traditional ways of functioning even still to this day. It seems as if any challenges digital learning could face are being tested every day.

Research proves to find solutions as more and more online businesses are created to facilitate such learning. Canva, another alternative to Moodle, responds to some difficulties universities encountered with Moodle through the pandemic, such as adapting to mobile devices and ease of navigation use, making the whole learning experience smoother and more pleasant for students.

As a result, learners are more prone to using the available tools and continue learning.

Another pro to online learning is the possibility to adapt to anyone’s busy life schedule. Being able to attend any classes, tutorials, or webinars from mobile phones or laptops anytime, increased the ability for a broader range of individuals to access education. Now more than ever stay-at-home mothers, challenged individuals, or busy business owners can still be provided with learning tools, at the convenience of their own pace and time.

The Digital World Is Made For Everyone

Home-schooled students don’t lack resources to learn the same piece of content as their on-campus peers do, and communication between both has become possible. Digital learning has changed the way communication exists, not only with the ease of messaging and calling software but also by breaking the barrier of language. Any content can be translated into another language in seconds, allowing anyone around the world to access resources available on the internet.

More than ever since the pandemic combined with the rise of social media interactions and online learning platforms, digital learning is made available for anyone.

The aim is to suit any kind of personality, situation, and skill set, which in turn becomes appealing to a society that demands inclusion like never before. The way the education system is providing content is quickly adapting to an interconnected world, and it will keep on doing it in the future. “Teachers and students must continue to use e-learning as a delivery method. It is time to recognize this is not a short-term effort. Therefore, we need to embrace these changes as a long-term response that will develop and improve over the next few years.” (M. Lynch, 2020)

It is shaping a future for learning in which the craziest ideas are becoming reality.

New technologies are invented every day such as virtual reality, another way of transforming what was once a traditional way of learning into a fun and interactive activity. This is likely to stir learners’ curiosity, giving them more reason to learn and mostly, to remember such learning experiences; hopefully making learning less daunting than ever.

We All Deserve The Opportunity Of Learning Through “The Digital”

Since Digital has become the Future of Learning, it is the rightful duty to impart this knowledge and technology to every student, able or not, privileged or underprivileged, and young or old. Every student deserves and has the right to have access to the digital of today. Students have the right to acquire knowledge because students are the future of new leadership, a new change, and new growth.

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