Educational Technology, Digital Learning In The Digital Age
Education Technology is fast revolutionizing the concept of education itself. Educational Technology was valued at USD 17.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to cross USD 40.9 billion by 2022! This huge spurt in this sector is due to the advantages of adapting modern technology for educational purposes. This sector will keep growing due to the proliferation of smart devices as well as a huge population under the age of 30 globally. It is feasible to imagine a future where all schools and universities are available online with regular classrooms, practicals, seminars all conducted within a virtual space, uniting individuals from across the globe while reducing the burden on educators. This also will have the side effect of refining the material being taught.
Education Technology can be applied to all facets of education. The few of its most obvious applications are listed below:
1. E-learning theory: Drawing from behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism the e-learning theory primarily encapsulated the concept of cognitive load theory among others. This theory aims at minimizing the external cognitive load while promoting as well as managing intrinsic and germane loads appropriate for the student. It has the intended effect of reducing student workload while enhancing the germane load enabling the student to learn more efficiently and coherently. Useless auditory and visual stimuli are suppressed while relevant information is passed through minimal verbal communication backed with static imagery. An intrinsic part of this theory is the efficient breaking of the subject matter into manageable and coherent section for the ease of the student as well as the educator.
“Educational technology is proven to provide ease of accessibility to knowledge, ease of correspondence with subject matter expert, ease of collaboration, easy cognition, reduced stress and an enhanced ability to retain taught subject matter”
2. E-learning Instructional Design: This pertains to the efficient designing of an instruction format. It has modularly changed ever since the introduction of computers and smart devices. Today it stresses on integrating technology, human – computer interaction and the efficient design of a virtual space to be shared by the students. Evolving concurrently with the evolution of smart devices, it is critical for the purposes of imparting an education which will enhance the knowledge of the student. Due to the advent of the social media, it is easier to provide on demand training as well as collaborative training, something which studies have shown to give excellent results. This also includes motivational design within its parameters so that learning is facilitated by personal drive and not just driven by societal requirement to learn.
3. Technologies utilized: The technology that can be used for educational purposes is multifaceted, encompassing audio, video, PC’s, laptops, smartphones, interactive whiteboards, etc. All these technologies have a positive impact on learning when understood in that concept and utilized efficiently Virtual classrooms are set up which can be operated across many devices and which offer the same education to all those within the virtual classroom, be it someone from an urban setting or someone from a remote rural setting. The next technology that is being retrofitted to aid in education is augmented reality, where an individual will virtually be within a classroom irrespective of their physical location. This will be the next big trend within the educational technology sector.
4. Standards and Ecosystems: In a virtual environment which is laboring to unite disparate individuals whose only commonality is seeking knowledge of a subject, it is very important to create and adhere to standards that can be applied and understood globally. Since there is no regulatory mechanism for this yet, it becomes the onus of the educators themselves to understand and apply a universal standardized system. Most learning apps available today is doing so quite successfully, and their model is eagerly being copied by educators worldwide. The learning ecosystem must be overseen by an appropriately constructed AI, as it is impossible for humans to monitor such a system with equal consistency over a large timescale. Certain AI’s are being developed specifically for this task and the advent of technology is just facilitating that.
5. Setting for educational technology: Educational Technology can be set up for pre-schools, primary and secondary education, higher education and even for corporate and professional usage. All these different setting require a different approach by educational technology due to the changes in human cognition, adaptation and reasoning over different age groups. This facilitation requires a specialization into each of these domains that must be handled independently from each other yet ensure that the educational quality is not hampered or changed. Already enterprises catering to these different age groups and setting are being set up and they will drive the educational technology sector to achieve its perfection.
Educational technology is proven to provide ease of accessibility to knowledge, ease of correspondence with subject matter expert, ease of collaboration between co-learners who aid each other in understanding subject matter, easy cognition, reduced stress and an enhanced ability to retain taught subject matter. This is the future for education and it is an inevitability that must be accepted and enhanced.