Edtech Innovation in Online Education
The early days of online education looked suspiciously similar to traditional classes taken in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
You matriculated for a course, purchased your books or downloaded materials, and attend class via computer – on the day and time set by the school or professor. Eventually, online courseware included opportunities for digital networking, conversing in chat rooms, and sharing computer screens. The courses were exclusive; those without computer access were left out.
In 2018, Key2Enable won the Krypto Labs Innovation Startup Competition in Abu-Dubai. The Brazilian edtech entrepreneurs behind Key2Enable competed against 800 other innovative groups from 58 countries. The winning product enables motor-impaired individuals to access computers. Doing so affords students expanded learning opportunities that they might not otherwise have.
Equal access is only the beginning of what’s possible in online education. New edtech innovations create a synergy that makes online education the preferred choice for many learners.
The best innovations in online learning
Courseware and access to it aren’t the only innovations in online education. Many supplemental tools support classroom instruction at all levels of learning, helping students engage in the learning process and enjoy it.
Student response systems
Teachers recognize the need for student involvement in lessons, but connecting with each student in every class can take time, especially if the class size exceeds 30 students. Although necessary for learning, engagement, response, and feedback are time-consuming.
Apps like Socrative assist teachers in engaging students and diagnosing student performance. One of the reasons Socrative is so successful is that it bridges the gap between school and home, learning and leisure time. Students access their homework online, complete it, and the app grades it and provides immediate feedback.
Student responses systems streamline the process for continuous communication.
Expanded social learning
Online education models find themselves transitioning to more fluid models. Classes will no longer serve as one-time “events.”
Instead, learners will have greater access to social networks that function as tools for learning. Students will find themselves connecting to their professors, subject matter experts, and people in the field as part of the learning experience.
Not surprisingly, online courses have a reputation for being bland. As a rule, they fail to engage learners. Students give up on the courses and go on to something else. Adding gamification, however, creates novelty and an element of fun.
According to course creation expert Zsuzsanna Kisvardai, one possibility for innovation is to establish the hero’s journey within the course. Direct your students to create an avatar. Then every learning task they complete takes them one step closer to becoming the hero in their academic journey.
Only the beginning
Online education is growing in popularity. One out of every three college students have taken an online course; 15.4% of them take online courses to the exclusion of enrollment in traditional courses. You can count on seeing these numbers grow, especially if online education becomes more relevant and accessible.
The growth will happen only if startups like Key2Enable and others make online education accessible and engaging. If edtech entrepreneurs vigorously innovate for online education, we may see incredible new innovations in an industry on the verge of exponential growth.