We’re honored to have had the opportunity to sponsor and attend the 15th eLearning Forum Asia 2020 on 7-8 December 2020, hosted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Together, we discussed, exchanged ideas, and explored many new technologies that are changing the face of online education since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme of this year’s forum was “Enhanced Teaching and Learning with Technology: Present and Future” and the topic seemed to really resonate with attendees. With over 1,200 attendees from around Asia-Pacific and almost 40 sessions to choose from, the event was the perfect opportunity for L&D professionals to gather new information and the latest thinking on teaching and learning technologies.
With the help of eCreators, our sister team in Australia, here’s our round-up of some of the most exciting insights from the event.
The Need for Emerging Technologies to Provide New Solutions for the Education Industry
A jam-packed two-day event kicked off with a great keynote speaker from the University of Queensland on “Toward Digital Learning Strategic Agility.”
Dr Greg Winslett shared insights on how many educational organizations are looking for systems or platforms to ease the complexities they’re currently facing, especially at a time when so many organizations need access to eLearning.
The COVID-19 outbreak has sped up the demand for online offerings. The demand grew from 517 online courses in 2019 to 2,689 courses in 2020! That’s a 420% increase over the last 12 months.
While we’re pleased to see the immense growth in eLearning thanks to the result of the pandemic, it also raised other challenges including:
- Learners lacking appropriate digital literacy and training
- The difficulty of communication and engagement
- Teachers needing to acquire new digital teaching practices
- Higher demand for professional support staff (online)
- Technology challenges such as bad internet connection or a lack of proper software licenses
It’s clear that the pandemic has changed the way students learn forever. We’re bringing forward something we expected in 5-6 years, but instead, the eLearning industry has been forced to rapidly grow to keep up with the demand. This is where new, more advanced technologies can help.
What Else Can We Expect for the Future of Online Learning?
While we’re just at the beginning of this new era, we can already see many promising technology solutions. Here are a few:
1. Big data, better analytics
Educational organizations are being flooded with data on teaching and learning processes. If applied correctly, this data can be used to convey a very successful learning journey and course development.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies
The future of education is heavily linked with developments in new technologies and the capacity of new intelligent machines. AI can open new possibilities for us to deliver even better learning experience for our students and make life easier for our administrators to use for different departments.
3. Immersive learning (AR, VR, MR)
We’re seeing more and more education and training using these advanced new(ish) technologies. We believe that in the near future, VR courseware training can contribute to the new establishment of training standards within the events industry. VR technology has been fast-moving over the last decade and quickly become a credible, cost-effective technological tool given the rapid developments of technology in today’s context.
Changes in the eLearning Industry
Throughout the two days of eLearning Forum Asia 2020, many sessions were sharing the changes that are happening within the education sector. As much as it brings many advantages for new emerging technologies from a fast-growing industry like eLearning, they also present a new threat in many areas.
One of the most commonly asked was if teachers were finding these technologies too comprehensive for their skills. And the answer was that most teachers don’t find eLearning that difficult. The pandemic has really brought forward the positivity around eLearning in education, including an opportunity for most institutions to re-look at their current way of teaching.
“The threat of emerging technologies may bring many jobs to its elimination, but the teacher is not one of them. The teacher will become a curator”. – Dr King Irwin
That’s a Wrap!
As the event comes to an end, we reflected on what we’ve learned from many professors, lecturers and educators who have been working tirelessly during this changing time to adapt to the new norm. There are still many organizations out there who are in need of support when it comes to adapting to learning technologies. But this type of event provides the perfect platform for that. It allows people to come together, learn from each other, ask questions, and hopefully walk away inspired.
We can conclude that the future of online education is truly bright. We cannot wait to see what innovations 2021 will bring.