E-Learning is Alive and Well

E-Learning is Alive and Well

E-Learning is Very Much Alive and Doing Very Well

By Mark Sivy, Ed.D.

According to the GSV Advisors 2012 Education Sector Factbook, e-learning is expected to grow at an average rate of 23% during the years of 2013-2017, with the global market size being anticipated to go from $90.9 B to $255.5 B. Based upon Watson, Murin, Vashaw, Gemin, and Rapp’s annual high school e-learning course enrollments, the 2012-2013 numbers represented an over 131% increase in enrollments when compared to the 2008-2009 school year. In 2010, Mincberg projected that it is possible by 2020 for 50% of all high school classes to be delivered online. Additionally given current trends, it can be estimated that by 2019, half of all college classes will be e-Learning based.

Educational TechnologyBy using e-learning, corporations are realizing that they can save over 50% on the cost of creating and delivering a traditional course, not to mention that they can make it readily available to a large number of employees when and where they need it. In the Docebo E-Learning Market Trends & Forecast 2014-2016 Report, it was found that the both small and large companies were accepting e-learning as an efficient and cost effective means to quickly educate a geographically distributed workforce. WorldWideLearn points out several other factors that are leading the continuing growth of corporate e-learning, with some of the most notable being the development and delivery of consistent high quality content, the rapid development of employee skills, and modular learning.

Why is e-learning so very alive and doing well? Many factors have been found that are contributing to its popularity and reach. Some of these are:

– Mobility created by the expansion of wireless access and the growth in mobile device (e.g., tablets and smartphones) sales.
Personalized learning and adaptive learning that address the diversity of learner backgrounds and needs.
Gamification, which motivates learners and improves the level of interaction with the content.
Pervasive learning occurring through a variety of informal, social, and formal modalities, which better match learner needs and interests.
– Popularity of cloud-based technologies and software-as-a-service (SaaS)

There may be some misconceptions or opinions out there due to “bad” experiences that may lead some people to believe that e-learning is on the decline or is ineffective. Some common reasons for this are:

– E-learning adoption being driven by the desire to have a technology rather than by having actual learning needs that are addressed with technology after thorough analysis and planning. A classic case is the rush by many schools to implement one-on-one (1:1) laptop or tablet initiatives before the learning needs, benefits, and support requirements have been identified, explored, and vetted.
– Failure to create an ongoing budget for scalability, maintenance, and upgrading of both software and hardware. Often, money is only allotted for the initial costs and setup or too little recurring funding is set aside.
– Inadequate stakeholder notification or buy-in.
– Lack of instructional design that is appropriate to the e-learning method that is being used. An example of this is uploading presentations and other content from a traditional course into on that is online.
– Absence of or insufficient training, professional development, and user support.

In most of these cases where there negative thoughts have resulted about e-learning, these could have been avoided by clearly identifying learning needs, thoroughly researching project requirements and options, involving stakeholders in the process, applying strategic vision and planning, and ensuring sufficient funds. e-learning simulation

Reflection Point 1 – “E-Learning doesn’t just happen! It requires careful planning and implementation.” – Anonymous

Reflection Point 2 – “Teachers need to integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum instead of viewing it as an add-on, an afterthought, or an event.” – Heidi-Hayes Jacobs

 

References

Mincberg, C. (2010). Is online learning a solution in search of a problem? Retrieved from the Litmos website: http://www.litmos.com/mobile-learning/what-will-disrupt-literacy-learninginstruction-as-we-know-it/.

Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2013). Keeping pace with K-12 online & blended learning: An annual review of policy and practice. Retrieved from Evergreen Education Group’s Keeping Pace website: http://kpk12.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/EEG_KP2013-lr.pdf.

Virtual Reality in the Medical Industry

Virtual Reality in the Medical Industry

By Fathi AlRiyami

Leading industries have taken a leap forward with the advancement of technology and are incorporating virtual environments for training, architecture design, marketing, education, diagnosis, rehab, and counseling. It’s possible to place within these designs the abilities to provide training, knowledge enhancement and experience enrichment. Such was done with the virtual reality and virtual environments that are used in medical schools such as University of Southern California, Duke University, Stanford and other similar settings as a means of training, medical re-certification and healthcare quality assurance training.

A well-planned and well-developed environment consists of a commensurate design that provides informative and engaging experiences. The virtual environments used for simulations provide regulated, safe and flexible platforms for evaluation and training. Through simulated learning experiences, virtual reality can be used to train the next generation of doctors, paramedics, physiologists, emergency response units and other personnel.

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With the appropriate virtual environment design ongoing trainee assessments can be conducted with accurate visualization of real-time data. For example, an emergency response team can conduct their training in a high-risk, time-critical environment that has been developed to replicate an emergency scenario. Based on the trainee’s responses, trainers can adjust the training methodology to enhance the needed skills and knowledge. The trainer can log in the virtual environment with the trainee in a one-on-one session or can conduct group sessions.

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Virtual reality use in the healthcare industry is being heavily incorporated as a means of providing enhanced medical services and it is expanded its usability and availability due to the broad product development and advancement of technology. In addition, the growing implementation of information technology infrastructure in the healthcare industry is paving the way of associating Virtual reality in innovative medical technology in areas including pre-operative surgical planning, motor skills training, surgical simulation and physical rehabilitation.

The current and future market for commercialized virtual reality technologies are based on assortments of applications for areas such as surgery, including surgical navigation, augmented reality surgery, and robot-assisted surgery. Medical data visualization, as well as multi-modality image blending, advanced 3D/4D image restoration.

Virtual reality usability includes rehabilitation and therapy, by the means of blending treatments with immersive virtual reality systems for pain management, behavioral therapy, psychological therapy, physical rehabilitation, and motor skills training. In addition, virtual reality is used for education and training purposes, the use of virtual surgical simulators and simulators for medical patient procedure. It also involves the use of single and multi-user learning capabilities and environments.

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With the use of virtual reality it is possible to provide medical students and physicians with interactive training opportunities in a risk-free environment. Technology can also be used to transform data, such as a CT or MRI scan, from a flat image into a three-dimensional one, thus allowing surgeons and students to visualize and discuss complex surgical procedures.

Virtual reality technology can result in enhancing patient outcomes, reduced medical errors, improved omnipresent surgical technique, enhanced capabilities that allow physician to collaborate during diagnosis and improved psychological and motor rehabilitation.

Digital Library II

A Digital Library Part II – How?

By Mark Sivy

The following are considerations to be made when planning a digital library. Even though this post provides a basic set of guidelines and information for establishing a digital library, the final details will depend upon the actual planning and development process for a given digital library and will be determined by its target audience and needs.

Digital Library

1. Who Are the Patrons?

It is of great importance at the onset of the project to define the target users of a digital library. Once these users and their communities are identified, it is then essential to establish their needs, abilities, and access related to the library.

2. Collaboration

For the library concept to develop and eventually succeed it is essential to identify stakeholders and collaborators who will be instrumental in establishing and maintaining the library and in developing and applying the criteria for content inclusion and to acquire the holdings.

3. Operating and Managing

Determine the organization structure, operation, and sustainability of the library.

4. Digital Library Technologies

Identify and address issues related to the digital existence and operations of the digital library. This includes such considerations as hardware, software, meta-data structure, and converting non-digital media to digital media.

5. Accessibility and Usability

Identify and address issues related to the usability of the library including functionality issues, the user interface, the user experience, and policies that govern the use of a digital library.

6. The Content

Decide upon the content and the materials to be contained in the digital library.

7. Maintenance

Determine what is needed for the short-term and long-term upkeep of the digital library.

8. Legal Concerns

Define and address the legal implications of providing materials in the library including copyrights, intellectual property rights, and fair use of materials

9. Access and Security

Incorporates the issues to be addressed when determining who will access the library, how they will access it, and what security needs to be considered to safeguard the library and its patrons.

10. Support

Support requirements and mechanisms for the digital library and its patrons.

11. Professional Development and Training

Identify library staff and patron development and learning needs.

12. Communications / Media

Establish the means for internal and external communications such as announcements, notifications, contacts, discussions and feedback.

13. Cost Implications

Identify the key factors affecting the cost of developing and maintaining a digital library.

14. Outreach

Create a social media plan, a marketing strategy and external partnerships.

Reflection Point – A library is not a luxury, but of the necessities of life. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Parts of this post are based upon the Joint United Nations recent Programme on HIV/AIDS (2010) publication Planning Tool for Developing a Digital Library of Monitoring and Evaluation Resources.

Digital Library Part I

A Digital Library Part 1 – What and Why

By Mark Sivy

A digital library is a repository of electronic versions of what would be found in a traditional library, including books, articles, journals, magazines, audio sources and video productions. Even though some information could be stored on local computer, due to the volume and continuous addition of content it is best located in a large managed database that is  can be publicly available and accessed remotely via computer networks through devices such as personal computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

The digital library can open the wonders, benefits and values of the human collective of knowledge, creations, cultures, and histories to the breadth of global citizenry. This in turn can help nurture and grow our educational reach, intellectual capacities and scholarly endeavors. These digital vessels can also enable distributed access to not only classic works and masterpieces, but also the opportunity to present the efforts and crafts of lesser known individuals and upcoming contributors.

Digital LibraryWith this occurring in the realm of electronic networks, new approaches to the traditional library can more readily be integrated into the fabric of this intellectual net. Connectivity, sharing and collaborations can be developed between digital libraries and other digital repositories, thus expanding collections and conserving resources. For the digital library patron, commonly available social media can be tied in with the library to create an engaging and enriching social aspect. The vast online library storehouse is capable of distributing educational information to a great number of primary and secondary students across geographic and economic boundaries.

On the logistical and strategic fronts, digital libraries allow innovative and advanced services to be made available to a greater number of individuals at a lower per patron cost than traditional libraries. The preservation and storage of existing acquisitions becomes more readily addressed. The electronic system also tackles issues concerning the collection and retrieval of the exponentially increasing global knowledge base.

It is less expensive to scan existing content and to store new content electronically than to attempt to maintain physical versions. A digital library removes the concerns and expense of unreturned materials, damaged books, checking-out /checking-in, theft, and following up with patrons. Digital libraries allow more acquisitions and innovative materials to be made available to more individuals and a greater diversity at a lower per user cost.

Reflection Point: If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Digital Libraries Part II will outline what is involved in creating a digital library.

Entrepreneurship & Technology

Entrepreneurship & Technology

By Mark Sivy

Working on the pioneering edge of business and technology means that new inspirations and opportunities are forever leading to the creation of new ideas and products. To develop these innovative solutions and to be able to capture a share of a target market requires an effective combination of both technological and entrepreneurial skill sets. Acquiring these abilities will enable the entrepreneur to Continue reading

Online Education

Online Education – Getting Started

By Mark Sivy

In this age of global opportunities that exist due to increased connectivity, greater mobility, and seemingly endless web-based possibilities, intellectual capacity is now being recognized as a nation’s greatest resource. In response, governments and educational institutions should continuously be seeking to leverage forward thinking strategies and innovative technologies to develop and capitalize on their human capital. Whether changes are being made in public schools, higher education, professional development, or training, the educational processes should Continue reading

3D Web – An Upcoming Innovation

3D Web – An Upcoming Innovation

By Mark Sivy

The 3D Web had been upon us for a few years now, but until it hits the mainstream it will remain unknown to many. But when that time comes, I believe we will see amazing creations stemming from this innovation, with the potential only being unlimited by one’s imagination. In the meantime, here are a couple of examples created using WebGL: Continue reading