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3 New Technology Trends to Improve Learning Experiences for Students

Instructional design and technology combine critical thought and practical application with technological knowledge. It involves taking existing technologies and figuring out how to best use them in order to implement curricula.

Thanks to the influx of technology in virtually every workplace, instructional design and technology principles are increasingly relevant across fields, from schools to human resource departments to marketing departments. As a result, more and more industries recognize the possibilities of effective instructional design and seek experts to incorporate those ideas.

A Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology online degree through St. Thomas University (STU) teaches graduates to create and implement effective, leading-edge instructional programs. This affordable program’s diverse curriculum fosters a skill set that suits various professional possibilities in instructional design.

Students will learn how to apply theory, research, creativity and problem-solving skills across a variety of technologies, as well as create and assess learning materials and methods.

Modern advances in technology occur regularly enough that instructional designers must constantly consider and potentially adapt to new trends in tech. Here’s a look at a few of the latest trends that professionals are using in order to improve training exercises in different areas.

Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning refers to systems that use a data-driven approach to create a personalized learning experience for the user, including the content and pace. Adaptive learning “takes all the factors related to the learner into consideration like their weaknesses, strengths, and patterns of engagement,” notes a blog post from WhatFix, which uses interactive tech for training exercises.

The post outlines several significant benefits of adaptive learning in the workplace, starting with priority-based learning experiences. Employees working in different parts of the company can be trained on a need-to-know basis, starting with knowledge and procedures most relevant to their jobs. This way, all employees are not learning the same concepts in the same order at the same pace.

Adaptive learning also streamlines the training process by focusing on what the employee needs to improve. This way, concepts that an employee already understands well aren’t overstressed, which is a waste of everyone’s time.

Most adaptive learning programs also offer multiple presentation mediums, including audio, video and text-based options. This versatility is also more inclusive for those with accessibility concerns. Therefore, designers of adaptive learning programs should consider making available as many mediums as possible.

E-Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic hastened the arrival of e-learning, and students and teachers have grown quite familiar with many different aspects of online learning. So-called “Zoom fatigue” may have set in for some parts of the population, but e-learning can still be a powerful learning tool when used in the right situations.

One of e-learning’s greatest assets is its expansion of access in multiple arenas. Students can access teacher lesson plans, or even recorded lessons, from a computer if they are absent. Eager employees who want to fast-track their training process can finish their onboarding from home. Instructors in all areas now have more technological tools and approaches to accommodate learners with accessible needs or learning disabilities.

E-learning also allows instructors to quickly deliver and personalize lessons, both of which are especially helpful in a corporate environment.

Gamification

Gamification is not exactly “new,” but it has certainly been reborn, particularly as technology continues to present new possibilities across classrooms and corporate environments.

At a minimum, gamification can drive engagement in corporate training or other exercises. Rather than passively sitting through a video or presentation, corporate trainers can gamify the process and attach additional incentives for winning competitors in order to encourage active participation in these sessions from employees.

This can also apply to the workplace, depending on the occupation and office culture. As this 2020 post from The Tech Edvocate notes, promoting healthy competition among individuals or teams in the workplace can create a natural motivation to work hard and improve results. For school-age students, gamification has long been a way to create an entertaining and positive learning environment.

An advanced degree in instructional design and technology can equip professionals with the necessary tools and skills to apply useful strategies and improve learning outcomes in virtual environments.

Learn more about St. Thomas University’s online Master of Science in Instructional Design & Technology program.

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