Learning is no longer restricted to a school building, a traditional school day or even a conventional school year. Much of today’s education occurs through a blend of in-person and online forums, giving students flexibility over elements like time and place and, in many circumstances, path and pace. Electronic learning (E-learning) has taken hold of the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and refers to technology-mediated teaching methods like tutoring, assessments and instruction that support students.
As a result, many training and professional development programs have adapted to the digital environment. However, the pandemic is not the only element that has caused the shift to online learning tools. Factors such as cost, convenience, increasingly decentralized workforces, and technological advancements are also at play.
Graduates with an advanced education degree in applied digital learning will have the in-demand technology and learning tools to deliver engaging, hands-on educational experiences for learners of all ages and circumstances.
Today’s educational leaders must create innovative professional improvement and expansion programs for teachers to keep up with the changing education landscape.
One blog post from Open LMS details how leaders can blend learning experiences with modern technologies in almost any context. From the workplace to academia, there is no limit to the environments that can utilize creative virtual learning tools.
Hybrid or blended teaching integrates traditional instructor-led classroom activities with technology and digital media, allowing students to customize their study or training experience. The opportunities of hybrid and blended learning expand access of digital learning to more individuals with unique circumstances.
Building a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
The digital learning transition largely outpaced the development of targeted digital education methodologies and educator training, which created a gap between digital learning integration and its quality and impact.
Providing professional avenues for career growth through online learning platforms, or virtual learning environments (VLE), also provides an affordable option to traditional learning institutions.
As some of the most popular services in the global marketplace, these top learning platforms for professional development offer educators the flexibility of working while learning new skills. In an increasingly expensive and busy world, the benefits of online learning platforms are clear: learners can access lessons and training materials in different formats, including interactive sessions with other students and teachers.
Adapting to New Ways of Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic brought digital and virtual platforms to the forefront of learning. Educators have taken these lessons, from the strategic to the tactical, and maintained the momentum from the pandemic to create new lessons and build new foundations for virtual learning.
Dozens of actions and strategies — from establishing a learning response team to exploring alternative digital strategies — are leading educators to practice and prepare for multiple outcomes. Innovative professional development opportunities for educators recognize that there are unique challenges to virtual learning opportunities (like the limits of video conferencing and virtual classrooms), but those are minor compared to the benefits. In addressing the areas for improvement and adapting to the new virtual ways of learning, educators can address the preparation and results of a VLE session to maximize the impact.
The Evolving Educational Landscape
Educational researchers have been exploring ways to integrate different means of learning into traditional programs and lessons for decades. The universal goal of enhancing learning effectiveness is possible by embracing a variety of smart learning environments.
There is not one single VLE that is considered the best. Instead, experts encourage educators to embrace a wide variety of evolving learning environments which can include but are not limited to personal learning, mobile learning, adaptive learning and blended learning. The concepts surrounding VLEs and smart learning environments are constantly changing. An ideal learning environment emphasizes engagement, efficiency, adaptivity, effectiveness and reflectiveness in many forms.
Educators can equip themselves with the tools to create innovative digital learning environments and lead organizational change with Lamar University’s flexible online M.Ed. in Applied Digital Learning program. Lamar’s program allows students to explore resources for digital learning environments, disruptive innovations in education and instructional design in online learning. With the foundational knowledge in learning technology and educational engagement, graduates will be ready to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.
Learn more about Lamar University’s online Master of Education in Applied Digital Learning program.