Online learning 'could be supported by mobile tools'
The future of e-learning will be seen in mobile platforms, a specialist has predicted. Writing for CampusTechnology.com, education consultant and Daymar Colleges Group executive director of executive programmes and faculty Ruth Reynard pointed out online learning courses have been around for long enough for teachers to know the challenges and benefits this innovation provides. However, she pointed out web-connected technology is becoming ubiquitous, with the experiences of young people's exploration, interaction and communication now "increasingly mobile". Many schools and colleges, especially those providing higher education, are facing challenges as a result of the heightened level of flexibility today's students require, as well as rising expectations in the institutions they work for, Ms Reynard had previously noted. Students are therefore changing their education about what they expect from academia, the specialist argued. Ms Reynard suggested educators embrace mobile technology and its relationship with virtual learning environments by realising digital tools can capture interactive exchanges, instructional support and educational events, which "can truly help teachers store helpful moments for additional use outside the classroom". This information can then be sent to students through mobile devices and on the internet, she added. Furthermore, teachers can support youngsters engaged in distance learning online by interacting with the e-learning course attendees. Mobile learning tools also enable collaboration between learners, as well as among teachers, with this "based on actual ideas - not just information", she remarked. The knowledge students acquire can be shared through social networking, mobile devices and other online learning tools, integrating the experiences of students together, the specialist stated. Using connectivity in education means "students can respond to questions instantly and teachers can immediately gauge where their whole class is in terms of their response to questions", she pointed out. Ms Reynard predicted that educators consider the emerging field of mobile-enabled online training, suggesting that teachers "begin to adjust [their] mindsets and those of [their] colleagues by exploring the realities of capture and distribution, student driven processes and changed outcomes".