Last updated: 16.12.11

Online learning growth 'to be encouraged by mobile technologies'

The growth of the e-learning industry will largely be driven by the increasing popularity of mobile technologies such as smartphones.

This is according to an expert from the Centre for Research into Online Communities and E-Learning Systems at Swansea University.

Jonathan Bishop, a chartered IT professional fellow and chair of the centre for research, suggested that online learning success is being encouraged by more and more people opting for smartphone technologies that can easily host the resources needed for distance education.

He said: "Mobile technologies will be the main growth for e-learning, but one cannot rule out some unknown technology that will transform e-learning - like the world wide web did."

Mr Bishop added that there is a lot of benefit to be gained from specialist e-learning content developers who can tailor specifications to new and upcoming technologies.

"These can help universities save money spent on content development by lecturers whose time would be better spent of research, which will bring real money into the university. They can also provide more 'added value' to businesses, as e-learning resources like webspace reach a negligible cost," he explained.

Furthermore, established universities, colleges and businesses have a large role to play in the development of the virtual classroom and its uptake through smart solutions, the expert continued.

Tom Kuhlmann, editor of The Rapid E-learning Blog, which provides news and information on the industry, recently commented that e-learning is set to get even bigger in 2012 and that mobile technologies will be a large driving factor in this.

He predicted that educational tools via the web will become easier to use and provide more capability for learners who may be using e-learning systems far away from the traditional classroom setting.

Mr Kuhlman suggested that social media platforms will also become a large add-on to the learning sector and that this will help to engage learners, as well as allow them to easily share information.