Online education has grown incredibly in recent years. The traditional classes still outnumber the virtual classes but the number of online course offerings is increasing day by day. The largest number of enrollment in online schools is at the college and university levels, mostly because working adults and home learners have shown an overwhelming interest in learning and development, thereby enhancing their careers. This is due to the great flexibility and ease of study through online mediums.
As we enter the new millennium, educators are facing a challenge unlike any that has come before. The Worldwide Web has completely changed the way in which we educate students. Despite the new challenges that we continue to face every day, the primary goal remains the same: to construct a learning environment in which the student feels comfortable, study at their own pace and easily affords the course. Some institutions have already taken the initiative to incorporate online learning into their curriculum. The future of online education will offer students an alternative to the traditional classroom. Student will have the opportunity to enroll in online schools, which offer all of the courses required for students to successfully graduate from a traditional high school or a university.
One of the most prominent and recent developments in this sector is the 100$ laptop or “1 Laptop per child” project started by a U.S. organization to provide a learning platform for children in developing countries. Today, online schools offering different study programs must live with the reality that instructional material must be delivered through low speed internet connections to underpowered computers running unreliable software. In the future, this will change. Institutions are working on making the online learning experience even more vivid and for that groundbreaking technologies have been introduced in present years. The coming years will see more and more innovation in this technology, 3D glasses are no longer just for entertainment. Future programs include embedding complete courses in them so students can have an up close learning experience.
A number of online institutions have provided students with simulation programs that recreate real-environment scenarios to student to act as decision makers. This is a great help for students of business and management whose work depend heavily on interaction with people. PDA’s or hand-held devices made solely for learning are in constant development and they will become a good contribution to learning for students who don’t have any access to education. These devices will have courses, books, instructions in the easiest possible form for students. AIU is one such online institution which is already distributing course material on mobile phones through Pod casts.
U.S., UK and Canadian education sectors are already working on combining their complete academic infrastructure on one single digital platform. The platform could herald a digital academic revolution that would spread education to every nook and cranny of the world without any obstacles in its way. Education technology of the future will include more multimedia backed interactivity that will introduce students to a whole new and fresh concept of online classrooms that will not only be dynamic and engaging but also an active learning experience.
Already, traditional universities around the world have started using laptops and mobile mediums of education as a secondary option for students’ learning and development. But in the case of online education Internet and multimedia supported interactivity has been the primary medium and it is only increasing with more personalized teaching methods being incorporated in the future mode of this education. Curriculum and teaching methods will be customized for each student allowing even more flexibility in education. This means that students will not only have the liberty to decide how and when they want to study, but they will also be able to customize the study programs and course structures themselves.