In this article we will be discussing Internet Education – Future Possibilities. Education, as we know it today has changed much from even ten years ago! The information that learners took pains to seek out from various sources like encyclopedias and libraries, is now available at the click of a mouse. Teaching methodologies have also changed to keep pace with this new-found empowerment of the learners.
Students are now relying not just on their teachers for information, but actively seeking enhancement and verification of the facts taught to them. Another growing demographic actively seeking knowledge and skill development is the working executive. In this competitive era, it is imperative for the executive to stay on top of developments, technology, information, and skills. With most professionals tied to a desk of confined to an office, the internet is a ready source of information for them.
While most universities are offering online courses for both students and employed people, a major set-back of the current pedagogy is the lack of personalization of information. Everyone has access to the internet and one of the basic demands is a program that is engaging and informative. There have been a lot of innovations recently that have tried to change the way people interact with information. Second Life is such a case.
When launched, second life was touted to change the way people learnt. It created a virtual world where people could interact with the environment around them and gather information. Many learning companies and universities jumped into the bandwagon, but the excitement wore off since you could add and edit environments in Second Life only with their proprietary tools, which could not keep with the times, to say the least.
The future of online education will take off from where Second Life failed – with learners being offered an immersive and personalized learning space to launch their programs from. Learners will have the option of accessing information from a wide variety of devices. A good example is mobile learning. Even though the concept is still in its infancy, the newer generation of handsets offers a wider possibility of accessing information.
This gives learning companies a choice of platforms to launch their learning applications from. With Facetime already offered on the iPhone G4, it has the possibility to take the classroom to virtually any place that has cellular phone reception! Other handheld devices like gaming consoles, PDAs, iPads, Kindles, and the like are other options that are empowering both learners and educators of tomorrow.
The cutting edge methodologies of today – Story based learning, Simulation based learning, Game based learning, etc, will be adapted into immersive, virtual environments where a learner is able to interact with surroundings and experience learning. Virtual classrooms will pave way for virtual environments. A simple example is teaching geography with a tool like Google Earth, where the student is able to experience the surroundings, not just hear about it and see a few pictures.
In short, the future of internet education is experiential learning – a virtual world where learners interact with the information that is relevant to their learning requirements.