Online education offerings are broadening every day. As it stands, there are very few types of degrees, diplomas, and certifications that aren’t available online – in fact, there are now plenty of classes that you can take from Ivy League schools just for fun!
Considering the expansive scope of online education, it’s no wonder that different online schools are competing for the spotlight by getting creative in the courses they offer. When students seem to really like a certain digital learning tool, educators quickly catch on and it takes off. And thus, a trend in online education is born.
Let’s take a look at what’s currently popular among students and educators alike.
In a world riddled with Candy Crush and Trivia Crack, it’d be silly not to use that to one’s advantage. Gamifying course modules is the perfect way to intrigue students and maintain their attention. Online MBA programs are well-known for creating games in which students must run their own businesses, and biology programs are notorious for making games out of remembering anatomy. It’s actually quite smart – it makes the experience exciting, and therefore memorable.
Interactive Field Work
Many degrees, such as those in social work and therapy, require completing an on-site internship in order to complete a degree. This can’t be completed online….or can it? Synchronous instruction, or interactive digital field work, is becoming increasingly popular for online colleges. Just look at what the University of Southern California is doing with its online master’s in social work program – it requires that students spend four hours per week videoconferencing in order to receive instruction and perform mock counseling sessions, rather than actually visiting an office. It offers the same preparation as an on-site internship without the time commitment. It also ensures that students get the opportunity to try out many different fields and practices to see what’s right for them.
Multiple-choice exams and long-form essays are giving way to project-based learning in the online learning landscape. Project-based learning allows students to get creative with the ways that they demonstrate their skills. Their final projects may allow them to engineer a product, analyze a patient, make a film, or use any other number of media to demonstrate that they’re competent in their fields of study. Many students enjoy the change of pace, but also find it challenging, and that’s precisely the goal of the universities that employ these types of assignments. Students continue to use and work on their projects long after they’re finished with the course, and the lessons are more likely to stay with them.