Online learning history & the role of technology

Online learning history & the role of technology

Online learning has seen a major surge in popularity over the last few years. With increasing numbers of students finding success using methods like this, it’s easy to see that online learning has a lot of potential. Of course, though, this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the modern technology that drives this type of study. To give you an idea of how technology has touched this field, this article will be exploring its role in delivering online learning in the modern world.

The Early Days Of Distance Learning

Before online learning, people who wanted to study without having to go to university would use distance learning courses. This would usually involve relying on your local postal service to deliver coursework and learning materials to your door, with exams being sat in facilities around the world. 

While this method of learning is similar to doing it online, distance learning simply doesn’t tick the same boxes as online learning. It can make life quite hard for students, whereas online learning will usually only make it easier.

The Rise Of Broadband Internet

It’s easy to forget that dial-up internet connections were still very common a decade ago. Old internet connections simply weren’t fast enough to deliver all of the materials required for online study, making this type of learning impossible. This has rapidly changed in recent times, with the internet connections people have at home being far faster than they used to be. This makes it possible for websites to host video and audio streams while also offering downloadable resources.

Computing Power In Your Pocket

Much like older internet connections, computers of the past were also very slow. This would make online learning frustrating for many people, with their machine not being powerful enough to make their learning easy. Computing power has seen a dramatic shift in recent years, with just about everyone having access to a smartphone. While it wouldn’t be ideal, most modern smartphones are fast enough to handle online learning, and computers are even better.

A Changing Internet

Despite seeing the internet get a lot more attractive over the last few years, most people are completely unaware of HTML5. HTML is a markup language that is used by most websites to structure and display their content. HTML5 is the fifth major update to this language, and this update came with countless improvements that can help with online learning.

Video is a major part of this, with website developers of the past having to program their website’s videos. With HTML5, though, video can be supported natively by most web browsers, and this is ideal for online learning companies. Being able to present information in an attractive and interactive manner is crucial to the success of online learning.

User Management (Digital Classrooms)

Online learning companies work hard to make sure that all of their students have access to the materials they need to succeed. Online portals have long been a big part of this, but it is only in recent years that this sort of tool has gotten good enough for most learners. These portals allow students to download coursework, take exams and tests, and even talk to their fellow students about the work they’re doing. This adds a level of socialisation to online learning that most people think is completely absent. 

Online Testing & Assessments

While online testing has been popular for a long time, this sort of option was generally regarded as being bad in the past. This is because security issues and small exploits made it possible for students to cheat on their work, and this is something that any education establishment will be eager to avoid.

Modern technology has changed this, giving companies the ability to create online learning platforms that can host exams without giving their users room to cheat. This has gotten to the point that top universities will happily recognise the qualifications their students get online. In the past, it was very hard for students to get educational establishments to trust a certificate they received online.

As you can see, the world has never been better equipped for online learning. As time goes by, this sort of option is online going to become more accessible, and more people will be able to study online. Of course, online students will often face additional challenges when they are learning online, but this is something you can work on as you get started.

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