The Augmented Future Of eLearning: Augmented Reality In eLearning

By Nicholas Filler

The way in which we use technology to enhance our daily lives seems bound to a two dimensional screen. eLearners are always up to date in terms of the way in which we consume information; but what if you were able to display digital artifacts on the world around us? What if the “one size fits all” digital learning courses could be tailored to an individual?

Augmented Reality in eLearning

In this article, you are going to witness the first iteration of a new type of head mounted display that is going to change the way we see the world. It will fundamentally change the way in which we learn about new subjects, and how we apply that knowledge in our everyday lives. The Microsoft HoloLens is the first product of its kind to change the environment around you. This technology is about to radically change the way in which you learn, and will hopefully revolutionize your perspective in regards to how you examine the world.

What is Augmented Reality?

You might be thinking; what is augmented reality? According to Wikipedia, augmented reality is defined asa live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” So imagine yourself walking down a normal street, looking at buildings or store fronts. These glasses would allow you to see the exact same street, but now it has a more European visual aesthetic. When you took the glasses off, it was just the same street as before, and this in a nutshell is what augmented reality is.

Applications of Augmented Reality in eLearning

Microsoft is the first software company to create and realize a fully augmented consumer device to do just that. But how can this change the face of eLearning? This is where things get very interesting, and the possibilities are quite fascinating.

Imagine that you just bought a new home and you still need to install some fixtures to get the lights working. The only problem is that you have never installed a light switch before, and you would like to do it yourself. This is where eLearning could drastically change the way in which we inherent knowledge, especially online. If you were wearing an augmented reality headset you could get detailed visual instructions regarding the light switch as well as a holographic interface that displays the correct wires and functions. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you were an online teacher and your focus was astronomy, you could give your students a virtual tour of Mars without anyone leaving their homes. Your students would be able to put on some augmented reality glasses and be transported to the surface of Mars. This concept would be great for research as well. The more people you have looking at a specific problem in regards to space exploration, the more possible solutions become available. Microsoft has also partnered with NASA to allow the Curiosity rover to visit areas designated by users with the HoloLens for further inspection.

In regards to digital or virtual learning scenarios, is the concept of the virtual classroom. According to an article by Sharon Stoerger a professor at Rutgers UniversityThese virtual world experiences also extend the boundaries of the traditional classroom where collective intelligence, as opposed to individual experience, becomes an important approach.

Ideally this would allow for a variety of interesting possibilities for students especially in regards to their learning environments. Ideally a student could be sitting at their desk learning about French, and these glasses could project a French classroom setting around them. This would immerse the student not only in the language but in the culture, or to go a step further, these augmented glasses could project a real-time French classroom that they would be able to interact with just like the one they were currently in. With the world around you being digital reimagined almost anything is possible with augmented reality, but one aspect that is truly fascinating is in regards to the medical field.

An interesting area to explore in regards to this technology is the human anatomy. If you were in an accident or any life threatening type scenario this technology has the potential to save your life and those around you. The ability to get real-time live feedback regarding a serious medical situation is quite profound and much better than any viable solution at the moment. You could then see which body part was affected or visualize ways in which to treat or assess the situation.

Another intriguing scenario is if a patient walked into the doctor’s office, and the general physician was wearing this device, he or she might be able to see how many miles you ran, or what you have been eating, just from looking at you. With the rise of electronic health records this idea could easily become a reality.  This technology would greatly benefit the medical field and the learning associated with gathering large amounts of data. Giving doctors the ability to see and evaluate real time data derived from EHR’s would greatly benefit the patient as well as making treatment that much easier. Ideally this could be the starting point for new groundbreaking ideas, especially when it comes to learning how we interact with modern medicine and the data associated with it.

Augmented reality is just taking its first steps into the consumer world, and the possibilities associated with this technology are fascinating. Whether it will be a huge commercial success has yet to be seen, but its potential is unavoidable. Microsoft is taking a big gamble, and if all the pieces fall into the right places, then they will truly change the digital landscape. They are reshaping how we see and interact with the world around us. As eLearners we understand the concept of learning online and off, but now there are viable solutions that combine both worlds. Hopefully this will fundamentally change our understanding of eLearning. Only the future will tell how these types of devices will pan out.

Top 10 Things Teachers Want From Their Digital Classrooms

By Sylvia Guinan

Yes…The digital classroom. Yes, it is here, even if you can’t see it. It’s in the minds of your students, even if you make them switch off their mobile phones. It’s a nagging presence in the back of your mind, even if you still insist on using a cassette player from the 1980s in your classroom. The world is changing even if you are in denial.

What is a digital classroom?

Perhaps it would be wise to brainstorm not only what a digital classroom really is but what we want it to be.

“May you live in interesting times.” 

As educationalists, we do live in very interesting times and that can be either a curse or a blessing depending on how you feel about the role of technology in education and the degree to which you are willing to engage with it. Personally, I feel that it’s a blessing and that we are very lucky to be living in times that offer us the opportunity to radically change and improve the way we educate our students.

Nik Peachey

Here’s a brief visualization of what a digital classroom could be based on my own readings, searches, and thoughts.
digital classrom
Assuming that this mindmaps represents an ideal digital classroom set-up with technology, psychology and social learning dynamics in place, let’s proceed with the list of top ten things teachers want from digital classrooms. My list is based on the results of a questionnaire created by Educational technology expert, Nik Peachey. Using a collaborative brain-storming tool called tricider, Nik asks us to contribute ideas on what we’d like to see in an ebookabout exploiting online video in the digital classroom? The ideas are then voted upon and we can clearly see which ideas are the most popular.  Although his first book is about exploiting video, he’s planning a whole series of books about the full range of things we need to know regarding the digital classroom.

“The ideas here are worthy of a series, not just a single book ;-)”

Ali bournoussa

  1. Teachers want to know how to manage diverse types of digital environment. They are particularly interested in online and blended learning paradigms such as flipped learning.
  2. They feel that video tutorials are a must for demonstrating new technology.
  3. They would like reviews of different types of apps for creating videos, including  suggestions about how to use the app for learning purposes.
  4. They want to let student create their own video content for authentic purposes and to feel pride in their work.
  5. They want tips on how to exploit the visual aspects of video.
  6. Ideas and advice for using video in digital narrative.
  7. Advice on how to choose an appropriate clip.
  8. Suggestions for action plans and tasks teachers can do to start incorporation video technology into their teaching.
  9. Ideas about how to exploit the visual aspect of the video rather than just for listening comp.
  10. A tool box of useful applications for doing things like video editing, clipping, download, etc.

If you wish to add your ideas about what you’d like to see in a book about video in your digital classroom you can add your voice hereIf you want to contribute towards this project you can learn more about it here. The funding campaign is a win-win model for crowd-sourcing and grass-roots collaboration. Nik has collected eighty percent of the 5,000GBP funding that he needs to write the book that will map out our changing English language teaching landscapes and give us the power to create our own personalized Edtech ticket to everywhere.Don’t forget to read my recentinterview with Nik Peachey on WiziQ. Here’s a recording andvideo pdf. of a recent webinar and here’s thepowerpoint.Personally speaking I have decided to add an extra contribution of my own. I’ve decided to run ten free online workshops  to guide you through implementing new skills and ideas from the book into your classes» This would include asynchronous mentoring, brainstorming and community based support.Although everything we need to learn will be in the book and video demonstrations, I thought it would be a great social learning experiment to share this journey into the digital classroom together. I have moderated quite a few open online courses and MOOCs so I can guarantee a supportive and inspiring experience.One example of something right down my street would be this amazing tool shared by Nik Peachey on his blog called ‘storytime’. It’s a tool that combines video conferencing with reading stories out loud and it’s perfect for tutoring young learners online.Something else for us to consider is that with new knowledge on video tools for mobile technology we have to power to interact with the best educational videos online and turn them into our own creative toys. For example, Jason R. Levine’s Collo tunes. They can be turned into speaking practice videos through the clever us of apps. That allows us to interact directly with the music content and then build upon it in communicative ways.One example is you could use eye report and let students add commentary to the collo videos. That could actually turn into collaborate rhyming and rapping as each students to add their own words to the songs. Or it could become a grammar chain story as each students would add a grammatically phrased sentence that matches the teaching point from the Fluency MC rap. Jason R. Levine has offered to hold a web 3.0 webinar on how to implement ideas from Nik Peachey’s video book and use them for enhancing interactivity with his Collo Tunes.Exciting times ahead with Web 3.0 and digital classrooms – let’s all share the experience

How To Engage Passive Learners In eLearning

By Christopher Pappas

In this article, I’ll share some tips on how you can create eLearning deliverables that turn even the most passive learners into engaged, excited, and motivated ones who achieve profound change thanks to your eLearning course. Read the following tips to engage passive learners in eLearning converting your eLearning course into a memorable experience.

When it comes right down to it, there are two distinct types of learners. On the one hand, there are those learners who seize every opportunity to soak up knowledge and use this knowledge to improve their lives in some way. They actively attend every eLearning event, online presentation and assessment, because they are well aware of the fact that, by this way, they can expand their professional or personal skills.

On the other hand, there are passive learners. Although these individuals acquire the information, they don’t eager to apply it in the world outside the virtual classroom. They might pass every assessment with flying colors and complete every eLearning activity, but they aren’t planning on changing behaviors or using their newly found knowledge to improve any aspect of their lives.

So, is it possible to design eLearning deliverables that engage passive learners in eLearning and help them to achieve all of the benefits that the eLearning experience can offer? Of course it is. Here are some tips to follow.

  1. Encourage online peer collaboration.
    As human beings, we enjoy sharing our personal experienceswith others and learning from the insights and expertise of our peers. By sharing our skills and knowledge, we gain self-confidence and feel as though we are useful and productive members of the group. Likewise, learning from our peers offers us the chance to expand our comprehension in a fun,interactive and social way. One of the most effective ways to engage your passive learners in eLearning is to encourage them to reach out to their peers and participate in online collaboration activities. For example, you may ask them to create a video presentation based on the subject matter or even encourage them to contact peers on LinkedIn or othersocial media sites to ask questions about a specific topic.
  2. Find out what motivates them.
    Each learner has a source of motivation, even passive ones. As eLearning professionals, it’s our job to find out what that motivation is and use it to our advantage when creating memorable and engaging eLearning experiences. Research your audience to find out what they expect to receive from the eLearning course and why they have chosen to participate. Learn as much as possible about their goals and objectives and what opportunities they hope to get from completing the eLearning course. In other words, by finding out what they really like, you can tap into their inspiration and get them excited about the learning process.
  3. Give them control over their personal eLearning experience.
    Learners want control over their personal eLearning experience. They want to be able to learn at their own pace and absorb the information on their own terms, without having to keep up with their peers or being guided through the entire process. Let them choose from a menu of topics or ask them to select what module they will complete next. Give them access to supplementary eLearning materials, such as videos and articles, they can use to expand their understanding when it’s most convenient for them. Knowing that eLearning is “mandatory” will disengage them and convert them to passive learners in eLearning, so give them some sense of control in order to generate that all-important interest and excitement.
  4. Make it visually compelling!
    This is a general rule for all learners, particularly important when passive learners are concerned. Most people don’t want to sit through lengthy modules or read through an abundance of text. All of these things will simply bore or frustrate them rather than motivate them to actively participate. As such, you will want to include plenty of visually compelling images and graphics that catch their eye and grab their attention. For example, if you are trying to give them a step-by-step walkthrough of how to troubleshoot a work-related problem, why not skip the text, and design a detailed slideshow that outlines the process. This also helps to avoid cognitive overload and makes potentially complicated ideas easier to understand and memorize.
  5. Use stories and scenarios to make it personal.
    One of the primary reasons why passive learners in eLearning are passive is that they cannot connect with the subject matter on a personal level. They are not able to see how it will help them in the real world or how the subject matter can be applied outside of the virtual learning environment. Therefore, creating a connection is the key. You have to tie the content into their own interests or address challenges that they face in their everyday lives. Stories and scenarios are effective ways to accomplish this, as they make the eLearning course emotionally-driven, relevant, and interactive. Passive learners are given the power to see how the eLearning contentis going to apply in real world situations and improve their lives.
  6. Develop an eLearning culture.
    Learners need to feel as if they are part of an eLearning culture where knowledge expansion and skill set development are encouraged. Rather than just going through the learning activities and completing the eLearning course and still not truly getting anything from it, passive learners in eLearning must be made aware of the fact that applying knowledge is just as important as acquiring it. This can be accomplished by putting a reward system in place that praises and acknowledges those who are using the newly acquired knowledge, even if it is something as simple as having a leaderboard or other type of points system for those who are performing well.

Use these eLearning tips to get every passive learner of your audience fully engaged and immersed in your eLearning course in order to offer each one of them knowledge they can apply in the real world through an unforgettable eLearning experience.

Want to learn more about how to engage and inspire adult learners in the eLearning process? Read the article 11 Tips To Engage And Inspire Adult Learners to get more ideas about how to do so, as well as about how to overcome obstacles you may face with adult audiences.