The e-learning industry has been booming for the last 15 years and it continues to grow in popularity and with technological advances. I have been teaching in the online classroom for the last 15 years and have been able to see the very beginning of e-learning as well as the most current e-learning technologies. Virtual classroom technology is the new paradigm shift in education. With this, myself and many of my colleagues have been researching how to create a more interactive learning environment that integrates in the different learning styles of visual, audio, even tactile learning. We decided we needed to fish were the fish were and start integrating in social media into the e-learning environment.
One example of this is secret Facebook groups to encourage students to create a substantial discussion on the subject being taught. This group can be created and only the students can see this and respond to it. They can easily log on via their phone, iPad, notepad, or other devices and by doing this they take the classroom with them.
I have also integrated Twitter in the classroom. I create specific Twitter accounts putting the students on these accounts and then tweet announcements, which pop up on the students’ phones instantly. I have personally tested these two methods in my online classrooms and found them to be very successful. As a DigitalChalk user, I find that integrating other modalities of social media, is helpful to the students and creates a more full e-learning experience for the student as well. I have also received very positive feedback from the students on this integration of social media.
LinkedIn is another modality that can be utilized. This platform can encourage the students to put on a professional profile, network in their area, and join discussions on various professional topics. In particular, one can create a private discussion for the students to join for additional engagement and interaction. I encourage students to network professionally as this is important to understand how to network online in the e-learning environment.
As I continue to test out social media with my e-learning environment I hope to integrate in Google+, Pinterest, and several others as well. I have found that as technology and social media continue to be one of the most popular methods in communicating; it would only make sense to integrate in these popular communication methods into the e-learning environment.
Emerging technology is offering a shift in what we can do in e-learning. Brick and mortar classes are no longer the popular norm. While this traditional classroom is not being replaced, adult learners are moving toward e-learning to accommodate their lifestyles and schedules. In order to stay competitive with other e-learning training and educational groups, you need to integrate in emerging technologies to enhance the student’s experience.
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Written by: Dr. Julie Ducharme
For the last 15 years Dr. Ducharme has been working with corporations, colleges and universities in San Diego and outside of San Diego as well teaching, directing and consulting on curriculum, running colleges, and instructing as well. Dr. Ducharme holds a BA in communication, MBA with a specialization in marketing, and a DBA with a specialization in Leadership. Dr. Ducharme is a public speaker and has spoken with and at many universities across the U.S. and corporations on leadership, business, and marketing. She currently is the owner/creator/CEO of JD Consulting LLC, the owner/creator/CEO of Julie’s Party People, and the creator/president of Synergy Learning Institute.