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Mobile content, then, needs to be “bite-sized,” visually stimulating and interactive. Because online, you have maybe five to 10 seconds to grab people’s attention, according to recent research by University of Massachusetts professor Ramesh Sitaraman.

Meanwhile, it’s about time we accept that the future of online learning looks a lot like the University of Phoenix. That’s because they’re not using their devices in classrooms or offices. They’re using them in noisy, public, social spaces, like trains, coffee shops or living rooms (or meetings, if we’re being really honest).

Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, whose educational videos alone have been viewed more than 3 billion times, get all that. But in the age of information overload, good design and more content—even if it is short, beautiful, entertaining and accessible on any device—isn’t the whole answer.

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The amount of time young people are spending on screens is also increasing to a significant amount — about 6 hours a day for tweens and 9 hours a day for teens. Still, there’s no doubt engagement rates have improved significantly in some places and many school districts, including New London and Groton, are reporting improving attendance rates. The Connecticut Mirror studied this data and concluded online class attendance did not demonstrably improve between spring and fall.

Facebook, for one, recognized that most of its users are now coming from smartphones and tablets and that those people are engaging twice as much as desktop or laptop users. That’s why they’re repositioning their entire strategy around mobile. And it’s why K-12 schools and colleges around the world are racing to put tablets in classrooms while some of the world’s biggest technology, education and media companies are racing to supply them.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long because a lot of smart people are already putting a lot of thought, work and money into making them better. The National Science Foundation, for example, is funding a study by MIT researchers to understand exactly why the vast majority of MOOC students don’t make it to the finish line. Carnegie Mellon University, meanwhile, is spending $500,000 to $1 million to create each of 15 new courses based on up-to-date research into how adults learn online. And investments in next generation adaptive learning technologies are surging.

  • Teachers are being relied on to provide emotional and practical support.
  • And, as I mentioned earlier – students need to feel free vpn for mac connected to other students and their teachers – and some synchronous learning is one important way to do that.
  • This is a serious time when need research-based facts and ideas applicable to ALL shared on social media.
  • And they need it too (see today’s CNN business article titled "How to work from home without losing your sanity").
  • Although I am not sure if we can truly feel ready and confident when it happens.

Because if online education is going to be useful for learners, then it’s time for online learning to grow up. Common Sense Media reports that children are accessing devices and the internet at increasingly younger ages, well before coming to school.

But massive open online courses are finally making it respectable. Let’s not forget, though, that they are still experiments. And despite being “massively overhyped” (even in the eyes of their most dyed-in-the-wool supporters), they are not actually having a massive impact on students yet.

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