E-Learning – Classroom of the Future

E-learning will become increasingly relevant in coming years as a tool for training and educating employees. This is the finding of a survey carried out by the Fraunhofer IAO in cooperation with digital association BITKOM. In our time of Internet, apps and virtual worlds, new learning opportunities are emerging.

In the near future, e-learning will happen not only happen by using an iPad but also by applying virtual reality techniques. Photo: Andreas Techel

In the near future, e-learning will not only happen by using an iPad but also by applying Virtual Reality technologies. Photo: Andreas Techel

Augmented Reality in the workplace with step-by-step guides – it may sound like a vision of the future, but it is already part of daily life in several industries. Philips, for example, offers medical operation solutions with Augmented Reality for surgical navigation. Predominantly medical students benefit from this, as a live image of the body is created using optical sensors, and the AR headset indicates where an incision is to be made. Assisted Reality is also gaining traction in the logistics sector, providing employees with step-by-step work instructions, for example in picking orders.

Augmented Reality on the rise

Augmented Reality makes it possible to overlay computer-generated elements onto real-world objects. There are useful applications for this on the factory floor: Using a tablet or semi-transparent data headsets, employees can overlay explanatory texts for the various machines. “Digital learning is now less about sitting in a silent cubicle, and more about being in real-world working situations,” explains Christian Wachter in an interview with Computerwoche. The CEO of IMC, a provider of learning and talent management systems, argues that learning will no longer be a stockpiling of knowledge. Instead, training will be on-demand, when the knowledge is required.

Practical and individual e-learning concepts

Katrin Haupt is also convinced by the “on demand” concept: “In microlearning, content is broken down into its smallest constituent units. In doing this, employees acquire knowledge ‘just in time,’ as and when they need to apply it.” As the Head of Product and Personnel Development at DEKRA Akademie, she works on research projects concerning occupational education and training. In the “HealthCareEurope” (HCEU) project, education modules are being developed for medical personnel and caregivers, in order to allow these professionals to increase their flexibility. The private qualification business also provides training concepts for professional drivers. “Automated driving will comprehensively change the occupational profile of the professional driver,” forecasts Claudia Ball, Project Manager at DEKRA Akademie. “We create a profile of the core competencies that will be indispensable in the future, and develop corresponding learning solutions.”

Positive learning effects

Professor Dr. Bardo Herzig’s report for the Bertelsmann Foundation substantiates the claim that digital teaching materials have a positive effect on learning. The Director of the Education Research and Teacher Education Center at the University of Paderborn cites several studies that have compared the usage of digital media and conventional teaching materials. The findings: Digital media usage has positive effects on the motivation, cooperation skills and cognitive abilities of participants. In addition, combined text and image content is easier to recall than text content alone.

What will the future bring?

The usage of artificial intelligence will also play an increasing role in the development of digital teaching concepts. Artificial intelligence technologies can lower development costs, be used in the implementation of high-resolution virtual worlds, and adapt educational content to individual persons. In addition to Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality technologies will also play a growing role. The virtual learning environments can not only aid in improving employee and patient safety, but also shape the learning process more effectively. This is one advantage that many industries will capitalize on in the future.


Interview: Three questions for…
Katrin Haupt, Head of Product and Personnel Development, DEKRA Akademie

Digital learning is one of the most important trends in the education sector. What are the reasons behind this development?
Smartphones, tablets and a vast variety of software applications aid us in organizing our day-to-day working lives more effectively. This trend towards digitalization is also gaining more and more influence in occupational training. Both our media consumption behavior and the demands of the modern workplace have changed dramatically. Fast, flexible and situation-based learning is required. Digitalization also allows us to adapt content and methods more effectively to the needs of the individual. Language barriers, learning speed and behavior can be catered for with increased ease, as the frequency of repetitions and training exercises can be individualized and subtitles can be activated.

What part is DEKRA Akademie playing with regard to the transformation of the educational landscape?
We transfer teaching concepts and content to digitalized learning scenarios. In doing so, we intend to break the knowledge down into the smallest, activity-orientated teaching units. This means that the learner builds on improving their abilities situationally. Furthermore, learning progress is documented and certified, so that it may lead to a recognized qualification.

Do your offerings primarily concentrate on young people that have grown up in the digital world as “digital natives?”
The big task for society is to make digitalization appeal to both younger and older audiences, to address their fears, and to make life-long learning a possibility for everybody through tailored learning scenarios – whether digital or analog.

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