Forget the Classroom: Turn to the Web for Innovative Learning Techniques

16 Dec

Turning To The Web For Innovative Learning TechniquesToday’s business landscape is rife with technology that has facilitated everything from interpersonal communication and workplace commutes to shopping and information gathering. These trends – and the technologies that have promoted them – have come to define the course of events in recent years.

Now, as a new generation begins to take the reins, many of these technologies – social media, cloud computing, mobile media, eCommerce – will come to rely on education to impart their wisdom to aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs.

One example of this trend is the increasing popularity of online courses and educational software. Consumers and business leaders alike are turning to the web to gather critical knowledge and insight about their industries and fields of expertise.

Web-based educational tools are becoming the norm, and entrepreneurs are beginning to note their enormous potential. Jen Schnidman, creator of web software Drop the Chalk, offers a poignant example.

Drop the Chalk monitors student performance on certain skills and highlights which of those have been mastered and which need some work, Entrepreneur magazine reports. It’s also intuitive and caters to the standards, culture and curriculum of the schools that employ it. Such specialization makes for a unique student data management system for each customer.

Schnidman told the magazine that she developed the idea while working for Teach for America in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She said despite the region’s enthusiasm for a restructured and innovative education system, teachers lacked a comprehensive method for gauging student progress.

Drop the Chalk is just one example of how innovators are equipping today’s technologies to push the boundaries of possibility, especially when it comes to education. The tablet computer is another example of a device that may help the next generation of students learn and gather experience in new, perhaps more efficient ways.

Recently, technology giant Apple moved to stress the role its iPad tablet computer can play in augmenting the educational experience. The company unveiled a new ad pointing to the benefits of the iPad, citing the visual approach to topics including astronomy, anatomy and calligraphy.

Already, a number of universities, high schools and other educational institutions have purchased iPads to help in the learning process, particularly for more personal, one-on-one exchanges.      

Now the tools available for virtual and online training delivery are plenty. Just last year at Sage University we started using Skytap, a cloud automation tool that allows our instructors to setup individual virtual personal computers for each student. On the cloud pcs, each student has training software ready for hands-on practice, and the instructor has the ability to monitor their progress and jump in to help when needed. Virtual classroom training has become a popular favorite amongst a variety of students, as it also allows for varying training schedules. Students say goodbye to sitting in a classroom for three days straight while their work piles up on their desks, and hello to four hour college-style training sessions over several weeks, right from their desks.

The traditional purpose of technology has been to take a problem and make it less troublesome through the utilization of innovative ideas, engineering and mass production. As education continues to be a challenge amid a growing population and ailing economy, technology is seen as a vessel to strengthen the system. More importantly, technology will, in certain ways, shed light on possibilities for new ones, creating an interactive network for innovators, entrepreneurs and educators alike.

What innovative learning techniques are being used at your organization?

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