Educational technology covers a diverse field that includes components such as instructional design, technology leadership, media, and curriculum design. Professionals work in academic fields such as K-12 education, instructional design, and program assessment. They are responsible for integrating technology into learning environments, using that technology to enrich the traditional curriculum and the overall learning experience. With the K-12 grades becoming more grounded in technology, online delivery of instruction, video applications in the classroom, and e-learning platforms (such as Blackboard) are increasing as learning formats.
For the prospective educator, completing an undergraduate program of study is the first step in earning K-12 technology education teaching certification. Online bachelor’s degrees in this area are traditionally Bachelor of Science in Education degrees with concentrations such as educational technology or instructional technology and design.
Note that prospective educators completing an online degree at a university that does not reside in their state should confirm with their state board of education. You need to ensure that your degree meets the requirements for securing a teaching license for your state of residence.
Curriculum in General
The typical four-year Bachelor’s degree (120 to 136 credit hours) in educational technology offers a comprehensive curriculum divided between general education coursework, major requirements, and electives. The emphasis of this curriculum covers both theoretical and practical knowledge. The classes introduce students to subjects such as classroom technologies, interactive media, educational psychology, and transformational learning. The theoretical knowledge and technical or practical skills allow students to implement instruction through a course management system.
To use multimedia effectively in the classroom, you will need to study the integration of different types of media. As well as how each enhances the learning experience. Coursework should also cover the methods for measuring the effect of the technology on the students’ learning capabilities.
Bachelor of Science in Technology and Training
The above degree information refers to K-12 education. The following addresses adult education. Some of the courses you may find in programs aimed at adult learners are:
Management of eLearning Systems: This course prepares students to analyze the requirements, customizations, and integrations for organizations requiring training for compliance, skill-building, and knowledge-building.
Creativity and Technical Design: Learn about design theory and principles as applied to the research and development functions of the education industry. This includes product development via team organization, brainstorming, data analysis, oral presentations, and creative problem-solving.
Principles of Adult Learning: Explores the world of the adult learner from historical, social, political and pragmatic perspectives. Issues of life stages, culture, teaching theory, and andragogical (adult learning) practice are considered as they relate to the practice of adult learning.
Instructional Applications: This course is an introduction to instructional applications of computer technology using integrated software. This may include coursework dealing with the techniques of using integrated software to manage computer instruction and to manage student records and achievements.
eLearning Course Design: Material focuses on online learning design, evaluation, and networked learning communities. You may also analyze print, audio, and video for designing hybrid-learning environments.
Learning Management System
The term “Learning Management System” (LMS) makes an appearance quite frequently in eLearning articles, tip sheets, and beginner’s guides. As part of your undergraduate education, it’s important to get a good grasp on what a Learning Management System entails and the benefits it brings. The most common use for LMS software is to deploy and track online training initiatives. Typically, assets are uploaded to the Learning Management System, which makes them easily accessible for remote learners.
In the U.S. higher education market as of fall 2016, the top three LMS’s by the number of installations were Blackboard (33%), Moodle (19%), and Canvas (17%). The same three systems lead in terms of the number of students enrolled, but in a different order: Blackboard (45%), Canvas (24%), and Moodle (17%).
There are various types of LMS. A short list includes cloud-based, self-hosted, mobile application, and desktop application. The clients of these range from large corporations to freelancers. The modern LMS supports social and collaborative learning that allows learners to collaborate with peers and instructors and enriches the learning experience.
There are Open Source Learning Management Systems that are usually free and based online. In addition, many open source options have active online communities, which mean that you will have tips and troubleshooting assistance if you do encounter a problem.
The Future of eLearning
The Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, conducted by the new Digital Learning Compass organization, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million. Public institutions command the largest portion of distance education students, with 67.8 percent of all distance students.
The trend extends beyond higher education. Corporations use instructor-led training (ILT) is still a preferred method of delivering training to employees, video-based ILT (VILT) is on the rise.
eLearning efforts transformed into a game is an approach to instruction that is gaining traction throughout the learning technology sphere. In 2016, the game-based learning market reached $2.6 billion, while projected growth figures estimate that it will reach $7.3 billion by 2021.
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