4 Tips for Keeping Students Engaged in Online Learning

Your class has moved online and now that you’re comfortable with technology, let’s discuss new ways to keep the course engaging for you and your students.

Here are four EASY and essential tips for making your online assignments engaging:

  1. Virtual Office Hours (Mental Health Check-ins): Since learning has shifted online rapidly, it is important to consider the mental health of you and your students. One way to stay connected and check-in is by offering virtual office hours where students can drop-in and ask questions, or just chat about what’s going on in their lives. The more supportive we all are in this challenging time, the better the outcome will be in the long-run. Use Zoom, or another web conference platform to check-in weekly with your students. Check out this blog post from Oregon State University’s ecampus about Humanizing Online Teaching for some valuable insights on adding the human experience to online.

2. Build Your Online Presence: Although this is not the beginning of the semester it is the start of a brand new learning adventure for you and your student. Take this time to continue to emphasize peer to peer connections among your students. Here are some creative discussion topic ideas:

  • One word: asking students to post one word that describes them and their life, and then write a paragraph explaining why they chose that word.
  • Keeping busy: Ask your students to write a brief schedule of how they are spending their time at home. Ask them to share reading recommendations, online workouts, family friendly crafts and activities, and any other tips for staying positive during this time.
  • Two truths and a lie: have students post three fun facts about themselves – two true and one false, and have classmates guess which statements are which.

3. Think Differently About Assessments: Flexibility is key when teaching in an online setting, and sometimes traditional assessments are not necessarily the best ways to engage students. Think about other creative ways to assess your students’ performance including through the use of multimedia tools (e.g., VoiceThread), group research projects, and recording audio submissions instead of text-based assignments. These types of activities allow students to get creative and also promote critical thinking skills, so it’s a win-win for all involved.

4. Try-out a New Tech Tool– Now is a great time for self-discovery and being open to using new tools. Google digital education tools, ask your colleagues, or reach out to your Instructional Design team for support. There are a variety of quick and easy educational technology tools you can use in the online space that are engaging and fun to use! Check out previous blog post on 7 Tips for Going Online During the Covid-19 Pandemic highlighting some of these great tools.

Have fun, stay safe, be well! 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Why You Should Use Videos in Your E-learning Courses

The following is a guest post by Victor Blasco, an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

If you are looking for ways to improve your e-learning courses, then you’ve surely thought about using videos.

As we move onward towards a more interconnected world, video content is a key piece in figuring out the digital landscape. Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple, really. Videos are more engaging than plain text and more dynamic than still images.

People studying online are looking to get the most information in the shortest amount of time, and there’s no better tool to accomplish that than educational video content. However, ask any skilled video production company about it, and they’ll tell you that outside some specialized platforms, it is rarely being used to its fullest potential.

In this piece, we are going to talk a bit about five major reasons why you want to start introducing effective video pieces into your e-learning courses (and how to make the most out of them.)

Let’s get started!

Storytelling as An Education Device

Ever since the first cave paintings, humans have been drawn to stories. There’s just something about witnessing a character go through a situation that speaks to us on a deeper level. But when it comes to using video to overcome online learning challenges, not just any old tale will do!

There are rules and limitations to these pieces, and you need to learn to work within their framework to have them work. While not comprehensive, these tips should set you on the right path when creating videos for your e-learning courses.

1) Likable Character

Let’s start by stating that “likable” isn’t the same as ordinary. Your students need more than ordinary to focus long enough to get the message you are trying to convey across. No, when I say likable, I mean easy to get along with, to form a strong connection to them, regardless of how short the piece actually is.

Generating empathy for a piece’s character helps viewers put themselves in the character’s shoes and better understand the examples and ideas being shown. So, try to avoid generic templates for your video’s protagonists and start with the right foot by establishing them strongly in the first act.

2) An Interesting Plot Point

Here’s is where your story gets exciting! Once you’ve introduced your character, it’s time for the story (and message) to evolve. Now, you don’t have to be dramatic, but please be interesting!

All it takes is a compelling problem, a memento of crisis, or a simple dilemma whose implications affect your character. Since your audience will already feel related to your character, they cannot remain indifferent to this problem. They’ll have an easier time getting invested.

Do it right, and those interesting plot points will spur curiosity and boost engagement in your video.

3) Finish strong with the Takeaway

Remember all those children’s stories that ended with a clear-cut moral lesson? It was an effective formula for thousands of years for a good reason!

The ending of your piece should sum up what your character, and thus your audience, learned from the story. It’s the third act of your video, in which you explain the goal of your video and lay down your lesson.

More Information in Less Time

Videos condense and convey information more efficiently than other media, leading to faster learning. Just look at the explainer video formula, for instance. They are the best examples of short pieces that provide a simple answer to a complex problem. And they work perfectly whether you’re trying to explain a complex concept or going over the steps of a process.

Longer videos tend to lose the attention span of your audience sooner or later, which is why you want to keep your videos as short as possible — condensing your most important messages within the first few minutes.

And whenever you’re going way over the 4-minute mark, remember to end with a summary of the main points you want the audience to walk away with.

Are you dealing with a very long course? Don’t panic! You can always separate it in short-format videos. This way, you can also improve the planning of your course by setting short-term goals.

Oh, and on the topic of attention…

Video Increases Message Retention

Video has many advantages over any of the traditional types of content, but this is one of the most powerful.

Videos give you the creative freedom to use a whole range of visual aids like simple animations, sound queues, charts… it’s your call! Creative use of visual aids will have your piece feel more engaging and fresher.

That said, this is also where it gets tricky. Keep your content well-structured and never lose focus on the objectives of the course. Use as many resources as you want, but be careful not to overdo it! Aids should always help your audience in their learning without becoming a distraction!

Your best pal to make sure you hit the sweet spot? Editing. We can’t stress enough how essential editing is for making your video look professional. A dynamic and clean editing style will make your video cohesive and adds to the learning experience, not detract from it.

Empathy and Emotional Resonance

“Feelings” is not a topic we usually consider when it comes to teaching, but you should never underestimate the role emotions play in our learning. Making an emotional connection with your audience is key, especially if you want your message to stick with them long after the content is over.

After all, it’s most likely that you’ll remember the teachers that made you feel something, as opposed to those that merely droned on.

Your educational videos will be more effective at engaging your audience if you get emotions into the mix. You can use imagery that causes a strong sense of familiarity in your viewers. Or you can highlight how your lessons can have a direct impact on your viewers’ everyday life.

Either way, you must remember that your audience will always react to content that makes them feel something. People remember feelings stronger than facts – Combine both, and you’ll have a powerful mix in your hands.

Accessibility and Availability are Key

In this day and age, you can stream high-quality videos on any computer, tablet, or smartphone from almost anywhere. This means that while using video, your audience will have access to your lessons from practically everywhere and at all times. Can you think of a more convenient and flexible way of teaching?

Accessibility will motivate your students to incorporate your courses into their daily routine. People even use the term “m-learning” (or mobile learning) when talking about learning using personal electronic devices. Being able to learn through a mobile device seems like a fantastic and utopian idea… and it’s real!

This also sets a couple of technical requirements for your video. First of all, it might be a good idea to include subtitles, since you never know the audio quality of the device used by your audience. Also, optimizing the technical aspects of your piece (resolution, file size) is also a great idea, as it makes it easier for your audience to download or stream.

In Short

If you’re looking for a way to boost engagement in your e-learning courses, then video is the answer. Audiences are drawn to well-structured audiovisual experiences, with professional editing and an effective way of communicating.

We all know that a bad or boring lesson can bring our hopes down and make us abandon that passion for learning about something altogether.

Video can give you an excellent medium to prevent that from ever happening!

Author’s Bio: Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Do Learning Management Systems Actually Improve K-12 Outcomes?

The following is a guest post by Ehsan Memari, a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Today, organizations and academic institutes require robust and strategic learning management systems (LMS) that can automate manual processes of traditional tools. Effective learning management systems can empower departments and enable business growth, as well as further educational initiatives.

Over the years, LMS has become a vital tool to achieve enterprise learning objectives. It is no wonder the LMS market will be worth $22.4 billion by 2023. Learning management systems, for instance, can be used in several formats. You can use it as a formal, experimental, or social managerial compliance training program.

Moreover, the role of eLearning to generate revenue for enterprises continues to evolve. LMS personalizes feedback to promote a self-regulating learning process. In fact, LMS has been proven to increase the effectiveness of students’ and employees’ learning outcomes.

The Evolving Role of the Learning Management System

A revolutionary change in the LMS is the contextualization of the learning process for teachers and employers. The right LMS can enable increased interaction between instructors and learners. Consequently, a collaborative virtual learning experience improves outcomes for online learners.

Adoption of LMS by K-12 Schools

It is true – the skepticism towards LMS no longer exists. And why would it? The majority of institutions have successfully implemented the systems in higher education to improve student’s learning process. Similarly, LMS is now widely used by K-12 schools. It does, however, present an opportunity for researchers to learn the standardized testing process at such a scale.

What’s interesting is that the adoption of an LMS solution goes beyond higher standardized test scores. However, this effectiveness is interconnected with the cost and nature of the system itself. For example, an education system should have a proprietary system configuration, while an open-source solution is preferable for an organization.

Accurate Analytical Data

The success of an LMS solution is no longer determined or promoted because of favorable testimonials on a company’s website. Instead, analytical data presented in a study by Royce Kimmons shows that the open-mindedness of schools and organizations have led to result-oriented computer programs. As a result, LMS adoption has been found to have a strong link with school’s test scores.

Kimmons essentially wrote a computer program to determine if a K-12 school adopted a specific LMS. This program scanned every page of the school’s website for several keywords associated with the LMS. He involved many human researchers to test the accuracy of his program, who searched a limited number of school websites. 

Unlike the human researchers, the computer program was able to identify about twice as many systems. However, after additional investigation, the human researchers successfully confirmed about 97% of the info provided by Kimmon’s program.

Overall, Kimmon discovered that the adoption of a LMS had a slight, but statistically significant, positive effect on test scores.

Responsiveness of the Solution

It is imperative to understand that the positive effects vary from system to system. Nonetheless, the statistical data shouldn’t be the sole decision-making parameter for institutions to understand the constructive cause-and-effective relationship of LMSs.

Tracking and Reporting

Primarily, LMS has been deemed more efficient when it comes to tracking and reporting features. An integrated LMS solution can determine criteria and designated time to complete the task for improving the training efforts. You can apply the same LMS reporting rules when students or employees want to revisit specific topics to gain more information.

Change of Perception

Sure, people and official authorities may cling to preconceived beliefs. But the fact remains that modern online LMS solution increases your chances of improvement and achievement. Therefore, the implementation of new technology into a school or organization wouldn’t hurt the management or the regulated policies.

Ultimately, it comes down to schools’ willingness to move forward in one direction with an open-source LMS solution to garner better results. The outcome of the LMS can have a different impact because of the graduation rates and instructional methods.

What Lies in the Future?

As of now, xAPI has become a norm for the eLearning process among academic institutes. From data personalization to tracking progress, organizations have come to realize the true usefulness of learning management systems.

It is only fair that more development should be enforced to confirm more findings. Why? To create strong LMS features within the same technological infrastructure. As more institutions will be moving to an online management solution, it is important to find out exactly which strategic methods are most effective for the management.

Whether it’s the flow of information, data security, or maintenance of the network; learning management systems can undoubtedly deliver. Similarly, the cost-benefit ratio and scalability options have worked in favor of improving the outcome. Your choice of online training software, however, should be based on whether or not it covers your business’ needs in a limited time period.

The dilemma of choosing between an open-source or cloud-based LMS solution will also shrink. Though open-source is preferable by programmers and has a long history, the focus of attention should be the added features for your business.

Conclusion

Effective eLearning solutions are ideal for organizations that tirelessly operate under certain budget constraints. Besides, there’s an extensive amount of online material businesses can use to take care of the maintenance and functionality issues.

And using learning management systems for education means you get extensive community support on forums. Think of learning management systems as a stand-alone solution that can provide free online features and courses. It’s a tool that can modify and enhance user performance for good.

Author’s Bio: Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees’ partners and customers. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning. Follow him on Twitter @ehsanmemari

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

The following is a guest post by Mary Colbert, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

When discussing gamification and game-based learning there is often some confusion as to how they differ. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same. However they are often linked together so it isn’t always easy to separate them.

What is Game-Based Learning?

Game-Based Learning or GBL is using a game as part of the learning process. Some examples of GBL could be using monopoly to teach the basics of money management or playing scrabble to help improve vocabulary skills. However, today when people talk about game-based learning they are usually referring to digital game-based learning. Game-based learning teaches through repetition, failure and the accomplishment of goals which is basically the way players become good at video games.

What is Gamification?

In education gamification is the introduction of game-like elements into the learning environment to help motivate students and make the process more engaging. This is accomplished by taking some of the elements that make games fun and that motivate people to keep playing and using those elements in a learning situation. Some examples of gamification include:

  • Points/Badges : The use of points and badges provides tangible evidence of accomplishment
  • Immediate Feedback: Fast response to actions that are taken rather than waiting for a paper to be graded.
  • Levels/Quests: Provide missions and goals to be accomplished
  • Leveling Up: Indication of achievement and opening up of new missions, badges and activities
  • Collaboration/Teamwork: Accomplish a goal working with others

Although gamification involves using elements from games it doesn’t necessarily include playing games.

Benefits of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning and gamification have been around for a number of years at the elementary and high school level. More recently it has been making its way into higher education as it offers a number of benefits to students:

  • Increased engagement: One of the most touted benefits of gamification is that it increases student engagement. Studies have shown that adding game-like features in non-game context increases student engagement. Increasing engagement also leads to greater retention as students relate better to material through practice rather than just reading or listening to a lecture.
  • Instant feedback: Receiving feedback immediately through dashboards and leaderboards tends to motivate students. They can view how they perform relative to their peers, which will often motivate them to retry tests and activities to achieve a better ranking. It also provides motivation to move ahead to further lessons.
  • Collaboration/Social Connection: For some students it isn’t easy to create connections with others in their class. Gamifying classes helps promote social interaction and encourages students to work together. Team competition is an excellent way to promote student collaboration.
  • Increase enthusiasm: For some students just learning is enough to generate enthusiasm but for many that is not the case. Gamification helps to generate more enthusiasm in students through badges and other types of rewards. It makes the learning process more fun for them.

Disadvantages of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification isn’t the perfect solution to every learning situation and there are some disadvantages.

  • Shortened attention spans: In some students the fast pace and immediate feedback can shorten attention span. It can also lead to discouragement with other parts of the student’s education that don’t provide that pace and feedback.
  • All about the competition: Students can become enamored with the competitive aspects of gamification and GBL and it becomes more about winning than learning.
  • Some students won’t be motivated: There will be some students that simply aren’t motivated by the gamification of learning. They may have some misconceptions about the process that prevent them from responding well to GBL. Other students may dislike the competitive nature of some aspects of gamification.

The gamification of a class or course doesn’t ensure it will be successful. How gamification is introduced will determine the type of impact that it has.

Gamified Education Online

Gamified education courses have already been introduced with great success online. Gamification and game-based learning work especially well with online education. The following are some examples of popular eLearning sites that use gamification successfully:

  • Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning website with over 300 million users. They teach 22 different languages and use gamification in every lesson to make learning a new language fun.
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a well known educational website for match, science and other subjects that use gamification to encourage and motivate students. Each answer is immediately scored and points are given if correct. Badges are also awarded
  • TedEd: TedEd provides all types of videos that are both entertaining and educational. They also have a web app that allows users to make their own video lessons that are actionable.

There are all kinds of game-based learning tools and gamification platforms available to educators now. Without a doubt this seems to be the wave of the future in education.

 Author’s Bio: Mary Colbert is a huge fan of gaming in general. Not only is she fond of gaming as a form of entertainment, she is a firm believer in the educational benefits of playing games.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How to Deal with the 5 Biggest Challenges of Online Learning

The following is a guest post by Sadi Khan, a content creator. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

E-learning is a little more than a decade old but it has grown immensely in this short period. The international online learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion by the year 2025.

The reason for this rising popularity is the convenience and minimal cost associated with online learning. It allows students or professionals to take courses that easily fit with their schedules. It is flexible and easily accessible. Plus, you can access the lectures or training material anytime to refresh your memory.

What are the biggest challenges of online learning? 

With many benefits, online learning comes with a few challenges. Luckily, these challenges are not insurmountable. Let’s see how you can deal with the 5 biggest challenges.

Challenge # 1: Digital Literacy 

While attending an online lecture or listening to informative audio is a simple task, one still needs a certain degree of technical proficiency. Watching a video is quite simple, but dealing with an online learning management system requires some understanding of technology. 

One has to log in to his or her account, participate in classes (submitting an assignment or partaking in discussion boards), and communicate with the teachers. If the person does not have basic digital literacy, he or she will find it difficult to make the most of that course. 

Solution:

The instructors or institutes usually provide detailed introductions and instructions regarding the lectures and learning material used in the course. Listening and adhering to these instructions is very important.

Opt for a course that provides technical support. Most online courses come with a full range of support services, including technical support by email, live chat, and phone. One can reach out to the faculty when he or she is facing a problem. Also, a person can avoid many issues by paying careful attention to how the instructor has advised them to navigate the course.

Challenge # 2: Poor time management and procrastination: 

A survey of 1500 online students revealed that flexibility and convenience are the two biggest reasons behind student’s choice of an online course. However, this positive aspect can quickly become a drawback.

Knowing that you can go through the lectures at any time, can lead to procrastination. You might start wasting your learning time in useless click-jumping and internet browsing.

Solution: 

Learn to manage your workload with your eLearning schedule. Make a timetable or class schedule and stick to it. If you have assigned two hours to online learning, make sure you are spending them on going through the course content or assignments. If social media or internet keep distracting you, either go offline while you are studying or use tools to block these sites. Several tools are available to block certain websites during a set period.

Avoid multitasking. Online learning needs to have a dedicated time. You cannot fit it in with other tasks like meals or spending time with your family. It will result in nothing but frustration. Focus on one task and then proceed to the next one. It will not only give you a sense of fulfillment but also helps with productivity.

Challenge # 3: Monotony 

Online learning can be boring. You don’t have classmates or teacher to interact. All you have are lengthy texts and video lectures that you need to go through. Even if the online format entails interesting content like infographics, and videos, things can still get monotonous. Students might eventually lose interest and drop out. 

Solution: 

Find a course that is dynamic, interactive, and fun. Teachers and institutes are getting better at creating more interactive courses and training methods. These courses have the right amount of challenges, videos, storytelling, and simulators to keep you going.

All these things can make it easy to continue with the training. Also, choose courses that offer a certificate or an acknowledgment, so you will have a motivating reason to complete the course.

Challenge # 4: Going Sedentary

The Internet has made it possible to study, work, or shop from home but it also comes with a lot of sitting and prolonged sitting can be as dangerous as smoking. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer.

Online learning is convenient but it also means that a person does not have to physically go to college or training institute. This increases a person’s screen time and adds to their sedentary lifestyle, which is detrimental to both physical and mental health.

Solution:

Do not spend hours and hours in front of screens. A simple exercise or activity like running can help you offset the risks of sitting for long hours. Take regular breaks and move away from the screen every 30 minutes or so. It is also important to have a proper desk and chair and a study area. Do not sit in your bed or couch with your laptop.

Challenge # 5: Technical Problems & Glitches 

Depending on where you are located, you can face issues like internet connectivity, hardware or software requirements, browser compatibility, and so on. These situations can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. This is the reason online learning hasn’t been used to its fullest in developing or third world countries (where it can be the most beneficial).

Solution:

Make sure that you have gone through the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or ask the training provider about system requirements. Some courses require downloading specific apps or printing out the document. You need to make sure that you will not need a specific program or hardware that you cannot arrange. Don’t be shy of asking for technical assistance when you are facing a problem.

E-learning has a lot of advantages but there are some limitations as well. However, the benefits can easily outweigh the drawbacks. All you need is a good internet connection and you can start a course or degree program that will help with career advancement.

Isn’t that what you want?  

Author’s Bio: Sadi Khan got his Banking and Finance degree through a distance learning program. He currently writes on health and fitness-related topics on RunRepeat, an athletic shoes review platform.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How E-learning has Changed Drastically in the Last Decade

The following is a guest post by Heman Thuranira, a content creator. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Did you know that you don’t have to be a student at Caltech or MIT to benefit from what their professors are teaching? All you need is a computer or phone and a stable internet connection, and voila, you are interacting with faculty from any prestigious institution in the world on social media. Let’s take a look at how much e-learning has changed in the last decade!

1.  Evolution of social media e-learning.

A hashtag is enough to connect an entire learning community on Twitter. Through that connection, you can share lesson notes, assignments, views, and the whole course module. A closed group on Facebook or a private account on Instagram can help you achieve all your teaching and learning objectives.

These platforms also have features that enable you to communicate “live” and in real-time. So you could be lying on a beach in Ireland while giving a lecture to your learners in San Diego via Facebook.

2.  Cloud-based e-learning

With the current trends in cloud-based e-learning, you no longer have to spend sleepless nights wondering and worrying about your homework. With the rise in the e-learning trend, you can search for an online tutor to get assignment help and assistance with your homework.

The cloud e-learning system has evolved so much over the last decade that institutions no longer have to invest in expensive servers and software. For instance; admission, evaluation, surveys, customer care, and communication information can be stored on the cloud. That saves money, time, and space. With that said, the benefits of cloud-based e-learning are limitless.

3.  Artificial Intelligence.

A few years back, if you wanted to learn or teach in China, you would have to learn Chinese or hire a translator. Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed all that. You can write a statement in English on Google and have it instantly translated into more than 50 languages. Breaking down the language barriers between different cultures has further enabled online education to reach across the world!

Some institutions are already using bots for research, customer care, and grading exams. AI presents exciting future opportunities for educational institutions.

4.  Virtual reality and augmented reality

Experts argue that from 2006, e-learning moved to a new level through the introduction of virtual and augmented reality. Learners don’t have to imagine how a butterfly transforms from larva to butterfly anymore. With virtual reality, they can now see it!

With virtual and augmented reality, you can simulate any topic to enhance the learning experience. You no longer have to look for ways of explaining how covalent bonds are formed in chemistry. Augmented reality enables you to visually explain complex topics to your students.

Conclusion

It’s safe to conclude that e-learning is the future of education. It’s no secret that the present generation opts to spend most of their time online, and a natural extension of the internet’s capabilities is transforming that power for educational purposes. At some point, schools might have to find other ways of using their lecture halls as students will be learning through the web. What will they do with all those rooms?

Author’s Bio: Heman Thuranira is a competent SEO content writer who specializes in offering blog writing, ghostwriting, and copywriting services. He takes pride in providing SEO optimized, engaging, and high-quality digital marketing content to both B2B and B2C businesses. His content will increase your business, blog, or website social media attention and search engine ranking. For any SEO content writing service assistance; he is your go-to Guru.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Key Software Development Technologies You Can Learn Online

The following is a guest post by Hardik Shah, a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

In this digital world, there is no skill more valuable than programming and software development. Every year, thousands of software, apps and web apps are developed, catering to the growing need for enterprise and retail applications.

As the demand for exciting features, intuitive UI/UX and responsive solutions is increasing, the software development field is evolving with new technologies, frameworks, and languages. Also, the existing programming landscape is maturing with dynamic job roles designed for a modern software developer.

In this rapidly changing landscape, learning software development technologies and improving one’s skills is extremely essential. Not only does it boost employment prospects but it also increases the chances of grabbing a lucrative job offer from top industry names.

Also, if you are smitten by the entrepreneurial bug, then learning a thing or two about software development would make you better equipped to launch your own technology startup.

In this post, we’ll highlight five relevant software development technologies that you should master. You can learn these technologies online using online courses and open learning resources easily.

Once you learn any technology, you can search for jobs by googling “custom software development company near me”. You find that there are lot of software development companies that are looking for talented developers.

1. JavaScript

JavaScript is one of the most critical programming technologies on the planet. Not only does JavaScript make it easier to offer enhanced user experiences but it is easy-to-learn and master. JavaScript allows developers to create a full application suite without using any other technology. While JavaScript can support a client-side solution, it can also be used to develop a server-side application using the Node.js framework.

In fact, JavaScript is the base for several programming frameworks, making it a wise decision to learn JavaScript if you want to excel at software development and programming.

There are many paid and free courses on JavaScript that you can start with if you are planning to learn JavaScript online. You can start with this course on Udemy if you are looking to start from scratch and hone your software development skills.

2. Java

Java is one of the most popular programming languages which is used for iOS & Android app development along with other use cases. It was one of the first object-oriented programming languages that are still widely used in web development, software development, and mobile app development. Several Fortune 500 companies harness the Java technology for server-side application development, making it one of the most lucrative technologies to learn at present.

You can use Java to create highly scalable and robust software and apps for a large number of users, easily. Java can also teach you the basics of programming and can help you set a strong foundation for your learning and programming endeavors in the future.

This specialization by Duke University on Coursera can take you through the fundamentals as well as some advanced programming concepts.

3. Python

Python has a long history of supporting large-scale software development projects. Touted as one of the easiest programming languages, Python is known for its extensive support libraries, open-source background, and easy-to-learn syntax. Several large organizations, including NASA and Google, have used Python on several projects. In fact, many modern web development frameworks, including Flask & Django, are also based on Python. This means that Python still has a lot of scope in the programming industry.

So, you should think of learning Python for all its benefits and modern applications that are increasing day by day. This Coursera specialization by the University of Michigan is a great way to get started on your journey to learn Python programming language.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a relatively new technology that has already revolutionized many sectors and industries. The growing demand for Blockchain-based solutions makes it a lucrative technology to learn in the modern era.

Blockchain is all about using a decentralized consensus-based system for processing transactions between two parties without an intermediary. In recent times, many financial institutions have explored the scope of Blockchain for digitizing their processes. Also, the cryptocurrency hype associated with Bitcoin has made Blockchain a promising technology to learn and master. In the future, as the use cases evolve and more industries start adopting blockchain-based solutions, the possibilities for a developer would be limitless.

You can enroll in ‘Blockchain Revolution for Enterprise Specialization’ course available on Coursera to learn more about Blockchain and how you can master blockchain development skills for the future.

5. Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails technology is in high demand owing to the benefits it offers for employers as well as developers. Programmers can use the web app development framework for quickly developing, testing and deploying prototypes without much fuss. Several tech mammoths, including Airbnb, Twitter, and Shopify, have used the technology to create intuitive web apps.

Also, the open-source nature of the framework and easy syntax makes it a great option to get started for anyone looking to improve their programming skills online.

This course on Ruby on Rails can be a good start for you if you want to understand the framework and want to start building web apps, soon.

Final Words

Learning a programming language, framework or technology can be a gamechanger in your career. If you are already in the IT industry or are planning to kickstart your career, learning more about software development technologies is an easy and cost-efficient way. By completing the above-mentioned courses, you can definitely improve your programming skills and gain the agility and robustness modern companies require.

Author’s Bio: Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. Hardik leads large scale mobility programs covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization and best practices.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Virtual Orientation: a how-to for Online Classrooms [INFOGRAPHIC]

Online orientation should provide the knowledge and information necessary to succeed in an online course so that all students are prepared to excel! This infographic covers how to introduce course material and clarify expectations for an online class.

The text for this infographic was based off of an article by Dean Marian Stoltz-Loike, vice president of online education at Touro College in New York and dean of the school’s Lander College for Women.

Author’s Bio: Chana Goldberg is currently the Presidential Fellow of Online Education at Touro College. She enjoys reading, exploring New York City, and researching education-related topics.

5 Things Online Institutions Need to Understand About their Students [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following is a guest post by Shristi Patni, content writer and Chief Content Officer at Raletta and PR Bulls, and Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

This infographic visually explores what community colleges and online institutions need to understand about their students.
Learners/individuals seeking a blended or online education have a specific set of needs and expectations that can be best handled by a learning management system. 

This infographic was made by Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers.

Author’s Bio: Shristi is the Chief Content Officer at Raletta (Digital Marketing Agency), and PR Bulls (Content Marketing Agency). She enjoys writing about food, fitness, finance and everything in between.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How AI can help Students in Online Education

The following is a guest post by Pete McCain, a technology startup enthusiast associated with App Velocity. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

There was a time when we all were highly skeptical about online education because we couldn’t fathom a computer screen replacing our classrooms and the education ideals that come with them. But now examining the impact of online education, we can clearly see how eagerly we’ve embraced the idea of e-learning. It has levelled up education in the developed parts of the world and democratized education where schools and teachers couldn’t reach.

We’ve come a long way as far as online education is concerned. However, there’s a still long road ahead with many developments to come. One of the major developments on the horizon is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most passionately debated subjects in the world of technology. For some, it’s the biggest and the most dangerous threat to our world. While for others, artificial intelligence is the beacon of hope that will bring positive fundamental changes to our daily lives. Hold your horses whichever side you’re on as we’re not going to delve into this debate (and you can understand why).

It’s predicted that almost no industry in the world will be left untouched by AI, and Education is no exception. The latest report by TechNavio forecasts the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.77% during the period 2018-2022.

This continuous rise of Artificial Intelligence in education is going to bring a bundle of good news for students and in particular, for the students taking their education online. Let’s explore 5 different ways AI is going to improve e-learning.

1. Custom-tailored Learning for Each Student

Artificial Intelligence is primarily driven by data. It collects information about the student from various sources to gain an extensive understanding. This data could include preferences, interests, strengths & weaknesses, past courses, etc. AI, depending upon the student, could put more emphasis on subjects that a student might be struggling at.

2. Feedback to Educators

No matter how good of an educator you are or how good the educational material is, there’s always room for improvement. However, it can be difficult to gain insight into what areas need improvement. Here comes AI. Through its algorithms, it will fetch data about topics that students have not understood properly and will give this feedback to the course designers and/or educators.

For example, if most of the students give a wrong answer to a certain question, then there’s a good possibility that they haven’t understood the topic clearly. AI will dig deep into the possible reasons behind it and will provide valuable feedback that will improve the quality of education.

3. AI Tutors: The Next Big Thing in Online Education?

One of the major arguments that go against e-learning is the lack of personal touch. No matter how much you love e-learning, this argument will always go against you. And you can’t deny that there’s a degree of truth to this as well.

This argument won’t hold water for much longer as AI is set to bridge this gap with AI tutors. Students will be able to turn to a robot (a computer program) to help them understand difficult parts of the course. This is surely great news for students as it’s no secret that AI tutor helps them learn better and faster.

This sort of technology is already in its pilot mode and your tutor could be on its way sooner than expected. Excited?

4. Smart Content

AI can produce the content of your textbook. Now, read the sentence again. Read it once again if you couldn’t absorb it. Yes, the robots are going to be much-much smarter than we expect them to be and they’re not only going to teach you but will design your learning material as well. And that’s not all as they will also produce virtual content such as video lectures to help you understand better. If you’re a visual learner like me, you couldn’t get more excited, could you?

One such example of such technology is Cram101, which has AI as its driving force and produces textbooks that are easier to understand and navigate. If you’ve had a hard time understanding a textbook (and I’m sure you have), smart content could be of immense help.

5. Adding Games to Your Education

Go back to your Kindergarten days and remember how your teacher used to teach you by making you play different games. Machine learning is going to do the same. Well, sort of. Many researchers and companies are exploring the possibility of constructing tactical games for students to speed up their understanding and make the process fun at the same time. There are plenty of apps available in the market which use a gamification approach i.e. Duolingo.

Gamification is crucial in education because our current methods of learning, namely reading and listening, are very limited in serving their purpose because of our human limitations. It’s been researched that learners recall only 10% of what they hear and only 20% of what they actively listen to. This number rises to 30% if you add visual presentations but not above that. However, if students are given the job to teach themselves through a game, they recall around a whopping 90%!

If I were a student, I’d be licking my lips (well, not literally) for such games. And you know what? Many are. Almost 80% of the students responded that they’ll welcome such learning, and so would you.

Last Word

We’ve witnessed massive changes in the way we eat, shop, communicate, and many other day-to-day aspects of our lives. And now, we’re on the verge of witnessing a remarkable fundamental change that will redefine our paradigms of learning. It’s no longer the question of ifs and buts, now only one question remains and that is ‘when.’

Author’s Bio: Pete McCain is a technology startup enthusiast, associated with AppVelocity – one of the best app development companies in Toronto. He has collaborated with more than 50 entrepreneurs – over the last decade – to maximize growth and contribute to technical excellence.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.