The lives of our students increasingly take place online. The transition is unstoppable and mobile phone will only accelerate it. Each new generation will be more digitalized than the previous one. Old lessons will be hard to apply.
For global EdTech products like Moodle, a humanitarian approach is in essence a plain human approach. Unless the team decides to adopt explicit approaches to problems in global aid, development and response where Moodle is a valid answer. With this in mind, the role of the teacher reveals a universal struggle to understand the teen world. It is a double-edged sword: Adults who understand how to get in touch with what goes on online, especially on social media, might be able to gain a deeper understanding on their students and react accordingly. Meanwhile, the divide will only grow larger for the digitally underliterate. In relative terms, this is increasingly true in every corner of the world.
Furthermore, on the digital realm cultures and events unfold at higher speeds. Everything that can be represented digitally, is likely to become intertwined with one another, faster than even before. This is especially poignant on mobile, where the proximity of the screen to the user makes any-time interactions trivially easy. Mobile-first interfaces will continue to be in high demand, by users as well as search engine ranking algorithms. But they will still be preferred to “Mobile-only” interfaces, as surveys show that still 44% of students want to be able to seamlessly transit between mobile and desktop devices.
Next-generation algorithms in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence will act as catalysers, toward a faster and fuzzier mesh. As they incorporate more sources of user information, they will be able to adopt a more pervasive role across each digital facet of life, which, remember, are in expansion.
There are three critical activities in particular that fuel internet behavior and financial sustainability. All 3 of them have the potential to influence online learning beyond its current form: e-Commerce, Gaming and Networking. We can already witness some of the lessons from one field applied into the others. Gamification is the clearest example. We also see tendencies across apps to “connect people first, ask questions later,” and apply sales tactics to increase user adoption throughout. The landscape is not inevitable, at least not for every learner. Critical structural issues prevent billions from reaching the Internet. Not to mention the growing number of conflict and displacement victims.
Paradoxically enough, while half the world is still in need for accessible devices to access information, knowledge and competencies, the other half is starting to experience negative consequences of excessive screen time. While issues such as the effect the internet has on the social bond or level of discourse cannot be satisfyingly quantified, more approachable issues include physical strain, limited attention and propensity for mental health issues.
Going forward, systems like Moodle can decide whether to assume encompassing design approaches that, once a device gets into the hands of a learner, the process of skill acquisition is as straightforward and cognizant as possible.