Digital Learning Trends, Interactive Elements.
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What are the 10 digital learning trends of 2021?

If we were to reflect on 2020, you'd agree that it was a year that changed the whole world's working styles. For most people, working from home has become the new normal. Different companies, businesses, and learning institutions had to change their working models.

The education sector also had to revamp the learning strategies to suit the new conditions brought by the CORONA pandemic. Nobody saw it coming. But it’s also safe to say that the learning industry was rapidly expanding even before the COVID-19 outbreak.

After the outbreak, learning has changed. And the advancement in technology in even making it more cheap, accessible, and faster. In fact, there has been explosive growth in the education sector due to the upgrades and the new digital learning trends. Talk of learning and real-time exam assessments, among other growths.

Before we look at the technological trends to watch, let's first understand what digital learning entails

What is digital learning? What does it entail?

By definition, digital learning is learning facilitated by technology. Simple, yeah? But it means more than just accessing the information on a computer.

Of course, traditional learning methods like the use of classrooms and books are essential in education. However, digital learning provides a more profound and engaging learning experience. Talk of the digital tools which engage multi-sense thus allows a deeper cognitive association with the content taught.

Through technology, learners have control over the time, place, path, and pace of the learning process.

Wait, there are three things here that you must understand before we continue;

In digital learning, technology facilitates the delivery of the content and dictates how the learners receive and send content. These technologies may include; internet access, hardware like tablets, laptops, desktop/computers, and smartphones.

At second place is the control over time. Digital learning is never restricted over a specific time. Meaning learners can plug in or out as per their need. In other words, it allows anywhere any time learning so long as there is the internet.

At number three is the divergent path. With interactive and adaptive software, learners can learn at their own pace and style. That implies that the digital learning content must be flexible as the linear structure cannot suit everyone. Besides, not all people can be online at the same time.

Let's take a look at some of the essential digital elements.

Elements of digital learning

Gladly, I would say there is more in digital learning that you need to know. Maybe you’re aware that there are digital tools that guide the learning process.

But can you mention a few?

Let me save you time. Here are some.

Visual learning tools

Unless you have a different opinion, many learners will master visually presented content to respond to text or lecture content.

Take an example of the interactive element and visuals like infographics. They provide learners with an overview of the content and a "click more" option for deeper learning and understanding.


This element ensures learners can progress at their own pace. How? They can take their time to watch or review the content. At the same time, they can also access the multimedia option of images and videos for clarifications.

Guided learning/training

This training technique allows educational creators to include interactive elements and popups into the learning materials to provide more personalized understandings to the learners.

All the above tools ensure learners can go beyond the printed materials and interact with elements at their own time and pace. Besides, they also assure individualized content to learners.

Of what help is digital learning to the education sector and the learners?

Benefits of digital learning

Here is a few importance that comes with most digital learning trends.

Provides 24-hour resources

Let me ask you.

At what time are you at your prime learning focus? Maybe early in the morning, sometimes during the day, or evening hours.

Now, this is the point. We have different focus hours, and there is no best time to study. Some people are early birds, while others are night owls when it comes to learning. However, this is never catered for in most traditional education. Talk of the libraries; when are they closed?

Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about the library being closed with digital learning before you get the content you need. Because it's everywhere, every time access to information.

<h3>Availability of recorded learning<h3>

What happens when you miss a class or when you realize you're missing the point, but your instructor is not available at that moment?

That’s a challenge most student experiences in the traditional learning. However, with digital learning, students can always go back and watch or listen to class recordings suppose they missed the lesson.

Digital learning offers the learners chance to solve their problems what we call self-directed study.

Promotes higher engagement rate

Unlike traditional education, which mainly comprises textbooks, students, and instructors for learning, digital learning provides a multi-channel to facilitate students learning.

How’s that?

With various technology available, digital learning offers limitless options for students to learn from. Elements like image or video content, virtual aids, and other choices make digital more engaging and fascinating.

Increased information sharing

Like mentioned earlier, digital learning facilitates 24-hour resources, which allows learners to access more information. The good news is it also ensures that learners can digitally share information with other participants or educators.

Increases learner’s employability with digital technology

How often do you think students would interact with technology in traditional learning? Of course, that would depend on the type of training they are taking.

But it would be safe to say that digital learning is equipping most learners with skills they could only get in their higher education. Think about it.

Most of the digital tools are problem-based technologies that primarily emphasize constructive and collaborative approaches. All of which brings learners' attention to the real-world life of solving problems.

In other words, digital learning prepares learners for future careers by helping them acquire skills for motivation. They would be able to create and generate jobs for their benefit and others with the knowledge they gain on the technology.

Facilitates tracked progress and learning assessments

Besides helping students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, digital learning also helps learners develop accountability especially during online examinations.

This is how.

Engaging in digital learning means most of your operations and details are stored online. And that's good for your instructors as it too you. Your instructors would be able to access your records and thus be able to monitor your progress. What and when you are doing the assignments.

In other words, it enables transparent and informative assessment with real-time software or app that auto-generate reports.

Almost everything has both its positive and negative sides. Now let’s learn some of the challenges of digital learning.

Disadvantages of digital learning

Here are a few disadvantages you must have in mind;

·         Technical problems like hardware, software, and lack of internet connection.

·         Social isolation, as most activities are done at home, thus a minor association with other learners.

·         Inaccessible to others- some may have limited access to the internet.

·         Prone to distractions- there is so much on the internet like games, adverts, popups, and messages from other online learners.

·         Old paradigms, as most teachers, parents, and parents are trapped in the old education system model, among other challenges that come with digital learning.


Well, it’s now time for the actual show!

Let’s look at some of the explosive learning trends you must watch out.

10 digital learning trends of 2021

At number one!

Game-based learning/gamification

Suppose you’re looking for the newest trend that couples both the learning and fun aspects plus hold the participants' attention. Then, gamification is your answer.

I believe you’ve seen people play video games on smartphones, laptops, or other technological apps. Sure, when learning content, creators transform the classroom activities into a game that would be game-based learning.

Simultaneously, gamification uses gaming principles to create an active, collaborative, creative, and engaging learning experience to deepen learners' understanding.

Interestingly, the learning process if fun and memorable, and retention is excellent, especially when learners feel engaged and active.

So, how does gamification work? 

To understand how gamification operates, it would best to first have in mind the expected gains from the learning process.

Of which most are:

·         To get adequate knowledge and understanding of the subject matter

·         To provide room for practice and skills acquisitions, among other learning objectives.

Better still, the learning activities should trigger some behavioral change, motivate, and engage or challenge. And that’s precisely what gamification provides.

Therefore, game-based learning works by experiential learning while generating engaging but relevant and personalized experiences. It also builds understanding using simulations, scenarios, and challenges, which the learner must pass before the next level.

Think of any video game; does it relates to what we have discussed?


Adaptive learning

You must be aware of the student-teacher consultation in the traditional education system. If you do, then you already have a hint of what adaptive learning might be.

Adaptive learning involves providing personalized learning, aiming to facilitate efficient and customized paths in engaging the individual learner.

Let me explain.

There are some situations where you can have problems handling specific tasks.  Then, you get assisted through the job.

Now, for digital learning trends:

Adaptive learning is an education technique that uses computer algorithms to build interaction or relationships with a learner and provide resources that help address the needs of each or specific learner.

Besides supporting faculty roles, it enables innovative teaching that includes the incorporation of various content formats, text, images, and videos to support students' needs.

Most importantly, it ensures learners can set their own pace and study time as per their convenient hours. And with every information available on the net, learners are free to study and revise and get testing content to improve learning.



How daunting can it be to handle multi-phase projects?

Sure, most students would find it very inconveniencing, especially when they have to cover huge chunks of content within a specific time.

But, the solution to such problems is here! Microlearning.

Microlearning is a skill-based learning method that helps deliver content in small but highly focused chunks.

Similarly, it's a bit-sized learning module. Meaning it involves small specific information with a clear education pathway and the ideal way to find quick answers to particular issues.

This learning method also entails breaking down longer or in-depth contents/lessons into digestible, reducing the number of information participants get in one go. Thus the perfect way to keep engaged during more extended modules.

The characteristics of microlearning by scan include:

·         Performed in short time bursts

·         There are little efforts from individual lessons

·         Involves simple, short, or narrow topics/contents


Wow! From the characteristics, microlearning sounds pretty first, easy and fun, yeah? However, instructors must plan, design, and develop the content to align with their overall learning objectives and strategy for it to be successful.

For manageable chunks, instructors may decide to have the content different displayed in various forms:

·         Texts

·         Interactive elements

·         Animations and video lectures

·         Gamified assessments, among other forms

These different formats help learners reduce the monotony of the same way of the content display every day as in the traditional education system.

Mobile learning

Sure, technology is changing the world of education despite a few challenges that come with it. Nowadays, people can use their electronic gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops for social and content interactions.

So, what’s mobile learning?

Mobile learning is amongst the latest digital trends that involve accessing learning contents and information through personal mobile devices.

In other words, mobile learning or learning can learn via virtual media or personalized electronic devices. It facilitates anywhere, anytime access to information so long as the device is connected to the internet.

What else would appeal to any learner, like having the freedom of movement while they can still study at the same time?


Mlearning simplifies learning through mobile phones, ensuring learners can access and share education content anytime they have the internet, and their gadgets are powered.

Other benefits of learning include:

·         Encourages collaborative learning

·         It's cost-effective

·         Supports self-pace learning

Ensures diversity in the learning resources- supports both videos, audios, visuals, and other elements. These different resources would make it engaging and more fun.

Despite the benefits, there are some challenges that you could expect with mlearning. Some are;

·         Increased dependency on electricity and internet connection

·         Lack of focus and attention due to several distractions


Virtual learning/virtual reality

Learning should continuously be enhanced with world experiences for a better understanding of concepts. Take examples of attachments or filed trips for the traditional education systems.

However, since some situations like the breakout of COVID-19, such activities have been brought to a halt.

Now that learners can’t attend such sessions, education content creators must find ways to bring the topics to life for the participants.

The good news is, content creators have developed a technology to help through virtual reality/virtual learning.

Therefore, what’s virtual learning?

It's a three-dimensional computer-generated learning concept that allows learners to explore and navigate a particular imaginative environment while performing a series of actions.

In other words, one is immersed within the computer environment where they manipulate objects for their desired learning objective.

How does virtual learning occur?

It works on the principle of creating a virtual world, real or imagined, while allowing learners to see and interact with the world they see.

What characteristics make virtual learning?

Immersive and believable- moving your head around makes you see changes as they would be in real life. Besides, it makes you see your virtual life as if you were in the real world doing actual life activities.

Computer-generated- virtual learning is mainly created with 3D computer graphics like look like the real world.

Interactive allows learners to interact with various virtual scenes, whether through pressing buttons.

Artificial intelligence

If you answered the question, "what makes a human," what could be your answer?

Oh, I would love to get your views on that question, but for now, here is a simple answer.

What makes us human is our intelligence. Gladly, educators have found a way of using digital tools to simulate human intelligence.

Artificial intelligence, therefore, is the creation of machines or technology aimed at stimulation of human processes.

All the same, AI attempts to create systems that can do activities that humans previously did.

Technology through knowledge-based systems and interactive elements plays a crucial role in influencing how content is delivered to students in the education niche through AI.

Besides, AI optimizes the routine process and improves the efficiency and speed of learning while guiding learners through their courses. Activities done by teachers and instructors are now handled with computer based-systems in the name of artificial intelligence.

Here are some of how AI facilitates learning:

·         It personalizes learning- it helps identify what learners know or don't know this builds a study schedule for each learner.

·         Ensures task automation- AI simplifies all time-consuming tasks such as grading, assessments, and responding to learners, among other roles of artificial intelligence.


Social learning

First, I must admit we live in an information world where we get information from various sources every day and time.

That said, social learning is learning controlled by environmental influences. Put differently; it's a process of acquiring knowledge in a social context. This can either be through observation or taking direct instructions, which are not innate.

How does this an upcoming trend?

It’s commonplace that you have seen people debate or share their views on particular topics and concerns. Take an example of a project-based learning where students can share ideas and compare notes. The exact process is now made easier with technology.

Individuals have been able to share ideas and engage with others from different regions around the world. The same applies to the learning process. Learners worldwide can share diversified ideas through interactive elements like zoom and other video chat apps or tools. For brainstorming, ideation and group meetings, and interviews.

Applied learning

 If you've been keen, you'll realize most of the learning institutions used to feed learners more theories to give participants a broader perspective than practical skills. In other words, learning did not provide hands-on skills.

However, with advancements in technology, 2021 learners enjoy applied learning where the practice is essential than theory. And that means most digital learning is skill-based. Learning by doing rather than studying and listening to ideas.

Open learning resources

With too many options to explore for content, learners are always enjoying designed online materials for content. Such as interactive elements, images, video-recorded lectures, and online textbooks. 

Also, youtube clips, animations and simulations, digital diagrams, and assessment materials like tests with automated answers have provided resources. So much to support learning!

Blended learning

The traditional education system is always more of a face-face based classroom method. However, with advancement in the digital world, blended learning has emerged.

This is a learning approach that combines both the traditional face-face method with online educational resources and interactions. It involves the physical presence of both instructors and learners, which can be through video chat app tools and other interactive elements. Of course, the factors that support sharing of learning contents in real-time.



Digital learning is taking over the education process as technological advancements surpass the traditional education systems. Now, receiving and sharing learning content is more manageable than before. And that has been facilitated by the digital learning trends such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, applied, mobile, and microlearning.

Besides, the growth of blended learning with open educative resources, social, adaptive, and game-based learning has seen the education process change to efficient and effective learning. All thanks to technological advancements.

Contributor: admin
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