5 Ways Technology has Transformed Education and Professional Development
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By Erika Murigi
Over the last two decades, technology has transformed every aspect of our daily lives – our
work, our domestic duties, how we interact with one another. Education is no exception. As
technology has progressed, so has the capability to gain professional qualifications and
today many more people around the world gain further training and certification, thanks to
technological advances. Here are five ways technology has had a huge impact on
Distance learning existed long before the Internet existed with students completing
correspondence courses at home by receiving course documents through the post. The
emergence and advancements of online learning has, however, made education and
professional development far more accessible, not just in terms of being able to study from
home but also for individuals who, for whatever reason, were unable to take time out to
study in a traditional classroom setting. The ‘classroom’ can now refer to virtual platforms
and providers can now offer a wider range of courses and make them readily available to
students across the world. Access to education, and in particular further education, is no
longer a niche market reserved solely for the privileged.
Greater application of learning
To further the first point, technology also allows the student to work and study at the same
time. It’s no longer necessary to have to take time out to study or retrain, which is
particularly helpful if financial or family responsibilities prevent you from returning to
education. Furthermore, for students undertaking professional certification, it allows for the
immediate application of learning i.e. you get to put into practice what you learn, for others
it means a more seamless switch of careers and often at a higher level.
Gone are the days of learning solely from textbooks. While they still have their place, thanks
to technology, students are now much more engaged in how they construct knowledge and
through what channels. Learning is now interactive. Textbooks have been replaced, in part
or wholly, with interactive learning materials – videos, forums, online libraries – that are
constantly updated and refreshed and accessible on smartphones, laptops, tablets, from
anywhere with a wifi connection.
The evolution of digital platforms means students can collaborate easily, from anywhere in
the world. Ideas can be shared, team projects completed, advice sought without the need
for face-to- face meetings. Thanks to advancements in instant messaging apps and
information sharing, work can be seen, shared, discussed and edited instantaneously. Today,
interaction can take place in ways that would have been impossible 20 years ago.
The traditional method of education - teacher stands in front of students explaining learning
points on a blackboard - has long gone. Today’s technology allows students to learn at their
own pace, with online education programmes providing learning experiences that are more
tailored and individual.
Given how technology has transformed education to date, it stands to reason that over the
next decade, accessing education and professional qualifications will be more progressive
and revolutionary than ever before.