How cloud-based technology is changing the virtual learning landscape

by | 9 Jun 2022

Cloud-based technologies, including PaaS, SaaS and other digital solutions have been transforming EdTech for the last few years, but growth has surged since 2020 due to remote learning. Cloud-based software that also incorporates Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) offers more flexibility and scalability to institutions without requiring an extensive IT staff. APIs make it possible for “new and different web-based programs to work together,” as E-Learning Industry recently noted.

Other essential virtual and online learning tools rely on API integrations, including video learning and other collaboration tools. Video learning solutions with API-driven platforms offer more flexible experiences, allowing organizations to add the features and integrations they need, or build customized virtual learning platforms. 

Digital transformation and cloud-based apps have help to elevate virtual learning experiences for not only K-12 schools and those in higher education but are also advancing corporate learning and development. The popularity of cloud-based apps will continue to help virtual learning evolve and lead trends in EdTech 

Evolution of virtual learning apps

Today’s LMS and virtual learning platforms have advanced far beyond their predecessors. Early versions of virtual learning software, including software used for course creation and managing students, was very costly to manage and implement. Virtual learning software required a significant investment that wasn’t in the budget of most schools and other institutions. 

A couple of decades ago, virtual learning technology relied on buying expensive software and purchasing new licenses or updates when the software became obsolete. Many of these software packages often needed expensive hardware and servers plus an IT staff to run them properly.  Early virtual learning software was not flexible – for instance, it couldn’t be customized and wasn’t available for mobile devices or laptops. 

Recent cloud-based subscription models are changing the landscape by alleviating some of these costs involving hardware, software, and staff.  For virtual learning and other EdTech tools, cloud-based apps offer the same benefits and advantages of cloud-based business apps.

Benefits of cloud-based learning apps 

The benefits of cloud-based learning apps are producing rapid advancements in virtual learning offerings for schools, corporate organizations and even government agencies. Here are some essential benefits that set PaaS, SaaS, and other cloud-based platforms apart from other types of software:

  • They offer more overall flexibility and accessibility. Students don’t need a specific computer and schools don’t need certain hardware. Cloud-based apps only need an internet connection. Many apps are accessible from any type of internet-connected device, including laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Flexibility makes it easier for learners to access course material or classes information where and when they want. 
  • Advanced cloud-based technology often offers advanced security options. Schools and organizations should make sure to evaluate specific learning solutions to make sure the security is sufficient. The most secure tools have security “built-in” to the design of the app, and include high-level security for connections and data transfers. 
  • More advanced video classroom and collaboration solutions that offer face-to-face communication provide a better experience. Learners at all levels are demanding more interactive and dynamic learning experiences from online learning tools that can replicate the quality of the live, in-person classroom. 
  • Cloud-based solutions are both cost-effective and highly scalable. Cloud-based apps make it possible to expand virtual learning at levels previously unavailable with traditional software. Low-code software, with API integrations eliminated the need for advanced programming skills, while more widespread internet access makes online education in reach for more learners. 

What’s next? Trends in cloud-based virtual learning technology

Regardless of the next EdTech trend, the quality of the learning experience will remain the focus of learners. As Training Magazine notes, learners want an “interactive and engaging” experience “that mirrors how they use technology in their personal life … simple, mobile-first design, powerful search capabilities, clearly organized libraries, easy access to video content and so much more.”

However, some trends will continue to lead the way forward in virtual learning. AI-powered tools will continue to play a key role, especially in terms of personalized instruction. Schools and corporate learning programs alike can use AI and data to offer a more customized experience, feedback in virtual learning environments, and powerful assessment capabilities. 

Immersive technologies such as 3D video technology and virtual reality are providing more advanced experiences, both inside the traditional classroom and in a virtual environment. 

The demand for highly secure cloud-based apps will also remain a priority. In the wake of continued cybersecurity threats to schools and other learning institutions, schools and other organizations will need to take a proactive approach to safeguarding the privacy and identities of students and staff, as well as protecting data and content.

 

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