If you haven’t stepped into a college classroom in a while, you might be surprised by recent developments in educational technology. Traditional learning tools like handwritten notes and paper flashcards have been supplemented — and often replaced — by innovative digital tools for adult learners.
Need to study for your math test? Mobile apps let you play math games on your smartphone. Can’t remember how your professor explained a confusing chemistry term? Watch an online webinar and test your knowledge with an interactive online quiz.
Educational technologies like these have revolutionized the college experience for adult students who want to complete their degrees. They make learning more personalized, interactive, and flexible. This article explores the advantages of digital tools for adult learners and reviews some of the top online learning resources.
The Importance Of Digital Literacy Skills For Adult Learning
Digital literacy is the ability to use technology to communicate, locate and analyze information, and collaborate with others. This term might sound intimidating, but you already practice digital literacy in your everyday life. For example, you may edit and post photos on social media or use an online search engine to find credible articles.
If you aren’t tech-savvy, trying to develop digital literacy might fill you with anxiety. However, many digital education tools improve digital literacy skills that can help you excel in the classroom and the workplace.
Digital literacy skills play a pivotal role in the adult education classroom and in career development. They enable returning learners to:
- Access online resources
- Collaborate with peers on group projects
- Evaluate the credibility and relevance of online content
- Learn marketable skills
- Participate in online classes
- Perform well in virtual job interviews
- Troubleshoot technical issues
Digital tools can give adult students like you the confidence to learn new technologies. Also, these abilities could give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs in Mississippi and other areas.
Benefits Of Digital Tools For Adult Learners
Keeping up with technology can be challenging but highly rewarding for adult learners. Here are three benefits of using digital tools to enhance traditional classroom learning methods.
Boosted Engagement and Motivation
Maintaining focus on adult education materials can be challenging, especially if you’re balancing family and work responsibilities on top of your schoolwork. You might feel your attention wandering as you write a paper or lack the motivation to pick up your math textbook after a long day at work.
According to a recent literature review, research shows that the implementation of technology like TED or YouTubevideos while studying significantly increases your engagement. These digital tools make the learning process more interactive and fun, so you feel more motivated to tackle your schoolwork.
Improved Retention and Comprehension
Adult learners often need to study in short bursts between chores, work meetings, and other responsibilities. Digital tools allow students to learn and retain foreign languages, math, science, and other concepts more effectively and quickly.
- Auditory: These learners quickly grasp spoken content delivered through lectures and videos.
- Visual: These students prefer to learn by looking at materials like diagrams and handouts.
- Kinesthetic: Hands-on activities and movements allow these learners to process information most efficiently.
You can find online resources for all adult learning styles. For instance, visual learners can use interactive math games like Probability Math Puzzles. Likewise, websites like iTunes and Spotify offer educational podcasts for audio lovers.
Convenience and Flexibility
Digital tools allow adult learners to study at any time and place. For instance, you can listen to a recorded lecture while you drive your kids to soccer practice and play vocabulary games on your smartphone while dinner cooks.
Research shows that microlearning — or studying in short but frequent intervals — improves focus and retention. So these flexible tools increase efficiency and productivity.
Embrace Personalized Learning Experiences
Many educational technologies personalize their content for each student. For example, the Brilliant app delivers interactive lessons on topics like computer science and data analysis that are tailored to the user’s skill level. Tools like Brilliant help adult learners identify their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately achieve their learning goals. Incorporating these tools into study sessions can improve academic performance and boost motivation.
Enhanced Learning Tools
Enhanced learning tools use artificial intelligence (AI), gamification, and other technologies to provide engaging and immersive educational experiences. Here are three effective tools to explore:
- Interactive Quizzes: Websites like GoConqr and Quizlet allow students to take practice tests and create their own. These quizzes use AI to track users’ progress and prioritize their weakest concepts.
- Virtual Simulations: These tools use virtual reality to let students practice skills in an online learning environment. For example, the Virtunomics simulations allow players to study advanced economics, develop business strategies, and hone leadership skills.
- Multimedia Resources: These online resources appeal to multiple learning styles by combining more than one form of media, like text and video. One famous example is Duolingo, which uses audio, images, and text to teach users foreign languages.
Many companies have developed free or low-cost educational applications for smartphones and tablets. These apps let you study on the go and often include fun features like virtual rewards for meeting goals.
Examples of educational apps include:
- Memrise: This AI-powered app lets you practice speaking in foreign languages.
- Enki: Learn how to use data science tools like Excel and Tableau with the AI-powered enki
Online Courses and Webinars
Webinars and online courses for adults enable adult students to explore new subjects and enrich their understanding of difficult concepts. These websites can help you get started:
- TED: Watch free TED talks–or lectures–on hundreds of subjects from leading scholars and industry experts.
- Khan Academy: This powerful tool features thousands of interactive exercises and videos on virtually any subject.
Digital Assessment Tools
Online assessment tools allow you to check your understanding of concepts and identify areas of improvement. Check out these tools:
- Varsity Tutors: This website offers free diagnostic math tests and helps you develop a personalized study guide based on your results.
- Mometrix: Assess your readiness for the Graduate Record Exam with Mometrix’s free GRE Practice Test.
Take Advantage Of Available Online Resources and Learn How C2C Can Help
Going back to school can be stressful, but digital tools give adults access to ample learning resources. Returning learners in Mississippi can also take advantage of the resources provided by the Complete 2 Compete (C2C) program.
C2C is a free Mississippi student aid program that provides one-on-one coaching for adult learners who have been out of school for two or more years. We help students plan their educational journeys and unlock new career opportunities. You may also be eligible for a renewable C2C Grant that you can use to pay for tuition and other educational expenses.
Connect with a C2C Coach by completing our easy application.