Higher educational institutions adopted digital learning in a short amount of time to overcome COVID-19 disruptions. The cutting-edge education technologies (edtech) made it easier for colleges and universities to switch from conventional classroom learning to digital learning. Likewise, cloud-based elearning solutions help higher education institutions to implement digital learning successfully without building and managing expensive IT infrastructure.

The consistent growth of digital learning indicates the significance of this instructional practice for modern educational organizations. Also, digital learning makes higher education accessible to a large number of and a wide variety of students. The digital learning solutions eliminated some of the prominent barriers to higher education – accessibility, flexibility, and affordability.

According to IntechOpen, the world’s leading publisher of open access books,

Students with disabilities, rural students, students with parental responsibilities, and military students are populations who now have increased access to higher education due to E-Learning.

While adopting and implementing digital learning in higher education, every educational institution has the option to choose from a wide range of elearning solutions –virtual classroom software, learning management system (LMS), online examination software, and digital library. Also, these elearning solutions enable them to overcome the barriers in higher education by implementing different types of digital learning.

Comparing 7 Widely Used Types of Digital Learning in Higher Education

1) Elearning/Online Learning

Online learning or electronic learning eliminates many academic barriers in education by enabling students to acquire knowledge in their own way over the internet. A higher educational institution can implement elearning successfully simply by allowing students to access multi-format digital content – ebooks, documents, videos, audiobooks, infographics, and presentations -over the internet.

Many educational institutions these days subscribe to ready-to-use digital libraries to accelerate and simplify online learning implementation. Also, the students can access the digital content anytime and anywhere using a computer or mobile device connected to the internet. This type of digital learning boosts higher education by facilitating self-paced learning.

2) Mobile Learning

According to StatCounter.com,

Mobile devices have 55.31% market share, while computers have 41.97% market share.

Hence, educational institutions cannot optimize access to higher education without enabling students to learn using their smartphones and tablets. This digital learning technique enhances access to higher education by leveraging the massive popularity of mobile devices.

An educational institution can easily implement mobile learning by choosing elearning solutions that can be accessed on mobile devices regardless of manufacturers and operating systems. However, they need to ensure that students can access the multi-format digital content using mobile devices without any hassle or delay.

3) Virtual Classroom

This digital learning technique improves higher education by enabling students to learn in virtual classrooms instead of conventional classrooms. Most elearning solutions these days support this form of digital learning. Also, educational institutions have the option to choose from a wide range of cloud-based virtual classroom software.

The virtual classroom solutions are developed with features to set up live classrooms. Also, they enable students to access content and learning materials in multiple digital formats. They further help teaches focus only on learning experience personalization by automating routine activities like attendance, assessment, and performance monitoring.

4) Blended Learning

As the name suggests, this type of digital learning enables higher education institutions to integrate teacher-led learning and self-paced learning. An educational institution can implement blended learning efficiently simply by choosing a cloud-based LMS that supports both self-paced learning and instructor-led learning.

Many educations institutions these days opt for blended learning to boost higher education by allowing students to interact with teachers directly in virtual classrooms. At the same time, the students can learn at their own pace by accessing digital content in multiple formats. This digital learning model is more effective in boosting students’ academic performance than online learning.

5) Gamified Learning

This digital learning model transforms conventional and virtual learning environments by integrating massively popular game elements – badges, coins, points, and leaderboards. Many educational institutions these days implement gamified learning to keep students interested, engaged, and motivated in a virtual and distributed learning environment.

The latest gamification statistics depict the effectiveness of this type of digital learning in higher education in improving knowledge retention academic performance. A higher educational institution can easily implement gamified learning by choosing an LMS or virtual classroom software developed with features and options to gamify the learning experience.

6) Social Learning

According to ScienceDirect.com,

Social learning theories emphasize the importance of the social context and posit that individuals can learn by observing others’ actions and whether these individuals are positively or negatively reinforced when exhibiting aggressive behaviors.

This type of digital learning in higher education makes students acquire knowledge by learning from each other. The students can acquire knowledge from each other through both face-to-face interactions and virtual interactions. They can interact with each other directly in virtual classrooms.

Also, they can learn from each other through virtual interactions on online discussion forums and social networks. The new-age LMSs and virtual classroom software are developed with features to facilitate social learning implementation by supporting both direct and indirect communication between students.

7) Learning Analytics

Learning analytics is a digital learning model that does not facilitate remote learning or online learning. It helps higher education institutions to deliver personalized learning and boost the learning experience by leveraging student data collected regularly through elearning solutions. Most LMSs and virtual classrooms these days feature built-in learning analytics systems.

According to Educational Technology Journal

Learning analytics systems capture student behaviors, which are commonly referred to as the ‘digital breadcrumbs’ students leave throughout the system within LMSs as students navigate and interact with their peers and the digital space.

Many experts believe that learning analytics has the potential to improve and transform higher education in the future.

Digital learning helps educational institutions to increase access to higher education by overcoming many barriers to higher education. An educational institution has the option to adopt and implement different types of digital learning. The decision-makers must remember that each type of digital learning in higher education has its pros and cons. Hence, they need to choose cloud-based elearning solutions that support multiple digital learning models and techniques.