E-assessments, mobile learning, virtual reality and MOOCs will shape the future of education

  Photo: UOC

Photo: UOC

Elisabet Escriche
A report by the UOC analyses 855 articles on e-learning published worldwide during 2017

Learning via mobile devices, e-assessments, MOOCs (massive open online courses) and virtual reality are, in this order, the four most published e-learning topics in 2017. This is the conclusion of a report by the UOC’s e-Learn Centre, the online research, innovation and learning centre which analysed the 855 pieces of scientific research published on this subject area during this period that had the greatest impact.

Specifically, the report, entitled E-Learning Research Report 2017, analysed the publications of the two main scientific article databases, Scopus and Web of Science, and is the first to analyse all the articles on e-learning published worldwide during 2017 on an international level. According to the authors, Nria Molas-Castells and Marc Fuertes-Alpiste, until now there has been no overview allowing us to say which areas of e-learning worldwide research is focusing on.  “In spite of the fact that research always lags behind innovations or implementations in the classroom, this report tells us that these four key areas are establishing themselves in education and the evidence and the groundwork that the results of the research provide us will tell us what works and what does not”, the authors say.

With regard to learning via mobile devices, MOOCs and virtual reality, we can detect an interest in developing and implementing methodologies that will transform the traditional organization of education as well as online learning itself.  “E-learning is no longer represented by the image of a person at home on their own in front of a computer studying in isolation. The fact that the research is focusing on these three innovations means that we are moving towards a concept of ubiquitous learning that could take place anywhere and at any time; that access to education is open, massive and goes beyond credentials and very traditional institutions, and that the technical resources are moving towards submerging and involving us in learning environments in a more significant and profound way”, the authors claim.

As for e-assessment, they add, it is possible to interpret from the report that in spite of the search for innovative designs and methodologies, without a coherent and consistent assessment process, it will not be possible to advance in a comprehensive manner that takes the entire learning process into account, from design to assessment.

The report also makes a comparison with the subject areas research focused on throughout 2016.  In this regard, it concludes that there was a higher percentage of publications related to virtual reality, games and gamification. Despite this, in 2016 the three subject areas on which the most research was carried out were learning via mobile devices, e-assessment and MOOCs. However, e-health was in fourth place.

In terms of the educational stages focused on by the analysed research, the majority corresponded to degree courses (56.6%), followed by those in the professional context (12.6%) and, in third place, pre-university courses (8.5%).


Nria Molas-Castells and Marc Fuertes-Alpiste

Authors of the E-Learning Research Report 2017

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