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Learning in a Post-pandemic World: How eLearning is Establishing Itself as a Major Industry

Whether picking up some phrases in a new language via a YouTube video or ending up deep down a Wikipedia hole, we’ve all used the internet to learn something.

Online learning, or eLearning, presents many opportunities to reinvent the learning process. It can engage students on many levels and tailor the learning experience to individual needs. Passing on information and teaching new skills can be done in new and exciting ways, and there’s plenty of space for innovation.

The pandemic prompted schools and universities to offer their services online (98% of universities have moved online since 2020), while many of us were pushed to consider changing careers. The eLearning industry has since seen giant leaps forward and is constantly innovating.

This article will discuss all aspects of this exciting new industry and consider its future.

What is eLearning?

eLearning is essentially digital learning. It represents all techniques and methods used to pass on information electronically. These can vary from simulations, quizzes, and games to more conventional forms such as online lectures and workshops.

eLearning, for the most part, involves structure. Think of it like a regular course, but online. Typically, a Learning Management System (LMS) is used to deliver the course material in an efficient manner.

Interest in eLearning is growing significantly, especially since the pandemic began. Statistics about online learning suggest the market is expected to grow by 110% by 2026. Our lifestyles have changed, with many of us eschewing the commute to work from home. We have clawed back time, and many of us are interested in using the extra hours to develop and educate ourselves.

What Are the Advantages of eLearning?

The advantages of eLearning are clear, both for the provider and the student. For the former, it opens up the chance to attract a more extensive base of learners. Class numbers are no longer restricted to lecture theater size, and lectures themselves can be pre-recorded and used repeatedly. To put it simply, it is very cost-effective.

For students, eLearning offers the freedom to study however and whenever they like. Learning material can be repeated, notes can be shared, and teachers can be reached quickly. Multimedia implementation makes learning fun and engaging, not to mention more efficient.

Consequently, eLearning speeds up the learning process. Many aspects of teaching, such as grading, can be automated, and answers can be obtained from learning resources without waiting for a teacher to be available.

It also opens up the possibility of learning wherever you are and, for the most part, whenever you are available. eLearning does a lot to level the learning playing field, giving people from all backgrounds the chance to acquire knowledge in a way that suits them.

eLearning is adaptable. Because of technological development, online courses can keep up and provide skills matching job requirements – courses can change or be adjusted to meet the job market’s needs. This is particularly true for tech-related courses focusing on the latest in-demand programming languages. As demand shifts, so do courses.

What Are the Disadvantages of eLearning?

There are plenty of critics of the eLearning style of teaching. Some say studying online with others takes away the social element of learning, a crucial aspect of education. While interaction is limited, many eLearning companies promote discussion between coursemates to foster camaraderie and knowledge sharing.

Another point to consider is student self-motivation – retention rates for eLearning courses vary from 35% – 60%. eLearning requires a greater personal drive and better time management skills. That’s because students are effectively on their own and must push themselves to interact with the course in a meaningful and effective way. This is why eLearning companies go to great lengths to encourage students, and many offer mentors whose aim is to keep up motivation and enthusiasm.

Finally, eLearning, by nature, focuses on theory, which isn’t that useful for some subjects. Conducting an experiment or carrying out a repair can be taught much more effectively in real life. That said, by providing an immersive online learning environment, this hurdle can be overcome.

How Is Online Learning Changing Education?

The pandemic forced learning online overnight. It was this need to bring learning resources online that has pushed through many innovative developments in education.

By trial and error, new ways of passing on knowledge electronically have been developed. Higher Ed’s 2021 annual report, which provides plenty of online education statistics, notes that half of the professors surveyed said eLearning is an “effective teaching method.”

What Are the Most Popular Online Learning Courses?

Many courses follow eLearning trends, which are often related to job market demands. While more traditional academic curricula exist, eLearning courses often focus on preparing people for work. There are a few types of online courses that stand out due to how popular they are.

Especially highly rated are eLearning courses that teach skills required by tech companies. Coding and analyzing data can be taught easily online and, more importantly, can be learned by anyone regardless of their language.

Similarly, online marketing courses are also popular. Demand for marketing roles is very high, with Marketing Week reporting that such positions are increasing at the highest rate.

Finally, the demand for online courses focusing on personal development has risen sharply since the beginning of the pandemic. This broad term encompasses everything from language learning to cookery classes. Future Learn reports that 40% of Americans are interested in studying the topic in the next five years.

How Much Do Online Learning Courses Cost?

Online course prices vary greatly. An analysis of online eLearning courses found that, on average, a course costs $177. The length of the course, resources needed, and perceived value all play a part in the overall pricing.

The fact that eLearning courses can be expensive to create also contributes to this.

What Does the Future Hold for eLearning?

eLearning is constantly evolving and adapting. There are many trends and technologies that are pushing eLearning forward.

Of all the eLearning trends, the rise in adaptive learning is possibly among the most interesting. Adaptive learning is a user-centric method of education where all resources and assignments are adapted to the student’s individual needs. This highly personalized learning experience adapts in real-time to suit the individual student’s pace of learning.

Social learning is another growing eLearning trend. The concept is simple – we all learn from people around us, so why not incorporate that into the eLearning experience? An instant chat feature in eLearning software helps students overcome boundaries in their learning. Similarly, having an online forum and dedicated communities can help foster a learning environment that provides invaluable help to students.

Elearning Is Forcing Through Progress in Education

eLearning solves many of the problems associated with traditional learning models, which often present geographical and financial barriers. It is more adaptable and dynamic than conventional forms of learning.

But with this new learning model comes new challenges. The social aspect of learning is taken away, which is clearly valuable to many people. “Learning by doing” is, for the most part, impossible, presenting obvious challenges. As a result, engagement is an issue.

It’s undoubtedly clear that eLearning is here to stay and is revolutionizing the education industry. Stuffy lectures, unhelpful handouts, and unengaging exercises are being pushed out in favor of dynamic and exciting courses that engage students better. What happens next will be very exciting – and we’re curious to see it through.

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wpadmin October 31, 2022 0 Comments

Six Steps to Get to Know Your Clients

For your business to amplify its growth, you must turn to your customers as early as possible and put the insights you get into action. Otherwise, you risk not knowing your clients enough, resulting in products and marketing activities that do not resonate with your users.

That’s why Customer Obsession is one of the guiding principles at Hostinger. We’ve been reaching out to our clients so we could actually connect with them and make Hostinger the best platform for SMBs and prosumers to achieve their goals online.

This mindset is what led to the conception of the Customer Interview initiative. I’ll share how this project came to be and how it has helped Hostinger so you can implement a similar initiative to scale your own operations!

Identifying the Issue

The web hosting industry is tough, and the competition is constantly increasing. Only the fastest and most effective businesses survive and can thrive. On the other hand, the global market is enormous, so many different players can emerge and succeed.

Hostinger is focused on having the best product and exceptional customer support. We know that users value that immensely since they like sharing their experiences within their circles.

When I joined Hostinger back in 2017, our team’s main goal was – and still is – to use the traction we have to create scalable new user acquisition loops and keep our pace of growth increasing.

At some point, we realized that we didn’t know our clients enough. We develop products and services or activate various marketing strategies but lack certainty whether they actually strike a chord with our core audience.

We understood that this was inhibiting Hostinger’s growth – for it to accelerate, we’d need to unlock real relationships with our clients.

So, we got to work.

Planning Pathways

A collage of Hostingerians in action next to Hostinger's values.

I was aware of the Golden Questions by Sean Ellis, CEO of Qualaroo. They emphasize the importance of asking the right questions to discover where exactly your customers are coming from, what their reservations and fascinations are, and how they see your business in relation to your competition.

The Golden Questions are a surefire way to get actionable feedback that can actually improve conversions. For example, asking your customer, “What’s the one thing that nearly stopped you from buying from us?” may reveal surprising answers and information you would’ve never come across otherwise.

There may be a lot of noise, but all it takes is one brilliant idea – and your customers are full of them, I assure you.

After some deliberation, we implemented the Golden Questions in our CRM process. This was very helpful, sure, but I still felt that it hadn’t allowed us to truly know our clients – not to mention the process wasn’t flexible enough.

That’s why I started looking for a different approach. While networking and seeking information from within the industry, I found the tips by Louis Grenier, the founder of EveryoneHatesMarketers.com, that changed everything.

Top Tips for Understanding

Here’s Louis’ six-step guide on talking to and setting up efficient interviews with your clients:

  1. Create a segment of your best customers (based on whatever information you have available).
  2. Write a customer interview script for your team with simple instructions (listen more than you talk, don’t be afraid to improvise, etc).
  3. Add your entire team to your Calendly (or similar) account.
  4. Create an evergreen Zoom meeting and set it to “Automatically record on the cloud.”
  5. Create a round-robin event by allowing customers to choose a time with any available member of your team and link the Zoom meeting to it.
  6. Set up an automated email after a specific customer event (eg, registered 30 days ago) and add that Calendly link.

These six simple steps were exactly what we needed. We took some time for internal promo campaigns to rustle up the project’s release.

It felt essential to have everyone from the CEO to engineers and designers take part, not just the client-facing colleagues. So we drummed up excitement within our teams, encouraging an atmosphere of communication and creativity.

And after two weeks, everything was ready to go.

Everyone Has a Story to Tell

Hostinger CMO Daugirdas Jankus engaged in animated conversation.

I was overjoyed to see the levels of interest in participating. The initial challenge of the sheer volume of interviews we had to navigate resolved itself naturally. While waiting for their turn on the schedule, colleagues watched other conversations taking place. This also helped calm the nerves of anyone new to client interaction.

It was super inspiring to watch this project develop. The more interactions we had with clients, the more amazing worlds unfolded, and we learned from each other. A deeper understanding of your customers builds empathy and establishes connections through confidence, helping all the involved parties grow.

So far, we’ve had around 1,500 client interviews. To say they’ve been inspiring would be an understatement.

For example, I talked with Paul of Peedie Models, who lives on a Scottish island with few inhabitants. Even though he is a gifted model maker, this made it challenging for him to grow the business, especially during the pandemic.

Following Hostinger Tutorials, he learned the basics of getting his craft online and spurred his online business, which is now highly successful. Without our services, this would not have been possible. He expressed so much appreciation for Hostinger during the interview – I was touched beyond words.

Talking with individuals like Paul has allowed me and other Hostinger team members to really understand how our services impact people’s lives and livelihoods.

Hearing how we’re helping a single mother move her business online, so she’s not tied to a geographical location while her son is studying abroad or how an 84-year-old pastor can reach out to his parishioners without worrying that his church’s site would go down gives new meaning to how we approach our client relationships.

And the best thing – it lets me and the other Hostingerians really live and breathe the Customer Obsession principle.

You can check out some of the stories that arose from the interviews on our blog’s Customer Experience section!

Simple Steps for Everyone

What’s become clear from the customer interview initiative is that everyone wants to interact, learn new things, meet new people, and feel good vibes.

Next up is making the insights gained from the interviews actionable. We are making business decisions based on them, like improving the access management systems for freelancers and agencies for more convenient functionalities or tailoring our Hostinger Academy YouTube tutorials around our customers’ needs and observations.

You can always do better, so we are constantly improving our processes. The initiative has started us on an exciting new journey – it’s rare for any strategy to be as valuable and as inexpensive.

We now factor customer interviews as essential to client feedback and interaction. I suggest you do the same. So grab the toolbox, put your own spin on it, and use it to scale your business.

And most importantly – don’t forget to rock & roll!

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wpadmin October 28, 2022 0 Comments

Protect yourself from school surveillance tech

The reach of “Big Brother” gets wider seemingly every day, and students in schools are the latest target.

Educational institutions are now using technology to protect students from cyberbullying, violence, and other online risks, and the popularity of surveillance technology is growing. But those who’ve spent time on a school campus may have observed that students today must watch their own digital backs, too. Many schools implement surveillance technology that may arguably cross the line, shifting from mere protection to an invasion of privacy.

Wired reports that some schools use monitoring software that tracks students’ online searches. Software also scans students’ emails. In some cases, this software even alerts law enforcement of alleged risks. And it’s not just elementary and high school students that face this surveillance. The Dallas Morning News recently discovered that colleges have been using an AI social media monitoring tool to monitor student protesters.

The US federal government has caught wind of this issue. The White House recently urged schools to refrain from continuously monitoring students if digital monitoring tools are likely to infringe on students’ rights. Yahoo! News reports White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s official position is that AI-based tools, in education and beyond, should be secure and effective, avoid discrimination, ensure reasonable privacy protections, be open about their actions, and offer the option of having decisions reviewed by a human.

Your data is at stake

The technology used by schools to spy on students can compromise more than just the answers to last week’s math test. When a student logs onto a school Wi-Fi network from a shared family device, non-academic information including medical records, bank information, or anything else transmitted to or from that device can easily be seen.

There are many legal gray areas regarding what a school must disclose about data privacy practices and monitoring. Keep in mind that the big tech companies developing the school surveillance tools may also have access to your data. Big tech might just use the data for product development, but they might also sell it to advertisers to target you online.

“The point of all this data collection is to influence your behavior, whether it’s getting you to buy a product, promoting compulsive behavior, or even pushing an ideology,” Casey Oppenheim, CEO of Disconnect, told Gizmodo. “When you put that in the context of kids, there’s something about it that’s really sinister.”

Does surveillance technology in schools work?

While safeguarding young learners seems like a noble cause, there is little evidence to suggest that surveillance can effectively protect students. In fact, there have been multiple reports of school surveillance technology causing harm. Monitoring software has publicly exposed students’ sexual orientation without their consent. Students from low-income, Black, and Hispanic backgrounds are also disproportionately subject to surveillance and punishment.

Some surveillance is required by law. All schools must use some form of web filtering in the United States to prevent students from accessing obscene or harmful material online, according to 2020’s Children’s Internet Protection Act.

But schools are far from required to use sophisticated technologies like Gaggle that scan the content of students’ emails and notify the police. Some schools pay Gaggle thousands per year to monitor students’ class work and communications. Student (and sometimes faculty) emails are monitored in real-time, and if the system flags any emails, it then prevents messages from reaching their intended recipients. Files and documents are reviewed later after the message is blocked. Suicide, drunk, gayand lesbian are just a few of the banned words that can cause a message to fall into a Gaggle black hole.

Protecting your privacy at school

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your and your family’s privacy from spying school IT departments.

Install privacy-friendly apps

Apps are the first line of defense when it comes to digital privacy. Fortunately, many apps on the market protect teens’ data and keep their communications private. DuckDuckGo offers mobile apps and browser extensions that block hidden trackers from school networks and beyond.

The Do Not Track Kids app, from security firm Disconnect, blocks trackers across your entire device while teaching kids lessons about privacy in the process.

Limit the use of school-owned devices

School-issued devices like laptops and tablets can be great tools for learning, but they also leave a trail. While using a school-owned device is a requirement for some activities, take care never to look up anything online that isn’t related to an assignment. Clicking on an unknown website or reading a message board with a violent comment could trigger a red flag to surveillance apps.

Avoid talking about school on social media

Some schools have reportedly paid for social media surveillance services to monitor their students online. While the school’s intent may be to detect threats of violence and other negative chatter, it’s challenging to know what might trigger a response. So keep your school chatter in private chats, and be careful about engaging in heated conversations about your school online.

The ongoing fight for privacy

It’s troubling to know that many students, required by law to attend school, are also subject to mandatory surveillance with questionable motives. The fight for privacy will surely continue as technology makes tracking our locations, messages, and actions easier than ever. So as school surveillance technology reaches even wider, it’s crucial to take steps to protect the privacy of your family’s valuable data.

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wpadmin October 26, 2022 0 Comments