educationtechnologyinsights

The Ever-Evolving and Trending E-Learning Space

By Becky Vasquez, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Becky Vasquez, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

In the light of your experience what are the trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening with respect to the ​E-Learning space?

A decade ago, considerations for online learning included the validity of the modality. As institutions continue to demonstrate students can competently achieve learning outcomes within the online learning environment, E-Learning has become much more competitive and a true disruptor for higher education.

"An action centric and story based course content that leads to concrete learning and student satisfaction can be an advantage for institutions, especially when considering the next generation student"

Adaptive learning tailored towards the individual learner is a compelling trend. These learning paths based on what a student knows, how they learn best, and what they need to learn helps center the teaching and learning environment on an individual student versus students in mass. Content, course sequencing, and assessments are provided based on a student’s knowledge in a course. Every student is unique and I believe we can leverage technology to help serve the distinct needs each has, ultimately helping them be successful in their educational careers and beyond. Technology provides us with flexibility to meet the diverse needs of a distributed learning model.  

Gamification in education is something I’ve been intrigued with for the past several years. I believe game-based learning will continue to demonstrate the power of play and learning. Course design and well thought out gamification aspects are a critical components for student engagement. An action centric and story based course content that leads to concrete learning and student satisfaction can be an advantage for institutions, especially when considering the next generation student.   

Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?

We recently launched a retention system for advising team members and are integrating with our learning management system. We are using data points to devise a retention score for academics. This includes a student’s interaction with the learning management system, such as number of days since last login, missing assignments and other key activities; helping advisors quickly understand at a glance if a student may be at risk or not. Retaining students is a top priority for us and this helps us spend more time with students versus reviewing disparate data points. 

What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?

Strategic level items are of importance in addition to operational level items where effective communications are an imperative. Embry-Riddle has five strategic focus areas. We make a conscious effort to align our activities, especially strategic technology initiatives, to at least one of these areas.

Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and how they reflect on your leadership strategy?

Knowing what I like and I’m passionate about has always helped me be successful, both professionally and personally.  When I believe in something, I want to be the best I can be. This doesn’t mean perfect, it means something is worth my time and energy and I should try to do my best. Not trying or trying a little is something anyone can do. When something is worth it to you, it’s time to be more than just anybody, which I find rewarding. I spend as much time as I can on activities that genuinely bring me happiness. I love to cook, decorate, and other creative activities. Creativity is very important to me professionally. Blending technical leadership skills with creative approaches continues to help me evolve as a leader.

How do you see the evolution of the ​E-Learning arena a few years from now with regard to some of its potential disruptions and transformations?

E-Learning provides flexibility for anytime and anywhere learning. In addition, E-Learning can provide an economical option. There is potential for E-Learning to enhance the traditional university experience as additional learning opportunities may be sought by students, in addition to the classroom. This opportunity can provide scheduling flexibility and maximize classroom utilization. As more students in the K-12 space take online classes, I predict traditional students will take more credit hours online than ever before.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to a fellow or aspiring professional in your field, looking to embark on a similar venture or professional journey along the lines of your service and area of expertise?

Become involved. I started immersing myself into E-Learning about 15 years ago and took on any related project or opportunity I could to better understand the world of E-Learning, connected with other professionals in the field and ultimately, constructed a knowledge base around a fascinating topic. Early in my career, I wrote white papers, did presentations, led projects and anything else I could around E-Learning. This helped create a robust professional network and also built credibility around my work and dedication to the field of E-Learning.

Read Also

How We Remodeled our E-learning Initiatives for Improved Outcomes

How We Remodeled our E-learning Initiatives for Improved Outcomes

Peggy Moore, Director of E-learning, Instructional Designer, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Technology as a Catalyst in Shaping the Educational Experience

Technology as a Catalyst in Shaping the Educational Experience

Eric Kunnen, Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies, Grand Valley State University
Credentialing on the Other Side of Higher Education

Credentialing on the Other Side of Higher Education

David Schejbal, Chief of Digital Learning, Marquette University
Designing, Developing, and Deploying Online Learning

Designing, Developing, and Deploying Online Learning

Kim Whiteside, Director of Workforce and IT Innovation - Corporate Online, Metropolitan Community College

Weekly Brief

New Editions