Education technology, often referred to as Edtech, is gaining importance in enhancing learning experiences especially in the K-12 sector. Kids are using apps, like Motion Math, to learn fractions, proportions, and economics. Utilizing games and applications for teaching is becoming the new norm in classrooms. However, in the world of adult education, there is still hesitation on what to use and how to start. In fact, terms such as ’asynchronous’ and ’m-learning’ can be daunting to educators who predominately use traditional classroom training Entering into the world of Edtech doesn’t have to be intimidating, though. With just a few key terms and resources, you can begin a journey into finding rewards. The reality is that integrating technology into teaching isn’t going to go away, so whether you are in a C-suite position or on the front lines, it’s time to get acquainted with the new way of training.

Learning Key terms

Edtech professionals often use the terms asynchronous and synchronous. Asynchronous means the student learns without the presence of an instructor. Synchronous learning happens when both the student and teacher are together in real time. Both types of learning can incorporate technology to enhance the experience. For example, there are online games, such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, that are easy to download and will bring a little fun into a lecture.

Other key terms are blended learning and flipped classroom. Blended learning is when the instructor uses some online and didactic content. Whereas, the flipped classroom provides core content to the student ahead of time online and then uses the classroom to review, discuss, and/or analyze the online content. In other words, the student is expected to learn the information and use the classroom for application of the material.

The last key terms to understand are e-learning and m-learning. E-learning is learning done on the web whereas m-learning is learning through mobile devices. Sometimes, they are used interchangeably. However, if information is being provided through multi-media platforms, it is usually referred to as cross-platform learning or responsive learning. Learning these terms will assist you, as you begin to speak with instructional designers and developers.


Susan Finlayson, SVP, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD

Another great way to dive into the world of Edtech, is to immerse yourself in the extensive variety of articles, blogs, and whitepapers related to online training and development. Learning Solutions Magazine has articles and information on a wide range of subjects including learning management systems, authoring tools, and creative training strategies. There are also communities, such as Articulate E-learning Heroes and the E-learning Industry, who share best practices and encourage collaboration.

The best beginning is however, using one new technology in an upcoming class or meeting. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) is a great way to bring excellent curriculum to your organization. You can supplement a leadership development course with a MOOC on emotional intelligence, project management, or team building. These courses are full of rich content and combined with lunch. You have a quick and easy lunch and learn without having to create the curriculum. Other fun technologies to try in the beginning are i-Movie, Adobe Spark, or a downloadable game such as Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune.

Once you start using different types of media and technology, you will be amazed at the responses from your audience. Instead of checking social media or clicking through a dull voiced-over presentation, they will be engaged and focused on learning the content you are trying to provide to them. Simply challenging your team to create curriculum with at least one interactive component will help transition your organization towards more immersive training.

Located in Baltimore, MD, Mercy Medical Center is a Catholic health care facility, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, as well as a teaching hospital for the University of Maryland School of Medicine. It was founded in 1874.