Corporate eLearning in 2017: 6 key trends to be aware of

Corporate eLearning in 2017: 6 key trends to be aware of

Corporate eLearning is in a class of its own – but it’s not isolated from other business elements. eLearning in a corporate setting has to be structured, compliant with various regulations, universally adoptable and financially viable across many geographic regions. That’s because corporate eLearning has to be scalable.

With all this in mind, what is going to change in the world of corporate eLearning in 2017?

In this article, we’ll cover 6 trends that we believe (from a combination of data and personal intuition) are going to play a key role in the development of corporate eLearning in 2017.

Some of these are rather revolutionary ideas; many, however, are in fact older trends that – astonishingly – haven’t been widely adopted specifically within a corporate eLearning setting as of yet. Without further ado, we present to you:

1. Adaptive programs and further diversification of delivery options

eLearning is a great concept and over the years its effectiveness and uses have only grown. Admittedly, however, static eLearning – meaning how it was when the concept was first developed back in late 20th century – is not as effective for today’s audience.

eLearning just needs to be mobilized to the best of its capabilities, that’s all.

Adaptive eLearning programs offer so much more than static eLearning, as they accommodate specific users’ requirements, allowing them to progress through certain areas that they are evidently more familiar with, quicker than others.

Providing different options for eLearning delivery is also a way to make training suitable for each individual, and by combining this ‘freshening up’ of content with brand new features such as 3D Learning, you’re onto a winner.

We realize that more recent technological developments such as 3D Learning may not be adopted within corporate eLearning for some time, but adaptive programs are a no-brainer. The only real barrier is cost. The actual process will barely change, making this an appealing investment due to its likelihood to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and achievement of learning outcomes while causing minimal disruption to operations.

2. Collaborative and social (heard that before) – but actually implemented!

Although we’ve had the technology for a while, corporate eLearning, in particular, is an area where social and collaborative practices simply are not being adopted. Speaking from first-hand experience, eLearning remains relatively siloed and thus significantly less effective than it is capable of being in corporate environments.

Let’s succinctly explain this with a slightly nerdy metaphor: far too often, eLearning remains much like a neglected Intranet system when it has the potential to be a popular, active social network in a corporate setting.

Although collaborative and social aspects of eLearning such as group tasks, gamification (which we’ll cover later) performance leaderboards, forums, video conferencing etc. are nothing new, 2017 should finally be the year that these elements come into play in the corporate training world, big time.

3. Author diversity

This one is a personal hunch rather than data-backed or experienced-based like the rest of the trends in this post, but we do truly believe that – perhaps even only to a minor degree – author diversity will grow in 2017.

With eLearning possessing the capability to be a company-wide training device for large multinational corporations, we as an industry must embrace and drive this.

Employing culturally diverse authors – many of whom who could work remotely – is a way of providing a more comprehensive eLearning platform on a global scale. That’s the kind of thing that appeals to the corporate giants of this world, so we expect to see it develop in the year to come.

4. Fully responsiveness across devices

Again, this is nothing new to us.

Being able to take an eLearning course on a desktop, laptop, tablet or other mobile device is commonplace, and so it should be. The problem is that a vast number of companies still believe that their employees only require their eLearning to be available on their desktop.

We wish we could report where they got that information from – but it’s quite possible that in 99% of cases if they spoke to their employees, the outcome would be completely different.

The issue is that if a work-from-home culture isn’t present, employers can’t imagine their employees wanting – or being able – to engage in eLearning anywhere other than their desk. The reality that we acknowledge, however, is that work-from-home or not, eLearning must be accessible across all devices.

For example, mLearning would allow employees to be more productive, handing them the opportunity to take time away from their desk and work in a different environment that is, most likely, less monotonous – and more mentally stimulating. There’s also the possibility of giving your employees the option – if they wish – to make the most of their commute or lunch break to complete their designated training.

5. Gamification

Gamification has yet to gain real traction, despite predictions that by 2015, 40% of the world’s 1,000 biggest companies would utilize some form of gamification.

However, there are signs that these ambitious predictions may not be totally ridiculous in their estimations. WallMart – publically regarded as the largest organization globally by revenue – undertook an enormous scale (75,000 participants) gamification project in order to improve safety and efficiency.

The results? A reduction in workplace accidents to below industry average, and lost time cut by 50% – in just 6 months!

In a more recent report, Gartner have reeled in their expectations of gamification, touching upon how their research has uncovered dubious attitudes towards gamification from organizations who doubt it’s capability to be a long-term device for engaging their staff.

That said, Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce now, and what better way to engage millennials than with gamification?

6. Increased senior buy-in

Many of the trends we’ve discussed in this article relate to a shift in attitude towards corporate eLearning. Senior personnel at such organizations are coming to a realization after, for example, observing the success of eLearning as a delivery method across their industry.

Whatever the cause, the realization is this: that in the vast majority of cases, a lack of participation or non-achievement of desired learning outcomes often relates to internal attitudes rather than eLearning as a method of training.

To help solve this, confidence, enthusiasm, and obvious buy-in to the platform from the top down are essential. eLearning is not going away; in fact, it’s growing. Perhaps C-levels are realizing that too – expect to see a gradual alteration in attitudes towards eLearning in your organization over the course of the next year.


We’ve often focused on emerging technologies that have the power to transform the corporate eLearning landscape. But, as is true for most businesses, the most powerful element in this equation is not the tech itself, but rather the attitudes of the users, the learners and their bosses. We hope this list might bring some clarity as to what you really should strive for in the year to come, and where the industry is going towards.

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