With a track record of almost a decade and a half in eLearning, we are now able to draw patterns. How do our avid learners prefer to learn? What mode and medium do they use? Let’s explore and demonstrate the learner preference for eLearning. Training managers and instruction designers, take notes. Based on this information, you can make valuable changes to your current courses!
Think about credit cards! Companies issuying them have been notorious for hooking us with card after card. How do they do that? Simple: they create points and reward systems to keep you sliding your card in every possible slot! You spend more and they earn interest off your payments. This is gamification in disguise.
In eLearning, we use points to motivate learners to complete the course or to collaborate with their peers in a fun and engaging way. Moreover, gamified courses are plumped up with augmentations, animations and compelling storylines. We must say, gamification is the way to go!
Definitely one of the most beneficial trends in eLearning right now.
2. MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)
MOOCs are jumping out all over the Internet. In fact, higher education giants like MIT, Princeton and Yale, all have a “MOOC presence”. Virtual universities are growing rapidly. Learners are quickly becoming certified and getting better jobs as a result. MOOCs are usually free, but some do require fees. But what we know is that the future of eLearning will see a lot of MOOCs. Roll your sleeves and explore a MOOC for your own ideas!
3. Personalized learning
Learners are now the ones to craft their own learning paths. Talk about learner autonomy and freedom. To be honest, today’s adult learners are more motivated and focused than ever! They are quickly able to determine which chapters in an eLearning module to hit and which ones to miss, and it is your job to try and make most of them appeal to the users of your course. Make sure you provide this flexibility in your courses. This one is not to be missed in your next course!
4. mLearning and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
mLearning is everywhere! It’s no surprise, as handhelds are hot stuff in every aspect, not just a trend in eLearning. Smartphones have finally replaced tablets, which replaced laptops, which in turn had replaced desktops! Smaller screens mean two things: Instruction developers need to know HTML5 and they need to break content into “nibble-sized chunks”. Sorry, bite-sized chunks do not apply.
5. Augmented learning
Augmented reality has stepped out of the movies and the games, like Pokemon Go. We talk to each other exactly like Master Yoda spoke through his virtual form with a Jedi in Star Wars! Learners can be placed in a replica of their work space, or a modeled 3D environment, with content pop-ups and features superimposed. It’s nowadays as real a feeling as it sounds!
As an eLearning developer, you may not be required to create augmented figures, but you can use this option by hiring graphic designers. Not a bad idea for the beginning vignette, to hook your learners with one of the trends in eLearning!
6. APIs (Application Programming Interface)
SCORM and TinCan are examples of APIs in eLearning; basically these programs have built-in instructions for applications to talk to each other, so that the content is compatible and platform-independent. TinCan enables learners to collect data online and offline. APIs aid in tracking learner progress and using your content through a multitude of software suites, seamlessly.
7. Cloud LMS
Cloud-based services for learning management systems and course authoring tools have taken the eLearning industry by storm! With flexible payment packages and easy-to-use features, many companies are opting for this kind of training programs, to avoid outsourcing instructional designers and eLearning developers.
8. Flash HTML5 conversion
Platform-independence was almost impossible to achieve just a few years ago. What you saw on a tablet may not have been available on your laptop, and vice versa! Enter the magic of HTML5! It can play audio, video, 2D/3D graphics and animation, all without a plug-in.
In addition, HTML5 also gives hardware access, offline storage, and supports cloud-based applications. If you know HTML, then HTML5 will be a breeze for you, and is absolutely the way to go in today’s device-agnostic environment.
9. Wearable learning
You read that right! Smartwatches will soon be the talk of more than the town, and one of the hottest trends in eLearning. Do not underestimate the screen size. There are many apps available for in-the-moment, on-the-job performance improvement, such as alerting a worker when they are performing a task incorrectly or unsafely, through motion-sensor technologies. Personal tracking and coaching from remote areas is also a great application of smartwatches.
10. Video in learning
By now, you must have created an instructional video of your own! Everyone can create videos! Truly, consumers have become developers of knowledge. We know of a certain business in cake art design that took off (and is still flying high) after the owner got inspired through some homemade videos on cake icing! Where do you look for how-to information when you need it? YouTube!
As a training developer, ask your managers and other senior staff to record their videos to show how things are done. This will not only improve the performance in your company, it will also reduce costs! Video with audio and overlaid text can cater for many learning types and special needs. Not to be missed!
Trends get a bad name in fashion as superficial, but trends in eLearning have a more substantial role to play, as they are based on new tech developments that add value to training programs. And this list contains only those trends that either have stood the test of time, or show great promise today. So keep it as reference and try to incorporate these exciting aspects into your next course!