Based on what we know now and by closely following the new eLearning technologies that keep evolving, I believe the following eLearning trends will be established or further developed in the near future:
1..Massive Open Online Courses
This flexible and diverse concept sounds simple -online videos of real-life lectures-, but not when it involves the astronomic number of 36,000 students, which is how many people enrolled in one of Harvard’s first massive online courses. And it’s not just Harvard that jumped on the MOOC bandwagon.
2. Credits & fees for MOOCs
It’s only natural that MOOC will eventually stop being a free service, since they do require the presence of an instructor, the use of technology, and quite soon content providers will have to enrich them with webinars, discussions, wikis, etc.
3. The importance and greater recognition of informal learning
Accessibility and availability of social media tools enable and encourage people to gain the information they need. This is bound to continue and evolve in the future, thanks to the plethora of free learning resources, such as podcasts, videos, blogs, tools, webinars, etc.
4. Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible documents and media, quite often written by the world’s best authorities on any subject and sector. This can only mean one thing. The role of the traditional educator will be transformed. And all this knowledge available should be used wisely, creatively and effectively to support learning in or outside the traditional classrooms such as in corporate world or customer services training in a company. An example of this can be seen at sky customer services which actively uses OERS to impart training to their employees.
5. The concept of research will be upgraded
This is linked to the above-mentioned role of the instructor/educator. Tedious publications, worn lectures, and absence of updated material will soon come to their very end, if they have not already come to an end! Students’ participation in knowledge building is the new comparative advantage for those who want to stand out in the education field. Knowledge is easily accessible and we need to let our students/learners create knowledge autonomously.
6. Big data
Most L&D departments are required to quantitatively prove the worth of their learning strategies to stakeholders with accurate statistics and in-depth information. As well as demonstrating the effectiveness of digital learning, the increased adoption of big data will allow E-Learning administrators to personalise learning content, provide timely motivation and test the effectiveness of various learning theories and strategies.
7. Growing influence of learning communities
The term is multifaceted, implying extending classroom practice, curriculum enhancement, student tasks, engagement of students, teachers and administrators, etc. They support learning, promote collective creativity and shared leadership, and unite learning groups with shared values, vision and practices in a global perspective.
8. Mobile Learning
Mobile learning, also known as mLearning, is not simply eLearning on a mobile device. The eLearning material for mobile learning is specifically developed for mobile devices and the proper course content conversion demands skillful Instructional Design that is compatible with mobile devices. eLearning has become a fiercely consumer driven industry and the developers of eLearning contents focus on prioritizing the client’s needs (Clark and Mayer, 2016, p.67).
A mobile consumer report by Google and Ipsos MediaCT found that 80% of users won’t leave home without their smartphone. This level of market penetration coupled with a global digitisation effort reinforcing the indispensibility of mobile devices necessitates the consideration of mobile learning in every L&D strategy.
9. Gamification In Learning
This is a trend which aims at making learning a fun experience for individuals and has become one of the most sensational eLearning trends in 2016. Gamification of learning is not just meant for kids, but it equally engaging for adults and facilitates interaction. Gamification is not a very new trend; however, it is an ever evolving one. This is an extremely powerful tool that improves learner innovation, skills, and problem solving capabilities.
In a world that is perennially in haste, microlearning is the trend that is catching up the fastest. This eLearning trend involves mini bytes of learning content made available to the learner or user to incorporate in his daily busy schedule without much difficulty (Hung, J.L. 2012, p.8). Microlearning utilizes 5-10 minute videos, single page documents, focused articles, specific, small chunks of data or lessons and other such innovative and concise training resources that doesn’t burden the learner with too much cognitive reading.
11. Tin Can API
Following on from an incredible year in 2014, Tin Can API is likely to continue to grow in popularity and adoption in 2015. Tin Can is a Learning Record Store (LRS) capable of tracking a learner’s progress as they engage in traditional, formal learning as well as informal, social learning. Tin Can is set to overtake SCORM as the go-to industry standard LRS.
12. Cloud-Based eLearning Systems
Cloud-based corporate training is steadily gaining ground and the latest trend has seen Learning Management Systems and authoring tools switch to cloud-based platforms. Cloud-based online training is easily accessible to employees and reduces training costs significantly (Hung, J.L. 2012, p.10). Additionally, updating online training content and introducing new products and features is easy on Cloud and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes.
13. Wearable Technology Training
Wearable gadgets are the new rage in the world of technology. Google Glass, Apple Watch, and Oculus Rift are some of the gadgets that have pioneered the rising trend of Virtual Reality in eLearning through wearable gadgets. These wearable tech devices help users to interact with eLearning content in a multi-dimensional and more dynamic way (Clark and Mayer, 2016, p.68). These devices make eLearning more engaging and interactive to individuals. Technological advancements in the field make Virtual Reality more appealing with the help of 3D simulations and scenarios in the eLearning realm.
14. In-house content authoring
Technical advances, cost savings and a wider selection of rapid authoring tools means that L&D practitioners at all levels of technical capability can create their own E-Learning content. An indicator of the growing potential of authoring tools lies in the release of Articulate Storyline 2 and the increased functionality that comes along with it.
With organisations increasingly keen to monitor both formal and social learning, Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are set to be a big trend for 2015. Forecasts show that Learning Management Systems will grow at a rate of 25% for the next 5 years, reaching $7.8 billion in 2018.