10 E-Learning Trends to Watch in 2016

Being in touch with trends is crucial for anyone responsible for managing and delivering E-Learning and training within their organisation. So we’ve prepared for you our predicted 10 key E-Learning trends and foresights to watch out for in 2016.

If you missed our webinar on the e-learning trends to watch in 2016, you can view it here. 

10 trends to watch in 2016 infographic

You can also view, download and share our handy infographic from our slideshare page

1. Resources not courses

There is a big trend now in the E-Learning industry as whether we should be building resources rather than courses. Courses help prepare you for the future (just-in-case) and resources support you in the moment (just-in-time). At the crux of this is whether to build a course, structured with the resources or ditch the course and build a library of resources.

Another thing that is pushing the trend towards building resources is what we refer to as the ‘three moments of need’:

  • Learning something you need in the future (just in case)
  • Learning something that you need now (just in time)
  • Solving a problem (just in time)

A further factor that is also driving the move away from courses is the idea of microlearning or what is also referred to as bite-sized learning. Driving this is:

  • Cost
  • Attention span – shorter and sharper
  • Time poor
  • Flexibility

2. Gamification

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear the term gamification. Essentially what this means is what we, as creators and developers of online learning, can do to engage learners more in our e-learning. Often it can be seen as sweetening the pill, but it really can help learners engage more and motivate them to complete the e-learning content.

5 common mechanics used in gamification are:

  • Points
  • Badges
  • Levels
  • Leaderboards
  • Challenges

Learners like to have challenges. 4 main ways to drive engagement are:

  • Accelerated feedback cycles
  • Clear goals and rules of play
  • A compelling narrative
  • Challenging but achievable tasks

3. Explosion of devices

This is something that we are all aware of. This particular trend has been popping up for quite some time, however mobile learning itself is still in its infancy and has yet to make a real impact in E-Learning. Today though people have a multitude of different devices and they want to learn on all these devices. Although there is not a massive demand from clients at the moment for this, wearable technology such as the  Apple watch, will be something to consider in the future for delivery of e-learning.

4. Responsive design

This trend has primarily been driven by the increase in multi devices. Responsive design is a response to delivering content on multi devices. As you’re aware, taking a standard E-Learning module and scaling it down onto a smaller screen doesn’t work terribly well. Generally it works fine for a table providing the technical issues are sorted such as publishing it on HTML 5, but on the whole this generally doesn’t work on a smart phone as the screen is just too small and the screen is usually the wrong orientation.

So deciding what content to omit for smart phones is something to consider along with the capability of your learners as responsive e-learning is often a little harder to use as it requires more technical know-how than standard click next e-learning.

5. Continued rise of video

A lot of platforms today use video as their primary delivery mechanism, so missing video with resource downloads. In particular a lot of MOOC’s using video.  But video has a multitude of functions. At Aurion we use quite a lot of video, particularly as part of our E-Learning module build, embedding an explainer video or scenario based video as part of the programme. Something that we will be keeping an eye out for is video getting interactive.

6. Authoring in the cloud

Cloud based authoring tools have grown steadily over the past few years. These authoring tools are mobile ready, out of the box, some are responsive, and some aren’t. As a team working together on an e-learning project, these cloud based authoring tools are really powerful when used as part of a collaborative project. Because the programme built on the cloud and you press a button and it’s published on the cloud. So there isn’t an issue about getting it onto LMS and getting it working on the LMS.

If you design your own E-Learning in house, you will more likely start to use these cloud based authoring tools this year in combination with your standard authoring tools such as storyline.

7. Tin Can (xAPI)

Tin Can or the experience API in some ways a ties in with accessing e-learning content on multiple devices and resources rather than courses. The notion of Tin Can is that captures all of that, so no matter what we do, whether that is download a resource or comment on a blog, this is captured as part of our learning experience and in the case or Tin Can or xAPI it is record stored and can be accessed by multiple LMS’s. We think this technology is going to make great leaps forward in 2016 and beyond, potentially killing off scorm.

8. The new blend

The new blend of learning is not just combining traditional classroom methods and online learning, it is combining multi device learning, mixing courses with resources, different learning strategies, channels such as synchronous with asynchronous. There is a whole ream of possibilities for learning now by using a blend of technologies and channels and bringing all these things together to create a new learning experience. This is something that we will see more of in 2016.

9. Invisible LMS

Users will be looking to access learning without having to overcome any barriers of an LMS. People will be accessing learning in all different types of places, supported by Tin Can. What will be seeing more of in the future is what is referred to as the invisible LMS. It will still be tracked and reported on, but learners won’t always have to go to the corporate LMS in order to do their online learning.

10. The self-directed learner

Increasingly what we are seeing more of these days is learners wanting to take charge themselves. A lot of the technology mentioned above and approaches like resources more than courses supports this.

So what do you think will be big in 2016?

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

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