10 eLearning Trends You Need to Know for 2017

If you influence, or are responsible for learning and development in your organisation, you may want to keep an eye on the eLearning trends that are likely to make an impact in 2017.

To help you stay ahead of your game and on schedule for completing the annual reporting and forecasting, we’ve done the hard work for you and evaluated industry information and predicted the top 10 emerging eLearning trends of 2017, leaving you to take on board what’s happening!

We’ve also designed a handy 10 eLearning Trends for 2017 infographic for you that also shows whether each trend predicted is a design or tech trend, and a rating in terms of affordability.

1: Microlearning

There is constantly pressure in eLearning to do things quicker and shorter, but there is also limit to how far you can push that in the context of learning. Typically online learning courses are delivered in one complete scorm module. Microlearning goes against this, it isn’t however just very short learning, but a longer course broken into chunks or shorter sessions, typically less than 5 minutes. As online learning courses develop, we can expect to see more microlearning over time with one learning outcome per activity and linked typically to a pathway in a coherent way.

 2: Interactive Video

Interactive video is more popular than ever and when applied well in eLearning it has great benefits for learners. However, video is changing and becoming interactive. The use of interactive video is a great way for user to learn and reflect on learning content, and we can expect to see more of this.

3: Games and Gamification

This trend has made the shortlist again as it is still yet again, an emerging theme. Like most new trends, this one has been slow to adopt, with cost playing a big factor in that part as adding these elements can be a costly approach, but illustrations can be a lot more affordable.

Gamification is adding game like elements to learning, things like points, badges and challenges to the content to increase motivation and encourage completion. As we get to understand games and gamification, you can assume to see more of these elements appearing in content as it is a great way of learning.

4: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

This is one of the hottest topics at the moment, just look at the Pokemon Go craze! Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two technologies which are rapidly changing. Many organisations are adapting these technologies, in particular, virtual reality to facilitate the creation of real-life scenarios to create an immersive experience for the learner as they interact with the digital environment.

We are already seeing green shoots of this emerging trend, right here on our own doorstop, pupils from Pupils at Edmund Rice College near Belfast are one of the first schools in Northern Ireland taking part in a Google project to bring VR to one million pupils across the UK. Although you can pick up a VR headset at a relatively cheap cost, the actual expense is in the designing and building of the content.

5: Responsive Design

Responsive design has largely been driven by the uptake of mobile device. Client organisations are increasingly asking for content that work across all mobile devices. To solve the multi-device issue eLearning is doing what most web sites have already done….gone responsive. Responsive design is an approach to ensure that we can have the same content on all our devices and demand for this is only set to grow.

6: Adaptive and Personalised

Personalised learning has proven that learning outcomes are improved when applied. Adaptive and personalised learning makes content dynamic and interactive, placing the student at the centre of his or her individual learning experience, whilst the platform uses data and analytics to continuously updated the learning pathway by adapting the content in real time. As more research is done on this type of instructional strategy,  more of this approach is likely to be adapted.

7: Brain Friendly

There is a lot more research emerging about how our brain actually works and how it processes information. Instructional Designers and learning experts now applying this neuroscience evidence and applying these ‘brain-friendly’ principles and approaches to design learning.

8: Learning Analytics

As more and more learning activities are taking place digitally, more data is being gathered about learner progress. The growing interest in learning analytics reflects wider interests in ‘Big Data’ a trend that has been popping up for the past few years. Learning analytics will play an increasingly bigger part to support learners as there will be the opportunities to be more evidence-based in how we support learners.

9: Learning Experience Design

Organisations are now acknowledging something that Instructional Designers have known for quite some time that design thinking can positively impact workplace learning. Learning experience design has been on the radar for some time now, but over the next year we can expect to see more organisations integrating learning across all disciples and job functions.

10: Articulate 360

The authoring tool, Articulate released Articulate 360, a brand-new subscription offering that provides everything required to develop an eLearning course.  As we increasingly see more and more organisations developing their own eLearning in-house, course creators using Articulate 360 will have everything they need in one place to create eLearning quickly and easily.

So what do you think will be big in 2017?

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.

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.

E-Learning Motivation Made Easy: How To Keep Learners Engaged

E-Learning Motivation Made Easy: How To Keep Learners Engaged

We think E-Learning is great. It’s cost-effective, time-efficient and ideal for delivering standardised training to huge groups of learners spanning even greater geographical areas. However, it does not come without its challenges. One of the key issues with E-Learning lies in its struggle to retain, engage and motivate learners. Today, we’ll tackle the topic of motivation, giving you sound advice and simple ideas to help you excite and motivate learners.

At some point in our education, we’ve all sat in a classroom or lecture hall, tuned out the voice of our teacher and let our thoughts drift off to other things. Many traditional classroom trainers find it difficult to recognise when students are there in person but not in mind. Often it is not until assessments are introduced that they discover whether learning has occurred or whether all of the knowledge they have so painstakingly put together and delivered has went in one ear and out the other.

With online learning, however, the difference is often much clearer. Learners who are not engaged or enthusiastic can be recognised easily because they simply close their browser and fail to complete their learning. A key worry faced by many E-Learning practitioners is whether or not E-Learners will be motivated enough to complete their programmes and have a greater understanding at the end.

Luckily for us, we are not the first people to face the challenge of E-Learner motivation. Today we’ll explore some tried and tested techniques for learner motivation and give you some advice to help you avoid common pitfalls. The ARCS model of Motivational Design by John Keller is a useful starting point for the basics of motivational theory in learning and can be applied to E-Learning. The model outlines four ways of motivating learners; Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. We’ll cover each element in more detail now:

Attention: In order to motivate learners, it is important firstly to gain their attention. Keller proposes two main ideas for achieving this; through perceptual arousal or inquiry arousal. In other words, attracting learners’ attention by doing something out of the ordinary or else by appealing to their inquisitive nature.

Relevance: If learners are to deem content worthy of their attention and the application of their motivation, then the learning must be grounded in real life applicability. This can be achieved by giving examples of the learning’s relevance or even by profiling individuals who have already used the learning for their own betterment.

Confidence: By instilling a sense of achievability and by ensuring learners are aware that the work they put into learning will reap merit, it will give them reason to fully apply themselves. It’s important to map out the learning journey they are about to set out on, give guidance on how much work will be involved and directly link this to potential success.

Satisfaction: Each of us needs to feel like the efforts we are making are worthwhile if we are to continue to replicate them. If you are able to develop a meaningful rewards system for your learners, it will reinforce the relevance of their learning and recognise that their hard work has paid off, thus creating motivation for further learning.

Keller’s theory is easy to understand and for many L&D practitioners components of it may seem fairly obvious. However, often in practice many people deviate from these principles in favour of more superficial or gimmick-filled learning solutions. It is important both when planning your next E-Learning programme and also when assessing its success to consider whether it meets Keller’s four principles of motivation.

How can you avoid gimmicks and inspire real motivation?

In pursuit of the latest trend, it can be easy to get carried away and forget about the simple and effective ways of motivating learners. By adopting a range of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational techniques, you can expect to see more leaners completing your courses and applying the learning within your organisation. We’ve identified three areas where you should be particularly cautious:

1. Gamification

Like many others in the industry, we’re excited about the rise of gamification in E-Learning. In our blog about the gamification of E-Learning in 2015, we predicted that it is to become more practical, more integrated, more fun and more common. Because of the hype created around gamification, however, many have raced to embrace it without fully understanding how to utilise it in a learning context. When we adopt superficial games with low relevance to learning content, we distract from learning instead of encouraging it. Our advice is to carefully consider how you can use game mechanics and gaming narratives to motivate your learners.

 

2. Badges and Reward Systems

A potentially useful way of motivating learners is through awarding badges or by developing a rewards system. It can serve as a form of intrinsic motivation by appealing to the learner’s sense of achievement and is useful as a type of extrinsic motivation because it can give the learner status amongst their peers or qualify them for a reward or promotion. The counterfeit cousin of a good reward system is one which recognises trivial achievements with meaningless rewards. In order to use badges and reward systems to truly motivate learners, it is essential that the achievements are tangible and worthy of recognition and that the rewards are meaningful and roughly equivalent to the amount of work the learner has put in.

 

3. Graphics

The rapid advances within graphic design and constantly growing industry of web-design means that people are increasingly used to highly-stylised web-content with high-quality images and beautifully presented content. This is exciting because it means that we can produce digital learning that is easy on the eye and attention-grabbing. However, in order to maintain learners’ engagement and motivation, ensure that the instructional designer holds the reins in decisions about layout and that content design is not decided by graphic designers. The work of graphic designers should complement the aims of the instructional designer. For more advice on using graphics in E-Learning, download our recent infographic, The Six Golden Rules for Using Graphics in E-Learning.

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.

Gamification of E-Learning in 2015

Image of a trophy and gamification icons, accompanied by the name of the blog article.

The use of game mechanics to increase learners’ motivation is not a new concept, but this year gamification is set to come of age, moving away from being viewed as a gimmick to becoming a real contender as one of the key techniques used to motivate and engage learners. We can all expect to see gamification become more practical, more integrated, more fun and more common so we want to share why it’s so exciting!

In our predictions of the top digital learning trends for 2015, we noted an influx in the use of gamification in E-Learning and we were far from the only ones. A report by Ambient Insight placed the annual global growth rate for game-based learning at 8.3% and predicted that revenues would amount to a massive $2.3 billion by 2017.

Why is gamification so effective?

Keller’s Model of Motivational Design outlines four strategies for motivating learners:

  1. Attention
  2. Relevance
  3. Confidence
  4. Satisfaction

Gamification is brilliant because it incorporates all four of these tactics to draw in and engross learners. The use of gaming narratives, mechanics and graphics will draw the attention of learners whilst the application of knowledge will reinforce the relevance of learning materials. Learners will have their confidence boosted by the progress they witness during their learning adventures and E-Learning which incorporates rewards and recognition will create a great sense of learner satisfaction.

In the digital age, learners have various forms of information and entertainment competing for their attention. The challenge of the educator is to deliver their information in the most relevant and gripping way.

What will be different in 2015?

Gamification will be:

  • More practical – digital learning creators have often confused gamification with the introduction of badges and reward systems. These superficial styles of gamifying E-Learning can complement more sophisticated game mechanics but most learners are not placated by trivial rewards. Instead, in 2015, we predict the employment of gamification techniques that really motivate learners. Expect to see more simulation, animations and narrative based games.

 

  • More integrated – it isn’t necessary to create a whole new virtual world to gamify your E-Learning and motivate learners. The most successful gamification efforts are those that create interactivity for learners in simple and effective ways. If you want to adopt gamification without having to invest huge amounts of time and resources, consider using puzzles, scenarios and short, fun games regularly throughout your E-Learning.

 

  • More fun – the exciting emergence of new technologies and innovations within the gaming industry is spilling over into the gamification of E-Learning. New technologies that create the potential for virtual and augmented reality mean that games have become more realistic and life like. Whilst few organisations will immediately be able to implement these technologies in 2015, the adoption of sharper graphics and high definition displays will bring games to life for learners and create more fun!

 

  • More common – as we noted before, gamification is growing. Mike Liebhold,  senior researcher and distinguished fellow at The Institute for the Future captures the driving force behind this growth perfectly when he says, “The development of ‘serious games’ applied productively to a wide scope of human activities will accelerate simply because playing is more fun than working.”

 

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.