Predicting learning trends is not easy as it may sound, as some of the trends have been there for quite some time, and some have not seen the maturity or traction that is required of them. Let’s look at the 5 eLearning trends that will become stronger as we step into 2018.
The term “user-generated content” can be strictly interpreted to mean content that’s created by end users (i.e., learners). But I think the concept is being applied more broadly than that.
User-generated content includes content produced by anyone who’s not on the training team, including Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and business leaders. And it makes good sense to have these experts take a hands-on role in content creation. Given a few easy-to-use tools (Rise and Peek, both in Articulate 360, come to mind) and some content creation guidelines, SMEs and other users can respond quickly to business needs, making and sharing content that’s timely and relevant to the training audience. The bonus? It’ll free up your time to focus on the bigger and more strategic pieces of the training puzzle.
VR And AR
Virtual and Augmented Reality are currently the hottest modes of implementing training. Virtual Reality has been there for quite some time now. However, with Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality added to the mix, we have exciting new possibilities in the immersive learning space. Traditionally VR and AR are used more for gaming and movie experiences.
Their application in learning is picking up now. VR will continue to be used for teaching skills for handling high-risk tasks and performing complex procedures. AR will be used to trigger just-in-time learning. A typical scenario of AR would be a learner wanting to learn more about a device or tool, technology, or a place. Using a QR code, the learner can scan the object and get more information about it.
With prices of wearable glasses and headsets reducing, VR and AR will become more affordable for organizations willing to experiment with them. We will see more traction as 2018 unfolds. Organizations will invest and explore more of these technologies in 2018 and beyond.
The popularity of Siri on iPhone indicates that people are now looking to explore intelligent voice assistants. It is too early to say how intelligent voice assistants or Machine Learning-enabled chatbots will be programmed, given that Artificial Intelligence itself is taking its baby steps in the world of computing. Having said that, I feel that organizations will look to develop prototype chatbots for specific topics, like information security or data protection, compliance and so on, and implement them as an intelligent search app. These smart apps will help learners to learn as they go and augment learning in the “moment of need”. My take is that it will become popular as and when we see the results of the first implementation. This will be another key trend to watch out for in 2018 and beyond.
Gamification will continue to be an important trend in 2018. It is well established now that game-based learning and gamification have a greater impact in imparting critical role-based information.
Organizations will continue to invest in serious games, as well as gamifying their custom courses, to retain learner interest and coax them to take learning seriously by having fun. As paradoxical as it may sound, gaming increases the “seriousness” in learners, as they fully “immerse” themselves in the process of gaming.
Traditional compliance courses, information security, procedural training, product training, sales training, and many more can be easily gamified and made interesting enough for the learners to “invest” their time and energy in an activity that they traditionally don’t enjoy. Gamification will enhance the training implementation further during 2018.
Blended learning is another not-so-new trend. What is new about blended learning is how it’s morphed from being primarily about blending instructor-led with online training to being more about blending myriad training, tools, and support resources.
With the popularity of microlearning courses and a focus on creating fewer courses and more performance support, e-learning pros are finding that a blended learning strategy gives them the flexibility to mix formal and informal instructional interventions, and create supportive solutions that really empower learners and their managers to address performance challenges in the moment.