For many professionals in the learning and development industry, 2016 was a fascinating year, full of extraordinary technological developments and growing learning communities. Yet before we move towards the future of e-learning, the best way to learn is to reflect on the developments seen in the past.
Here we take a look at the top eight online learning trends from 2016.
As technology advances, so does the quality of online gaming. Outside of the work setting, many of us love playing recreational games online and it is estimated that roughly 75 per cent of people in the workforce are casual gamers.
Over the past year, the online learning industry has adopted gamification as an effective way to learn as it understands the importance of transferring gaming mechanics to learning processes. This way e-learners can more easily retain knowledge for a long period of time. As gamers compete to beat their opponents and earn rewards in a learning environment, they can have fun and learn at the same time.
Responsive learning management systems (LMS) were also a trend in 2016 that is likely to persist in the future as we see more and more devices entering the market. These types of design courses are accessible across a variety of platforms or devices, featuring adjusting elements including text blocks and images based on the screen size and resolution of the device in question.
With responsive LMS, all learners are able to gain the same learning experience and benefits. For organisations that are looking to build their own system, a responsive interface means they can preview the system and customise it accordingly.
Numerous LMS have opted to switch to cloud-based platforms as they become easily accessible to employees and help to significantly reduce training costs. As well as this, businesses can easily update online training content and introduce new products and features on a cloud-based system.
In the past, data security has been an issue for companies, however with the cloud, advances in encryption measures are improving the safety of sensitive data.
When it comes to technology, wearable tech has become increasingly popular, with the introduction of the FitBit, Apple Watch and even some tech-enhanced clothing. Gadgets like these are now becoming incorporated with e-learning so that users are more engaged and learning is more interactive.
Virtual reality is also becoming well-known throughout the online learning industry as the 3D simulations and scenarios help users understand different learning environments.
As learning moves away from the traditional classroom practice, the learning community grows across the globe. No longer are learners just seen as school pupils or students taught by teachers and administrators. Now, no matter what your age or background, communities are being formed that support all types of learning. There is a push for learning, the promotion of collective creativity and shared leadership which is uniting groups with similar values, visions and practices on a worldwide level.
Now there are numerous e-learning tools designed specifically for smartphones, making it more convenient and effective for learners. Mobile learning means that courses can be accessed whenever and wherever, which suits today’s generations.
With a rise of mobile learning comes an increase in social media usage among learners. A trend that was seen in 2016 included the powerful use of social media to aid learning. For example on Facebook, course instructors have the option of creating either an open or closed group where they can interact with learners and have educational discussions.
According to the Global Web Index, users spend roughly 28 per cent of their time online on social media - a number that is expected to grow. A millennial survey by Deloitte showed that, by 2025, 75 per cent of the global workforce will be millennials, who favour social media learning.
Another trend that proved to be popular in 2016 was the development of augmented reality in e-learning. This type of technology integrates digital information with the user’s environment in real time. It differs from virtual reality as it doesn’t create a whole new environment but uses the existing reality to overlay information.
With augmented reality, learners can find their own potential by adapting and customising the environment, according to their preferences.