E-Learning is one of the most rapidly developing industries in the modern technological world and it can be explained by the powerful demand of users whose number grows exponentially. As more and more educational institutions and commercial companies are embracing the benefits of online education, e-Learning thrives and moves forward at the speed of light. That’s why it’s difficult to keep up with its pace. So, to optimize this process, people make prognoses and create trends which we are going to talk about. But are they always correct and necessary to follow? Can they bring more harm than benefit? Let’s find out!
Everybody talks about individual skills and needs that trigger a personalized approach to firmly settle into e-Learning nowadays. But the issue is not only about the fact that somebody can use individually designed courses better because they are fully adapted to one’s estimated requirements. A personalized approach works effectively because people like when they are treated individually, and the reason for this lies in human nature. Moreover, with technological advancements come growing demands, which cause people to crave for even more comfort and convenience. That’s why personalization is such a popular trend everywhere, especially in e-Learning where the result depends on efficiency and full optimization.
Our verdict: follow.
In 2016, all the processes in e-Learning will be automated like never before. Special tools will be able to create courses and learning materials which will be a cost-efficient solution for online course producers. Furthermore, these tools will compile quizzes and tests, due to their capability to scan information and extract the most important parts. Although a step toward automation looks like a logical move to make, it clashes with the aforementioned personalization approach because the notion of automated techniques presupposes the collective concept of processing and producing. Chances are that this contradiction will be resolved in the long run, but at the dawn of its integration, clashes are inevitable.
Our verdict: ignore … for a while.
3. Big Data
Progress is a matter of trial and error, and big data plays an important role in it. Big data is the result of actions which involve testing, optimizing and iterating, but it is also the source which dictates the next move. So, it’s no wonder that big data analysis comes to the forefront in e-Learning in 2016. It is the means that allows boosting development by taking into account all the flaws or benefits which are acquired in the process of big data analysis. The effectiveness of this trend depends on the way the organization applies its results, and if they are used efficiently, big data will certainly become an indispensable tool in e-Learning development.
Our verdict: definitely follow.
4. Corporate e-Learning
As was mentioned before, commercial companies are starting to comprehend the value of online learning, because it opens an ocean of opportunities for staff development. It is a smart solution that strikes a balance on expenses and resources: employees don’t need to be sent to other cities or even countries to undergo special courses, and companies don’t have to spend additional costs on hiring educators. In addition, businesses can benefit from adaptive and competency-based learning, which provides only the necessary knowledge, omitting information the learners have already mastered. That’s why in 2016, this trend will become much stronger and engage more adult learners into online education.
Our verdict: follow.
Due to the mobile device boom, people prefer small computing gadgets over relatively bulky laptops because they have a number of advanced features, and the most important of them is their portability. That’s why e-Learning acquires a new form which promises to even surpass its predecessor someday. It won’t happen in 2016, but this year mLearning trend will definitely keep evolving: new apps with more expanded features in online education will flood the market in the near future: they will make e-Learning more widespread as people will be able to make use of it on the go.
Our verdict: be ready for it.
6. Social Media
This is rather a necessary step than just a trend to follow. Always perceived as tools of promotion, social media can become a strong amplifier on the way to personalization, because they are a means of direct communication with users. People are eager to leave their feedback and discuss their attitude where it looks normal and natural, so e-Learning can’t neglect the opportunity of live communication that can greatly contribute to big data analysis. Overall, the implementation of this channel boosts the development of two trends: personalization and big data. That’s why its value is obvious.
One of the dramatic examples of this trend is Twitter. This social media network has been ranked # 1 in the list of «Top 100 Tools for Learning» for 7 years in a row since 2009.
“For me Twitter gives access to smart people who provide an enormous wealth of information and insight through their commentary and links to research, articles and other resources.” Charles Jennings, 2015
Our verdict: follow.
7. Augmented Learning
When learning is adaptive to the environment of the user, it becomes much more effective and popular as well. And with another stage in development, augmented reality becomes an integral part of online education. The spread of wearable technology will influence it several-fold, but the main booster of augmented learning will be virtual reality and its accessibility. People will be able to enhance their online education with visual and auditory perception, and the potential of virtual manipulation cannot be overstated.
Our verdict: be ready for it.
Interaction is among the key features that makes e-Learning successful, because the level of knowledge perception is dependent on learners’ engagement. And gamification is the main tool that involves people in active learning: nothing stimulates learners better than challenges, points, badges and leaderboards. The number of e-Learning apps that are designed in a form of the game is rapidly growing and is projected to double its quantity in the near future. So, 2016 will see a great rise of gamification and will give a foundation for its implementation in augmented learning.
Our verdict: follow, but go easy on it :)
These main e-Learning trends give us the big picture of what to do next and how to embrace the future open-armed. But the changes that are necessary to integrate all these novelties can become expensive and time-consuming, so it’s better to move step by step and make the progress gradual. Moreover, some trends like personalization, social media, big data and gamification will become obligatory e-Learning conditions while others will gain their force in the long run. Thus, it’ efficient to concentrate on more topical issues but still keep abreast of the trends. Follow the current news and stay tuned!
What trends are on your list of the 2016 e-Learning resolution? Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear your insights!
Lily Wilson is a 34 year-old homestay freelance academic writer. Lily runs her personal blog AnAwfulLotofWriting and works as a contributing academic writer at ThePensters.com.