Keeping up with the times can feel like a daunting task. There are new trends, lists and tips every year that seem to be different than the last. So, just when you feel like you are getting the hang of what is current and “in,” the New Year begins and there is a completely new trend train to jump on or fear you will be left at the station.
Well, I am here to deliver some comforting news that will keep your year moving in the right direction. I have compiled a list of the top five trends in eLearning to keep an eye on in 2017, and guess what? Some of you will be ahead of the game because you might recognize some from last year.
- Micro Learning– Less is more! Shifting the focus from long extended courses to short bursts of targeted learning content will be the focus of 2017. Creating content that is no more than 3-5 minutes in length helps focus the attention span and deliver bite-sized information targeted and personalized specifically for your learners. In an age where most information is instant and easily accessible in the palm of our hands, the ability to deliver learning content in this way will be key for future learners.
- Mobile Learning– Speaking of easily accessible, did you know that, according to a report by Nielsen, 98% of people between the ages of 18-24 own a smartphone? 97% of people between the ages of 25-34 own one and 96% of people between the ages 35-44 own one! Couple that with tablet usage and you have the profile of a modern learner. The ability to access information, training and lessons on the go, at home or wherever most convenient is empowering the next generation of learners to take action and interest in what and how they learn. So it is no surprise that learning through mobile devices will become standard in the years to come.
- Gamification (Including Virtual Reality and AI) – While the idea of gamification has been around for a few years (hint: this was a trend in 2016), the increased use of VR and AI has enabled this idea to move to the forefront of eLearning. Creating an informal learning environment allows learners to practice real-life situations and fosters definitive learning outcomes as it pertains to specific subject matters. Add the element of earning badges, awards and even creating healthy competition among students, gamification can be beneficial from K-12 learners through higher education and even into professional development environments. I have listed gamification third as it ties in the first two trends as well. Deliver a quick, subject specific activity where the user earns a badge on their mobile device; you have yourself a win, win, win scenario!
- Personalization– For the year 2017 we can tell you that the increase in non-traditional learners has played a big part in keeping personalization on the trend list. Providing the flexibility to learn in different ways, at different speeds but still effectively communicate the subject matter is key to instructors. Instructors can also focus more on creating adaptive learning material to best gauge the levels of an individual rather than a class as a whole. This trend has been around for a few years now, so we would love to know how personalization has become synonymous with your teaching and learning styles.
- Social learning– Rounding out our list is an idea that may seem basic, but taking learning back to the basics could be the key in 2017. Asking questions, getting answers and facilitating group discussions as a way of learning is creeping back into the spotlight. We are not talking just emailing, but social polling and social media being the driving forces of social learning. The ability to create social profiles that highlight your field of study so that others can reach out to you and learn more about specific subject areas is just one way we will see this trend grow this year.
So there you have it. Your newest list of eLearning trends to keep an eye on for 2017. If you are incorporating or actively following any of these trends already, welcome aboard! If all of them are new to you, have no fear the trend train has not left the station as this year has only just begun. I will check back in a bit later to see how the year is shaping up and to see if any of the above have really bullet-ed into 2017.