Trends in eLearning come and go, but a good LMS is forever. Ok maybe not forever, but a provider can dream. Below is a list of eLearning trends we expect to see in 2015. Will they last or fade away? Only time will tell.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are definitely trending in eLearning. These are online courses offered to the masses, often for free. Why, you ask, would an association want to create a MOOC? Exposure. It’s like the concept of “freemium” games where a game is free, but the add-ons have a small fee. An association can leverage this free course model to increase membership and attract more people who are willing to pay for educational offerings in the future. From a corporate standpoint, MOOCs can assist in corporate training across offices for a large number of employees.
Verdict: Here to Stay (for now)
Gamification, not to be confused with game-based learning, is the use of game elements such as leaderboards and badges, in courses. This is meant to increase social competition among learners and create engagement to motivate them to succeed. In fact, gamification taps into the learner’s basic desires for status and achievement. In an excerpt from Effects of Achievement Motivation on Behavior, author Rabideau explains the motives behind gamification:
People’s achievement goals affect their achievement-related attitudes and behaviors. Two different types of achievement-related attitudes include task-involvement and ego-involvement. Task-involvement is a motivational state in which a person’s main goal is to acquire skills and understanding whereas the main goal in ego-involvement is to demonstrate superior abilities.
Gamification taps into a learner’s intrinsic enjoyment of mastery, as well as their ego’s desire to make social comparisons and assess their ability relative to others.
Verdict: Go Away (but it shouldn’t)
Sadly, too few organizations and associations understand what gamification is and what it is not. As a result, many are too apprehensive to tap into gamification’s potential, even though it is a worthy strategy for engaging and connecting with learners.
Mobile learning (mLearning) refers to content that can be accessed anywhere, on any device. eLearning on one’s home computer is no longer enough. Now learners want access to content on their phones, tablets, lap tops, and other mobile devices. The goal is to create content that can be consumed on-the-go, and on the learner’s schedule. This trend gives rise to micro-learning (small chunks of information) and responsive design (courses that adapt to fit multiple screen sizes). With the potential of additional consumer mobile devices such as Google Glass, this will also create a need for augmented and blended learning experiences, engaging learners in a whole new way.
Verdict: Here to Stay
Augmented learning is the next “cool-factor” innovation in eLearning. Augmented learning or augmented reality includes virtual reality, information superimposed in a user’s physical space (think information pop-ups about what you’re seeing), and 3D environments, among other features. These features will be available through devices such as Google Glass and Oculus Rift. Imagine a medical student in the operating room getting real time information pop-ups about how the surgery is performed, the organs and systems affected, and the history of the procedure. With augmented learning this scenario could become reality.
Verdict: Go Away (for now)
Like gamification, this concept is exciting, but will be seen as impractical by training and development departments. Still, we look forward to the day when augmented learning is accepted, we just don’t think it will be any time soon.
Everyone is clamoring for the “almighty cloud.” But does anyone really know what the cloud is? In short, it is software and services accessed through the internet, through a remote server so you can access your content from anywhere. If your software is hosted and you retrieve it from the internet, you’re accessing the cloud. Look for a SaaS (Software as a Service) LMS provider with a trustworthy reputation and reliable hosting to manage your LMS, and get on the cloud.
Verdict: Here to Stay
What trends would you like to see stay and which should go away?