The term eLearning appeared for the first time back in the ‘90s and was, at first, focusing on PowerPoint presentations. Since then, eLearning has come a long way and, as the internet became mainstream, the industry could only go upwards.
Throughout the years, eLearning has become indispensable for businesses and individuals alike, as it is a cost-effective and fast way to master information. Businesses are using eLearning to train their employees and students are using it to fathom the information they receive in class, which has often become insufficient for their needs.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of eLearning is the ability it gives individuals to learn on the go, at any time and at their own pace, without having to worry they don’t keep up with certain timeframes. As technology is moving forward, so will the eLearning industry and one can only expect it to soon grow up to be the most requested industry. But what are the trends that are forging the eLearning sector this year?
Coming up as a strong trend in 2018, microlearning has worked its way into education apps, as well as business training. Microlearning focuses on bite-sized training assets, offering just the right amount o information, in order to help an individual achieve a specific objective. This way, learning becomes faster and more easy to understand.
The microlearning trend focuses on step-by-step learning, in order to make sure the learner masters one block of information, before moving on to another. This works wonders in the business industry, as microlearning courses can be personalized to tackle just the information that employees need in order to perform their tasks.
Microlearning can be implemented as written courses, as well as infographics, quizzes, videos and small games and one of its biggest advantages is it can be implemented on any device, strongly moving towards the mLearning (mobile learning) trend.
The reason why game-based learning and gamification earned so much popularity is its ability to better engage learners. Through gamification, information is much better set and the retention rates are much higher than through traditional learning.
Seeing the popularity it got last year, businesses are looking towards ways to implement game-based solutions to their training courses. Games and interactive applications have a therapeutic purpose as well, as it has been proven by various experts that games help release serotonin and dopamine, both known as happy hormones.
But gamification does not only mean allowing learners to practice their skills through games. It means introducing game-like aspects to eLearning. Gaming elements, such as badges, scoreboards, learning paths and levels, keep the engagement and motivation high, by making learning fun and interactive. It has proven to be an effective way to improve problem-solving skills, as well as brainpower, and helps learners complete modules much more effectively.
eLearning and Big Data go hand in hand, as Big Data allows educators to measure how fast and how effectively the learner is gaining knowledge. This way, they are able to determine if the learner had any troubles throughout the training and focus on those areas in particular, in future courses.
To simply explain how big data intertwines with eLearning, think of a training course and all your progress, results, assessment. All those aspects represent big data that can be analyzed in order to determine what can be done to improve courses or what other pathways a learner can take in order to gain more skills.
Experts believe that big data will impact eLearning through three different aspects:
- Feedback: by collecting and analyzing all the steps a learner takes when completing a course, including faults or improperly understanding some aspects of the course, educators will know and will have the possibility of presenting alternative pathways or adjustments to fix the situation.
- New approaches: big data gives an insight on every learning strategy and allows individuals to pick the most effective one, by predicting the outcomes
- Trackingprogress: educators or trainers will be able to see the learner’s progress throughout the course and understand their learning habits, as well as evolution.
Starting last year, adaptive learning received a significantly higher adoption rate and this year it only seems to be getting stronger. The possibility to adapt a course to its student is extremely important, as it allows learners to accommodate their needs with the help of personalized feedback.
Adaptive learning has become quite a big trend in various sectors of eLearning, from corporate training, to university classes and online tutoring. Broadly speaking, it can be implemented in two ways:
- Designadaptivity: based on the learners’ preferences it the course can take them through various paths, following a cause and effect program.
- Algorithmicadaptivity: this is based on two ideas; what the learner understands and what training experience should come next.
Almost every field is becoming strongly impacted by AI, including eLearning. The newest addition to the eLearning sector seems to be chatbots, which are used as learning assistants. By being available 24/7, chatbots can assist learners through their entire process and offer support when certain tasks are unclear.
Besides chatbots, AI can predict student behavior and personalize the course. This way, it can support learners through their process and suggest what the next move should be, as well as adapt the course to the learner’s speed, comprehension and previous knowledge. Let’s say someone wants to take an online chemistry course. It would be unnecessary for people who only need to learn the basics, to have to go through complex formulas, as it would be for those who look to fathom their knowledge to have to go through the basics again.
AR/VR/MR (Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality/ Mixed Reality)
Before getting ready to welcome AR, VR and, most recently, MR into the eLearning sector, businesses can’t help but wonder if it is really necessary and if it will bring other benefits, rather justthan the WOW factor. Truth is, they do:
- AR: its main task is to enhance real objects with other characteristics. For example, one can use AR to scan a line of text in another language and suggest translation.
- VR: some of the most important capabilities of VR in eLearning are to eliminate distraction and offer experiences that one could not have in real life.
- MR: the newest addition can deliver similar results as AR and VR and offer learners the ability to interact with the surroundings by approaching and manipulating things, to better understand them.