Whether you own your own business, are thinking of starting one in the coming months, or manage someone else’s organization or department, it’s important to not only keep yourself up to date through learning, but also your staff members.
These days, happily, eLearning advances mean it’s simpler, cheaper, quicker, and more effective than ever for people at all stages of their careers to learn new things, on all sorts of topics. Whether you’re interested in an online MBA program located in California or an SEO course in New York, or a training platform that can be rolled out to all of your team at one time, you’re sure to find it online today.
To ensure you really stay up to date on this field though, and understand just what is possible, read on for some of the key eLearning trends that need to be on your radar.
For starters, we’re seeing more and more online training that allows people to enjoy micro learning – that is, where educational information is broken down into smaller materials which can be taken in during short, sharp, focused sessions (such as 15, 30, or up to 60 minutes).
When you consider that so many people are crazy busy, and barely make time to fit in exercise during their week, let alone intensive bouts of study, it’s no wonder micro learning is becoming more and more popular. This trend also caters to people who struggle to concentrate or remember content for long stretches of time; who have learning difficulties; who are time poor because they’re raising a family or have other types of commitments; or who simply need to fulfil specific learning objectives by covering training in focused, digestible chunks.
Due to technological advances, more customized learning is available to students now too. That is, people can choose not only what topics they want to study, and where and when, but also what kinds of content suits them best. It’s easier for people to choose from not just text, but also audio files, videos, and training that involves more hands-on, interactive engagement.
As technology advances, designers are also finding ways to use automation and artificial intelligence in eLearning when it comes to the design of programs, their implementation, and even their evaluation and follow-up steps.
As an example, eLearning professionals can automate large parts of the job of program creation and assessment by using software designed for the educational sector. This not only reduces the amount of time they need to spend working on courses, but also helps lower the overall cost of eLearning, which can filter down to the consumer in turn. Newer automation tools can also detect the preferences of students using programs, and use this data to better customize the learning experience for their individual needs.
Technology is now used, too, to make courses accessible, and operationally effective, on various types of platforms and devices. This includes tablets and smartphones and other gadgets where the screen size, resolution, and some functionality need to be changed.
As for artificial intelligence (AI), a part of eLearning that’s growing rapidly is the incorporation of virtual teaching assistants. These tend to be utilized for generating and delivering content, communicating with and providing support to students, establishing more comprehensive testing of programs, and so on. AI can also be of advantage when it comes to ensuring students don’t fall behind, because computers can be programed to pick up on specific topics or tasks people are struggling with, and allow them to concentrate on these areas until they’re caught up.
Lastly, as we all know, gamification has been rapidly growing over the last decade or so, and only seems to be picking up speed (just take a look at the success of Pokémon Go last year, as one example). To help people learn more efficiently and to retain knowledge better, this principle can be applied to eLearning.
When it comes to studying, humans of all ages, and particularly younger generations who have grown up using games regularly, tend to be more interested in learning, and in studying for longer, when there is some aspect of play involved. Gamification strategies make it easier for people to pick up information more quickly, and to remember it for longer. As such, increasing numbers of educational institutions and trainers are incorporating these types of programs into their courses.
If you’re working on a training program, keep in mind that gamification is beneficial for students who may not be suited to a more traditional learning strategy; plus it allows people to make mistakes without any recrimination or pressure. This makes it easier for them to learn from their mistakes too. As you design eLearning software, look for ways to add a playful aspect to your training and you’ll be much more likely to see a positive impact as a result.