eLearning has gradually evolved to a large-scale industry over the last few years. 2017 witnessed reinvention of various learning technologies and allocation of more budget and investments in eLearning programs, learning management systems, and various educational tools for training employees.
A similar shift was observed in the learning and development departments of various organizations in 2017. Trends like mobile learning, social learning, microlearning, etc., are expected to continue evolving eLearning experiences for learners in 2018. Organizations will also explore new opportunities and approaches such as artificial intelligence, interactive video-based learning, etc.
In this blog, we will talk about the top custom learning trends to look out for in 2018.
- Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
In 2017, AR and VR were quite popular as training implementation modes. Although virtual reality has been out in the market for some time now, augmented reality and mixed reality are expected to bring new possibilities in creating deeply engaging learning content. Traditionally used for gaming and movie experiences, AR and VR can bring about a paradigm shift in the way learning takes place. While VR can be effective in teaching skills and risk-management tasks, and performing complicated actions, AR can be a game changer in providing just-in-time learning. These scenarios will be helpful for learners who want to learn more about tools, technology, or devices. Scanning a QR code can give them instant access to the desired piece of information.
Both VR and AR will contribute towards the betterment of training and development, and simplify onboarding processes, thus resulting in easier collaboration among teams and remotely based employees.
The reducing costs of wearable technology will be an added advantage for organizations who wish to explore AR and VR possibilities for immersive learning for their employees and learners. We may also see various other applications of AR and VR throughout the year.
- Gamification and Game-Based Learning
Gamification is one of the biggest trends in the eLearning industry today. It is becoming a quick and easy way to engage learners, get them on board, and help them reach their goals faster. Learners can practice real situations and challenges in online environments to develop skills. In 2018, organizations will continue to invest in developing gamified training courses to keep their learners engaged and retain interest in learning with fun. Gamification has set new standards of delivering learning experiences that are smoother and more relevant to learners.
- Artificial Intelligence
The use of Artificial Intelligence in improving the learning experiences of learners is an interesting wave to watch out for in 2018! With iPhone bringing Siri (chatbot) to assist its users, people are keener to see and interact with more chatbots and intelligent assistants. 2018 will be an interesting year where chatbot conversations may become ‘real’ with evolving applications of artificial intelligence in the eLearning and training space.
2018 is expected to be the year of content that can be readily consumed within a regular working day. Bite-sized learning will ensure delivery of training with a targeted approach that is more objective-specific and does not demand a long commitment from the learners. Microlearning encompasses a range of learning techniques such as short games, videos, quizzes, or interactive infographics. It is now expected to become a mainstream method for corporate training, instead of remaining just a supportive learning solution to eLearning. In 2018, microlearning can be seen as a potential training delivery method that will blend with a focused approach on experience-based learning and performance support in corporate organizations.
- Digital Learning—Webinars
Webinars have been in play since the past couple of years. However, what has changed is the way organizations are utilizing webinars to train their employees for an in-depth understanding of their products and services. Conducting demos to educate teams, clients, and end-customers through multiple batches or sessions of webinars will be a good trend to watch out for in 2018.
- Social Learning
In 2018, social learning will continue to be an add-on for keeping learners engaged via interactive and sharable learning content. Features in Learning Management Systems like digital badges, leaderboards, course management, learner performance tracking, advanced analytics and reports, etc., will provide meaningful data for customization and personalization of training based on learner-needs. Providing learners with the ability to interact and compete with other learners on training will boost learner engagement and keep them motivated to hit their training goals on time.
- Content Curation
Delivering the right content to the right learner in the right format is the key to effective training. Content curation will be as powerful in 2018 as it was in 2017. It is here to stay, to give learners the right learning experience through custom and responsive learning solutions. Curating content is an integral part of any learning and development strategy to build a strong learning culture across the organization. Content libraries augmented to ensure learners have everything they need to know at one place will lead to knowledge sharing, better collaborations, and innovation across teams within the organization.
- Interactive Video-Based Learning
More engagement, more involvement, and more learning is what 2018 will witness through interactive video-based learning. Involving learners in learning videos and engaging them on internal sites and networks with video content is an effective way to make learning happen. With the increasing consumption of video content, we can expect more video sharing activities among employees. Live streaming through video platforms can also be a good aid for training in 2018.
- Workforce Enablement
Organizations are now more concerned about employee productivity and are exploring methods beyond automation. Workforce enablement is a crucial focus area. It will drive organizations to bring in employee engagement and training programs to keep them motivated and to build a learning culture at the workplace. Short attention span has been impacting knowledge retention among employees, thereby hampering their productivity. So, it is important to constantly motivate employees through regular interactive training sessions in the form of discussion forums, group chat sessions, etc. Constant learning interventions for workforce enablement will be a strong trend to keep track of in 2018.
- Open Platforms (LMSes)
LMSes and open platforms are expected to evolve in 2018 and become more flexible. LMSes are expected to facilitate easy integration with other systems and support the niche learning-delivery requirements of an organization. High-level customization to support specific needs of learners is a trend that we must look out for in 2018. Personalized learning will become easier with surveys and advanced analytics providing detailed insights about learner behavior.
- Performance Support
Development of learning aids based on conclusions drawn from analytics and reports of learner performances from an LMS will stand out in 2018. Providing and managing training on the job for employees will be improved through performance support. Extending the formal training to employees while on the job will become easier through performance support. Creating a backup of employee knowledge and skills and using it for effective formal training to achieve job goals will be yet another trend to watch in 2018. Learning and performance support tools like Knowledge Reinforcement Tools, Sales Enablement Platforms, etc., will flourish. These will enable employees to perform tasks without any help from external resources, especially during the absence of formal training for new hires, thereby reducing the overall training time.
Over the years, eLearning has gained popularity with the advent of new training techniques and methods. Online learning has a promising future in 2018, as portrayed by the custom learning trends that we have mentioned above. These will drive new concepts and methods of training and development in organizations.
What other trends do you think will flourish in 2018? We’d love to hear your views in the comments below!