The world of e-learning has been constantly changing year after year. In the past couple of years, there have been many new and popular learning methods such as interactive modules, gamification, game based learning etc. that have been introduced in order to help facilitate learning and make it more effective.
Technology and innovation has improved rapidly providing more feasible ways and opportunities to help learners and even helped reduced costs in doing so.
With everything that’s happening, there will certainly be new changes in the list of the popular e-learning trends while a few traditional learning trends continue even more so in 2020. The top 10 e-learning trends predicted for 2020 are as follows:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in e-learning
A report of 2017, Artificial Intelligence Market in the U.S. Education Sector 2017-2021 predicted that the use of AI in the education industry in US will grow by 47.5% through 2021. While this report is focussed only on the US market, AI is likely to impact the globe and domains from K-12 through higher education to corporate training, offering the opportunity to create immersive learning features with personalized tools to improve learners’ experience.
This report also predicts the rising trend of AI-powered educational games. Because games have the potential to engage learners while teaching or training them on challenging education concepts in an engaging manner, more research and development is happening on incorporating AI features into learning games to enhance their interactivity.
Another area where AI seems to add a lot of value is creating personalized learning experiences. AI because of its deep learning abilities can be used in taking action in customising training routes mainly by storing learner’s preferences, learning styles, etc.. It analyzes this data and it’s patterns of each learner and then interprets it. In this way, AI can be used in quizzes in e-learning modules where it decides what questions to ask based on the answers given by the learners in the interim assessments. This results in effective and personalized learning.
2. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in e-learning
AR and VR are popularly regarded as effective methods in providing immersive learning experiences; VR being used in immersing the user in a completely virtual environment while AR enhances objects in the real world using digitally produced perceptual overlays. By being able to provide completely or partially different environments, they help learners to both learn and experience things that would prepare them for future tasks.
VR is quite popularly known for entertainment purposes used in multimedia like games, movies etc. For example, it can be used in simulating complex situations like flight simulators etc. Where learners will be able to learn and practice without endangering their safety.
AR is being popularly used in corporate training. It’s commonly used in product training, customer training and augmenting overlays of retail solutions like brochures, catalogs, etc. It helps to provide textual or graphic information, seen over the surrounding objects of the learner.
If a learner wanted to know more about a device or tool, technology, or a place, he could scan the object by using the QR code and get more information on it.
VR will continue to be used for learning to help improve a learner’s skills in handling high-risk tasks (safety trainings) and in performing complex procedures (medical and healthcare sector, complex manufacturing set ups) while AR will be used to offer just-in-time learning.
As information moves at a fast pace these days, the need for just-in-time learning is arising especially in the corporate world.
While we just saw that AR offers the same, it cannot be used in every location or situation like if the learner is already on his way to a meeting with a specific agenda or objective and he just needs to go through a small video or course prior to it.
This is where microlearning comes into play.
The usage of microlearning began as nuggets used in supporting traditional e-learning courses.
Now, it is also being used in delivering short bursts of information wherever and whenever the learner needs it be it a 5 minute video, a one page document etc.
Since the cognitive load is also lighter, the information can easily get incorporated into the learner’s routine.
Also, microlearning is perfectly suitable for mobile phone screens, making it easily accessible any time, anywhere.
Learners inspired to learn in a short time is what made microlearning so popular.
Along with traditional training videos and animated videos, 360 degree immersive videos, interactive videos and live training videos etc. are also now being incorporated in the learner’s training.
Having the learner’s learn through videos rather than text related notes and ppts is a lot more effective.
Companies are investing more in videos that offer interactivity which is similar to traditional e-learning with knowledge checks along with branching scenarios which are played based on the choices the learner makes.
These elements are not only fun at workplace but also offer knowledge and prepares them for future real life situations.
Ofcourse, other than traditional custom e-learning, tutorial videos from Youtube are also popularly integrated in a learner’s path.
Videos offer high retention for learners, preparing them for future instances of decision making and enabling them to be ready.
Previously, the idea of using game based elements or providing a gaming experience in order to aid learners was seen as a bit controversial.
Now, gamification has become a part of the learning strategy of many organisations as it proves high impact with its engaging and immersive learning.
During the learning process ,while game based learning uses games to help deliver defined outcomes, gamification applies a concept that turns a learning process into a gaming experience.
These not only keep learners engaged but also provides knowledge during the process.
By providing fun elements along with knowledge, interactivity and assessments (with scoring), it helps learners get motivated to learn and perform well.
Gamification and game based learning are used commonly for compliance courses, information security , product training, sales training etc.
The possibilities for gamification are endless.
6. Social Learning
While there will always be a need for formal training, today, social learning is being used increasingly in order to foster collaborative learning. There are now an increase in social platforms where learners can share, exchange ideas ,network and collaborate with one another.
The concept of social learning has been practiced for quite some time and is also supported by cognitive science. Social learning mainly focuses on collaborative learning to help increase learner’s knowledge.retention. It also brings about a fun and informal atmosphere to help learners come out of their shell and share and exchange ideas or solutions through social media groups, online discussions, live events etc.
Organisations are also creating platforms that are built for learners to socialize and work together. Forums, chatboxes, etc. Help people share ideas in acollaborative environment.
Also ,with popular LMSs which provide social learning features, organisations are able to experiment with it and can easily keep track of the results.
Mobile phones are used by almost everyone, everyday and is used very frequently.
Naturally, mobile learning still continues to be one of the top trends as it is a popular preferred choice for learners for most of their corporate training needs.
It is the most convenient way to learn without having to travel elsewhere to learn.
Courses that are offline which do not require internet access are even more convenient.
It is commonly incorporated in formal training, performace support interventions, informal training and social learning through collaboration.
Mobile phone screens are ideal for videos and gamified learning thereby keeping the learners engaged.
By providing a lot of flexibility and control for learners, they can take the training any time, any where as well as on a device of their choosing.
8. Focus on learning analytics driven by Big Data
Learning Analytics helps in understanding the learner’s progress, behaviour and also gives insights on what works to help them improve. It is used as an aid in improving learner’s motivation and their engagement with the training and helps in identifying how they would be able to apply what they learn.
Big Data simply refers to large volumes of data that is collected from many different sources. When this data is processed, it can give us a lot of insight on the learners; how they learn, their progress after training, any behavioural changes and impacts on the business.
This helps in determining the ROI on the training that was spent.
This can also help improve or update the existing training in order to create a more personalized and effective learning paths for learners.
Now, AI methods are also being used to mine the analytics to provide more custom and personalised learning for them.
This data can also be used to help customise and improve the LMS being used.
9. Personalized Learning
Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is a new channel of learning that is being seen as an effective method to facilitate learning where the onus is on learners
Self directed learning is a new learning method introduced recently that has been seen as an effective method where the learners take the initiative and responsibility to learn without the help of a teacher or mentor.
This enables them to learn at their own pace,learn to manage their time more effectively and it helps them to create their preferred learning path.
It empower learners to be more independent in gathering the learning assets or resources they need rather than being pushed to do it.
With the remarkable progress in innovations and methods to facilitate learning, the future of e-learning holds so much promise.
What do you think? Are there any other upcoming learning trends in the future this 2020? Feel free share your thoughts in the comments below.