What are the top eLearning trends for 2018?
I interviewed 57 experts and asked them to pick their top 3 trends. Below are their awesome responses.
Here’s a short video summarizing the top trend from each of our 57 experts. The full responses are in the blog post below.
I’m currently runnning a $12,180 eLearning trends giveaway of the best software, workshops, memberships and books related to the top 11 trends.
To jump to the trends and the feedback, click on any of the headings:
#3 Artificial Intelligence (AI)
#4: Augmented Reality (AR)
#7: Virtual Reality (VR)
#8: Subscription tools and learning
#9a: Science-based learning
#9b: Personalized learning
#9c: Performance Support
More Trends for 2018
Micro-learning is the #1 trend for 2018, up 1 spot from #2 in 2017. 19 of our experts selected micro-learning as a trend and 8 picked it as their #1 trend.
Micro-learning as #1 trend: 8 votes
In the workplace today, people have less and less time to get their jobs done. Therefore, they have less time to spend in training classes that are not solving a direct problem. L&D is beginning to realize this. While microlearning is not a panacea for all that ails the industry, using microlearning in the right context to solve a specific problem and helping people to do their jobs is a step in the right direction.
I’m most excited about the micro-learning trend because it is really causing designers to look at what’s absolutely relevant to their learners. In a perfect world, we should be doing anyway. If the microlearning trend helps bring back an emphasis on really determining what a student needs to do their jobs well and then only giving them that–well I’m all for it!
I think we have to move informal learning, stealth learning, personalized learning, point of need learning (whatever we want to call it) to the top of the list for 2018. The synergy of video, mobile and ever escalating demand for learning at the moment and location of need will likely reach perfect storm levels this year – though the lack of significant data to demonstrate how effective it is compared to traditional training will continue to slow the engine.
Short, focused and fun learning should become the focus of all learning professionals going forward. This is a much more efficient way of delivering learning and also ensuring the engagement of your learners.
Adults prefer to learn on demand, just in time, and on the go.
Thankfully, I see a trend of people moving away from the old, boring and lengthy PowerPoint type of elearning to smaller, bite-sized learning morsels that are easier to digest and make it easier for the learner to find the information that they need, when they need it.
The foundation has been set for micro-learning. Expect to see innovation around delivery and measuring of micro-content in 2018.
The trend that I keep hearing more and more is to make online training more simple. Get them to the content they need when they need it. That means instead of having a 40 min course covering everything, section your content into searchable and consumable sections where a learner can find what they need when they need it. This is why I think we should explore the APIs for visual assistants like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Cortana and more. This would greatly help performance support and allow them to get help in the moment, so this trend could also be performance support and AI but I see this concept of making content more consumable and sectioned continuing to grow.
Micro-learning as #2 trend: 9 votes
As the industry moves towards more subscription-based learning, I see the courses our learners take moving towards shorter “need to know” information. Or maybe that’s just what I hope. I see so many courses where too much information is thrown at learners, when really just the key points would suffice.
Microlearning will continue to be a buzzword for 2018, although I predict we’ll still be hammering out what we actually mean by the term. As we move to more mobile learning, shorter learning and performance support will be more prevalent.
Micro-learning is a buzzword and is catching fire. Still undefined in practice it will remain on the minds and lips of L&D and vendors alike well into 2018 as the beliefs about it and it’s place start to solidify.
Organizations and employees alike are demanding support that fits their needs. For L&D, this has become the rallying cry for microlearning, which is a trendy way to represent the fundamental shift needed in how we support people. L&D must fit into the realities of the workplace rather than expecting employees to step away when it’s “time to learn.”
While many of the listed items are important (i.e. Accessibility, Personalized Learning, Visual Design, Mobile), they are constants, not trends. However Micro-learning (formerly EPSS?) is one that could well be a trend with a constant future. Stackable credentials have an immediate purpose and gratification, and provide shorter-term achievable goals for learners with such needs.
Should be already an essential part of the development strategy.
Microlearning continues to be the hottest buzzword in our industry. I hate buzzwords, because it means the usage of a term is spreading faster then it’s understanding. Microlearning will remain hot in 2018, but my hope is that we get more clarity as an industry around what is is and where it applies.
Microlearning continues as a big trend because the content is generally a timely drip of highly relevant, easily digested material. Companies will continue to focus more on micro-learning so their employees can learn in small chunks whenever they want.
Spaced practice using micro-learning in the manner of Duolingo is a great way to learn a skill.
Micro-learning as #3 trend: 2 votes
Towards the end of 2017 I have been seeing a lot more microlearning examples shared on social media. Microlearning has been around forever but there’s a lot more social buzz about it now. Microlearning will definitely be trending upwards in 2018.
As long as Grovo does not actively pursue trademark infringement for on Microlearning®, I suspect that this will also continue to be a powerful trend in 2018.
Video is the #2 trend for 2018, up 1 spot from #3 in 2017. This year, 16 of our experts selected video as as a trend, with 6 of them picking it as their #1 trend.
Video as #1 trend: 6 votes
Video is the learning medium of choice for people everywhere. If in doubt, make a video.
Video is one of those things that flies under the radar for the most part. In 2018, video and video production will continue to fly under the radar, but more organizations will be planning their videos and making real video snippets which frequently get the name microlearning attached to them. It’s there, but video is not a buzzword.
Vision dominates all other senses and video is still a great medium for learning. The trend will continue by using video in different ways to share processes and working out loud to teach.
Video is versatile and can be used in different ways – for performance support, for interactive scenarios and for storytelling – this coupled with ease of creation e.g. using a mobile phone, means that anyone can be a producer and share their expertise. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood blockbuster, just helpful, relevant and easy to find.
CLO and Workforce data for the past two years have been showing us a trend toward increased use of video, both for learning and for HR communications. We’re reaching a nadir of majority adoption. Low barriers to entry make this a fast growing practice.
Video production continues to get easier and cheaper. We create video on our phones, on DSLR cameras, and high end video cameras. We are also seeing more 360 degree video production. It’s the easiest, fastest, cheapest format for capturing knowledge, skills, real world activities, and virtual on-screen activities. This trend will only continue to grow.
Video as #2 trend: 4 votes
It’s all about video in a learning system. The authoring tools not so much, nor any 3rd parties. That said, expect an increase in video management functionality which will include ties into micro, social, mobile incl. apps, web cam and so forth.
Youtube continues to dominate the eyeballs of young cord-cutting viewers. Can’t we learn at work the same way DIY dads muddle their way through repairs around the house?
Attention spans of all ages continue to plummet as our mobile phones. Learners in your organization clamor for concise information in 2-3 minute bites. Can your current training go micro?
Video consumption has been skyrocketed, not only in content marketing but learning as well. We now have the same amount of cr@#$p on YouTube in video as in blogs everywhere else. It is now time to unlearn, learn and share how to create authentic, good content.
Increasing use of good quality purpose-built video was the trend for 2017 in almost all contexts. It’s not going away. It’s a solid approach being used in online learning and will continue to be a trend in 2018.
Video as #3 trend: 6 votes
There is no way we can communicate I feel better than video of you are talking about educating a world. You can be in the comfort of your home or anywhere and learn. That takes up back to mobile. People being able to view your content on any device. Priceless and video will take us there.
Video is everywhere. The applications are growing and it being seen as a micro-learning vehicle are only going to expand its use. Additionally, as more and more social tools incorporate video functionality at their core, the saturation levels could lead to a backlash before the year is out.
Video is a powerful tool for communicating and educating (look at all the how-to videos on YouTube). Anyone can create a video with relative ease and interactive video is just ramping up to make the experience more immersive.
Video is has been on the upswing for the last couple of years, and I don’t see the trend slowing down. Well constructed and engaging video’s can do more for learning in the moment than any other tool. YouTube videos are viewed 4 billion times every day. Vimeo videos are viewed 715 million times every month. Face it, people love video’s and your mobile and overall learning strategy needs to have video well placed within it.
Video and interactive learning will continue to grow in 2018. I have personally been watching a lot of video for my own learning and have experienced firsthand the improved retention video based learning provides over text. At ProProfs, we would continue to improve and enhance our video capabilities and are building innovative features for interactive video based learning.
As someone who helps L&D Professionals ramp up their video skills, I’ve seen a huge change in the demand and capability of my students in the last year. People are finally realizing that the future is here and that yes, you really can shoot, edit, & distribute decent video content for free with the device in your pocket. I expect that we’ll see as much new eLearning Video content created in 2018 as in all previous years combined.
#3: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is our #3 trend, up 5 spots from #8 in 2017. This year 10 experts selecting AI as a trend and 7 picked it as their #1 trend.
AI as #1 trend (7 votes)
Machine Learning will start to guide the developer and the learner for Optimizing Learning
Actually the term is deep learning. AI within a learning system isn’t a true accurate description. Anyway, deep learning will see a big boost, especially as its capabilities are maximized. I expect a couple of vendors to use deep learning with a bookmarklet capability too.
AI has already has a massive effect on pedagogy through Google and is now behind almost all online interaction, as AI is the new UI. We are now seeing it used in real organizations right across the learning journey from learner engagement, learner support, LMS delivery, teaching courses and assessment. It is the primary driver behind most technology so is bound, in time, to be the primary driver behind learning technology.
We’re building our content intelligence engine to feed AI with the insights it needs to make amazingly accurate recommendations based on where the learner is at in their knowledge journey. Look to 2018 for the delivery of the most personalized and dynamic learning programs imaginable! Here’s a sneak preview.
Science-based learning is converging with AI to bring us new ways to understand how people learn, by studying advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Technologies like Microsoft Graph (O365) are making it possible to surface user-generated learning content and make it available to the larger organization. This will elevate individual and team level best practices, job aids, etc., into performance support resources that will transform the entire company.
New pathways for learning are emerging where the learner can build their own program. For this to work well, AI is needed to mine the data and personalize the learning experience (aka Jill Watson).
AI as #2 trend (1 vote)
Artificial Intelligence is very trendy already, but few know what it really means. In terms of L&D, for starters it will simply mean automated recommendations of content. We’re starting to see it already, we’ll see a whole lot more of that in 2018.
AI as #3 trend (2 votes)
AI will continue as a trend into 2018 but mostly as a topic of conversation. Larger enterprise companies will begin to experiment with the collection of technologies connected to the term. These early experiments will be reported on extensively, and drive a wave of fear across the industry. But any major adoption is going to take several years as the technology matures.
Automation requires intelligent systems, and I think the time is now for realtime AI performance support. We’re seeing it in sales channels and in some online tools now. Enterprise adoption for supporting call centers or other staff is the next obvious space to develop this technology. It will take a commitment to content strategy and information architecture, which will require a shift of thinking for a lot of L&D departments and organizations as a whole. I hope we get this right, because it’s super powerful.
#4: Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality (AR) is the #4 trend of 2018. Last year, VR/AR were a combined trend category and ranked together at #4. On it’s own, AR held onto the #4 spot and VR ranked at #7. This year 10 of our experts selecting AR as a trend, with 4 picking it as their #1 trend.
AR as #1 trend (4 votes)
Augmented reality introduces some amazing possibilities for e-Learning. From step-by-step instruction overlays while you work on a device to immersive learning environments in which the learner can engage and interact!
AR has the potential to put just in time training exactly where we need it. This year we’ll see more users with the tools they need to tap into it.
Apple’s latest operating system and hardware includes support for AR. Other major players like Facebook and Snapchat are already using AR features. Amazon Sumerian and joins Google’s Magic Leap were announced this past year.
2018 probably won’t be the year your mom does AR on her phone, but looking through your training classes, you’ll see more users familiar with it in their daily lives.
AR can provide real-time, on-site, step-by-step visual guidance for complex tasks. We need to help build companies build implementation road maps that lay out AR benefits and capabilities needed to expand its use.
The technologies supporting Augmented Reality (AR) have advanced exponentially in the last year. AR is now prevalent in the newest smartphones and the general public is growing for familiar with it. AR is the ultimate performance support tool providing immediate context at work sites.
AR as #2 trend (3 votes)
Augmented Reality in eLearning was certainly another hot topic in 2017 and will continue to grow in 2018.
I think this trend will go beyond 2018 to really gain traction but for me this will be one of my main focuses in 2018 and I have seen others exploring these areas as well. I love the idea of AR much more than VR. AR adds an additional layer to our current world. It does not place us in another world like VR. What this means is we could have content show right within our world helping us dive deeper into learning. Here is an example. If I am a new employee and I am trying to get to know my new place, imagine how cool it would be to pull out my phone and explore the new place with my phone acting like my virtual tour guide giving me additional information about whatever I am looking at. I could be walking around the new building and when I come across certain objects or places additional information, videos or helpful files could show on my phone. Or maybe when I am at my desk I could point my phone at a document and some helpful information about that document and what I can do with that document could pop up. I see that being a help performance support tool.
I think we’re on the verge of being able to capitalize on AR in practical ways. The concept has been great, but now our tools are bringing this capability into real implementation.
AR as #3 trend (3 votes)
Augmented Reality (AR) is something that I’m not really well-versed in, but I’ve seen some really neat projects come to fruition in 2017, and I’m interested to see how this is expanded upon in the coming year.
Again more of a wish, i would love to see augmented reality become more a of a part of learning. It is a great way to deliver just in time learning. Imagine a cleaner in a restaurant seeing a new cleaning fluid, they may be confused but after scanning the product with their phone they have a short learning experience delivered that helps them do their job. Just in time learning delivered using Augmented reality.
I can see AR and Mixed Reality making great strides in 2018. When Google Glass re-positioned as an enterprise tool, I thought it was a smart move. The novelty factor for consumer applications would wear off, but the ability to deliver just-in-time contextual instruction makes it a winner. Whether or not instructional designers can transition to use a delivery method like AR/MR is the question.
Mobile is the #5 trend for 2018, down 4 spots from #1 in 2017. This year, 10 experts selected it overall, with 2 of our experts picking it as their #1 trend.
Mobile as #1 trend (2 vote)
Mobile learning has been happening for over 10 years, and this trend will continue in 2018. Now that mobile learning has been around for a while, we’re learning how to do mobile more effectively than to just put long courses on a smaller screen. The impending demise of Flash will require significant effort in the next few years converting and upgrading old Flash courses to HTML5, which also makes content accessible on more devices.
I feel that we are now in the mobile space. If you look around everyone has a phone. If you look at the economic in Africa mobile technology drive the country’s entrepreneurial drive. This is also harpoon just about every country. In my space, education, it is about trying to reach both the students and parents and I feel mobile has a major park to pay in the process.
Mobile as #2 trend (5 votes)
Mobile provides the perfect complement to Augmented Reality! Combine the two and you have a real double-threat when it comes to providing performance-based support for today’s workforce.
Mobile devices have exceeded desk top devices and many people are learning on the go.
Mobile will continue to pick up steam in 2018 as HTML5, virtual classroom and video-based learning and performance support availability increases, especially for mobile/remote job roles like Sales.
This has been a “trend” for years, which makes me wonder if we can still really consider it a trend, or rather just the way things are. The more specific trend we are seeing is a increase in customers who are looking for phone compatibility versus just tablet compatibility.
In an age when the majority of learners use their phones or tablets on a constant basis, it’s important that they are able to learn using their preferred technology.
Mobile as #3 trend (3 votes)
Mobile continues to excite and aggravate us after more than a decade of false starts. The demand is unquestionably there but getting engaging content on mobile devices has been a slow crawl. There are glimmers on the horizon that we might finally start seeing substantial projects make it to mobile as more and more Learning Management Platforms provide substantial support for mobile ready content.
CLO and Workforce data for the past several years have shown increasing investment in mobile delivery and communications for learning and HR. We’ve heard this before, without the expected results, but it seems like learning practitioners may have finally figured out what mobile is good for, and now know where and when to use it.
Creating responsive courses will be key for mobile learning in 2018. Responsive courses will create a better mobile experience for the learner, keeping the more engaged and focused.
xAPI is the #6 trend of 2018, up 4 spots from #10 in 2017. 9 of our experts selected xAPI as a trend this year, with 4 of them selecting it as their #1 trend.
xAPI as #1 trend (4 votes)
I believe 2018 will be the year for xAPI to really take off. I don’t see xAPI as a trend but I see adoption of it trending upwards. I think we will see more companies (both vendors and clients) adopting xAPI and see it used in more of a variety of ways, as well as more innovative ways.
xAPI will gain even more traction in 2018. More companies will begin to realize that they need to track learning beyond the eLearning course in their LMS and track the complete learning experience for their employees which includes social learning, team-based learning, games, etc.
The technology and standards we’ve all been waiting for are finally arriving! There is real momentum in the world of xAPI now, and in the coming year we’ll see even more of it. We’ll also see more major vendors jumping on board to keep pace.
I think the acceleration from 2017 will continue in 2018 in terms of xAPI adoption and the development of tools that will make it easier for instructional designers to generate statements and develop a data strategy.
xAPI as #3 trend (5 votes)
There is such a great interest in xAPI these days as evidenced by the large crowds at xAPI workshops and presentations. As performance measurement, data and metrics become more important in organizations, learning professionals seem to be turning to xAPI for solutions.
This should be a trend (I’m afraid it won’t). Moving away from Scorm and traditional LMS is a must if e-Learning wants to play a role
As society marches deeper into the information age, the SCORM standard looks more antiquated by the day. The modern learner wants to comment and share, not simply log in for a record of required training.
xAPI extends reporting capabilities beyond just online completion and attendance records. Results and models of large-scale implementations are trickling in. For herds of nerds, xAPI becomes a critical tool for helping modern learners wade through a company’s information and reporting back to stakeholders.
xAPI will make the transition from subject-based to situation-based learning a bit easier as it challenges the fail notion that courses are performance solutions. However, xAPI faces big cultural and behavioral challenges from L&D staff that may not be ready for this type of change.
xAPI has been a trend for me for a while, but I feel it is finally gaining the traction it needs. You have tools like DominKnow Flow that truly support xAPI, you have people that are really more willing to learn the code that it takes to use xAPI so I see it picking up more and more over the next year. I implemented several courses that use just xAPI, no ties to an LMS and all and I just have been blown away by the amount of data that comes in. I am able to see details like how videos inside my course are being used, what pages within my course are more popular and learners are able to get to my courses from a website without logging into an LMS. This just gives me a lot more flexibility than an LMS does. I still think there is a place and a need for an LMS but an LRS and xAPI just open up a whole lot more possibilities that I am excited about taking further in 2018.
#7: Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality (VR) is the #7 trend for 2018. Last year, VR/AR was a single category and ranked at #4 in 2017. So it’s pretty impressive that both VR and AR made the top 10 individually. This year, 8 experts selected VR as a trend, with 5 of them picking it as their #1 trend.
VR as #1 trend (5 votes)
I’m still really interested in the possibilities of Virtual Reality. Right now it’s more about possibilities than actualities, but that’s part of the process. It has the potential to be a game changer for our field.
Virtual Reality in eLearning has been a hot topic at virtually every event in 2017. I suspect that interest in VR for eLearning will increase in 2018.
I’d like to see Virtual Reality grow, but not requiring wearables. 3D interactive video can provide significant benefits alone without requiring the learner to invest in wearables or high-end phones. Being able to load a VR scene on any device and interact with it may not be immersive but brings just as substantial benefit; more of a ‘serious games’ approach.
2018 will be a pivotal year for VR. With new standalone devices coming from both Oculus and HTC, consumer adoption of VR is poised to explode. With that, opportunities and applications of the technology for training and development will quickly emerge. L&D needs to be ready.
In Science and Engineering based contexts, Virtual Reality is coming to online courses quickly. It will be the number one trend in 2018 for Science and Engineering disciplines.
VR as #2 trend (2 votes)
Being able to visit places virtually is huge. You can take students on trips without leaving the classroom. Also with the economy the way it is, VR provides a great alternative. Imagine being able to go under the sea right in your classroom or visit another country. Powerful.
VR has been around awhile but only recently has the barrier to entry become more affordable. With that, more early adopters will continue to look for ways to immerse learners in virtual spaces.
VR as #3 trend (1 vote)
I placed this 3rd because the tech is still expensive to implement and deploy in the enterprise.
#8: Science-based learning
Science-based learning is the #8 trend for 2018, up 5 spots from #13 in 2917. This year, 7 of our experts selected science-based learning as a trend, with 1 of them picking it as his #1 trend.
Science-based learning as #1 trend (1 vote)
I think we’re seeing a backlash against hype and a recognition that we have gotten a wee bit too silly about learning styles, generations, and more. And our lack of clarity around concepts like microlearning and gamification still require some education to cut through the fog. I think we’ll see a push to provide solid alternatives to the myths and definition around the concepts.
Science-based learning as #2 vote (2 votes)
I’ll always be an advocate for using the best available science to inform our practice. Keeping up with that research is a challenge, but we need to keep finding ways to incorporate it.
What’s needed for #1 [too much chasing of trends].
Science-based learning as #3 trend (4 votes)
Science-based learning has actually been a core competency for every learning professional, the science has just started evolving much more rapidly in recent years, making it appear to be a trend.
The real emerging trend in 2018 will be the realization that science can teach us to create better learning. When our industry embraces the science of learning and begins to understand how the human brain reacts to different learning stimuli, the learning will get better. This starts with people doing research and there’s now a body of research that has grown enough to be taken seriously.
Maybe this is my wishful thinking rather than my prediction, but I do see an increasing trend toward science-based and evidence-based learning. While plenty of myths are still perpetuated by the unscrupulous and unaware, I see backlash against pseudoscience. We are fortunate in our field to have folks like Will Thalheimer, Patti Shank, and Julie Dirksen who are working to debunk myths and make research more accessible to practitioners.
It seems that many in L&D do what they see others do without questioning the validity/effectiveness of it. We should all be digging into the learning science and other relevant fields to gain a foundational understanding of what works, what doesn’t and why.
#9a: Subscription tools and learning
Subscription learning is tied for the #9 trend of of 2918, pretty close to where it ranked in 2017 (#11). This year, 6 of our experts selected it as a trend, with 1 picking it as her #1 trend.
Subscription learning as #1 trend (1 vote)
As the tools are now all moving to a subscription-based model, I see courses moving toward the same approach. LMS systems that offer subscription-based courses for learners will follow suit.
Subscription learning as #2 trend (3 votes)
It seems as though subscription-based models are becoming more popular within e-learning (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud/Articulate 360), so I’m interested to see what other tools adapt current practices to this new model in the future. Additionally, subscription-based learning is occurring within e-learning (e.g., Lynda.com, Codeacademy, etc.), so it will be interesting to see whether more learning subscriptions pop up in 2018.
Second thing I’m seeing (best examples come from the marketing space) – “here’s a quick thing you can do today”. Done via email. Builds on each other.
Everything is moving to the cloud, but the e-Learning world is lagging behind. With the cloud comes the subscription model.
Subscription learning as #3 trend (2 votes)
Subscription seems to be the way many tools are going. Cloud-based tools allow rapid and constant product improvements. With so much disruptive and innovative “tech” around for the Instructional Designer, this is a great way to purchase tools that you may want to test before including in your arsenal of offerings. Subscription tools such as PowToon and Videoscribe, (my animation weapons of choice…) allow anyone to learn and produce offerings that support learning to a level that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.
Right now enterprise software companies like Salesforce are making big announcements for 2018 (search for myTrailhead) to bring tools to drive innovative internal and external programs. The ‘Learning as a Service” concept is great news for anyone in corporate education because it means that chances are your company will be looking into finally giving you the respect you deserve! Gone will be the days where learning is consider over head and finally it will get spun into more and more of a profit center … The Learning as a Service model is based on the power of education as being the most important part of sales and the fact that buyers are done being sold to. — Buyers want to go through their own self-discovery education process that’s tailored to them before they interface with a company.
#9b: Personalized Learning
Personalized learning is tied for the #9 trend in 2018, up a few spots from #13 in 2017. This year 6 of our experts selected it as a trend, with 1 picking it as his #1 trend.
Personalized learning as #1 trend (1 vote)
Personalized learning brings together a number of smaller trends (eg. xAPI, AI, accessibility). It offers the potential to reduce costs and improve outcomes. And there is a lot of big-money support behind it. It is also controversial, promising benefits that may never be realized. 2018 is when many of these factors interact, for better or worse.
Personalized learning as #2 trend (3 votes)
This is, in fact a subset of AI – adaptive, personalized learning is now being delivered on scale. The evidence is coming through about its efficacy. There are huge opportunities here for effective and efficient learning beyond the traditional batched models.
One size doesn’t fit all. It doesn’t work for clothes and it doesn’t work for learning in the workplace. Personalized and adaptive learning allows for people to choose their learning paths and in doing so, they are more motivated to learn and progress.
Personalized learning in the form of adaptive learning will revolutionize the way content is delivered by including and adjusting to a learner’s aptitude level.
Personalized learning as #3 trend (2 votes)
The demand for pulling content on a specific topic at a specific moment is unique to each individual. Personalized learning paths are similar and believe more orgs will look for new dynamic strategies.
Most people want the learning to be meaningful to them personally
#9c: Performance Support
Performance Support is tied for the #9 trend in 2017, up 12 spots from last year (#21). This year 6 of our experts selected performance support as a trend, with 1 picking it as her #1 trend.
Performance Support as #1 trend (1 vote)
Clients are looking for quick-bite, single-task, easy to find how-to performance support guides with decision-trees based on their individual workflows. Doesn’t necessarily need to be “eLearning”.
Performance Support as #2 trend (5 votes)
Performance support is learning of any type that is “…accessible and applicable at the moment of need…”. Tools such as Storyline 360 make it INCREDIBLY easy to deploy onto any sort of platform, rapidly, but professionally. Companies can really start to think about ways to “instantly” tell people about something, when they need to know, or provide sources that can be mined by the learner as and when they feel they need to learn. I see this as being something that more and more clients will want to explore in 2018.
Micro learning is a hot topic, but the need for Performance Support is the driver behind that. Are people getting what they need when they need it?
The driver behind increased performance support is the focus on support for new and middle managers, where we expect to see increasing emphasis. Younger people are being pushed into manager roles at an increasing pace, and no one wants to set them up to fail.
Performance support has always existed, but has taken on many other terms. Microlearning, for instance, to me is just performance support. I think we are seeing authoring tools and content management systems that are being design to support more self-support and designing simple, chunked content solutions that can be adapted into larger courses, but are useful as standalone performance support solutions.
Performance support can reduce or eliminate the “need” for training, so it should be considered more often than it is.
12 additional trends had multiple votes from our experts:
#12 Influences from outside L&D
#13: Traditional eLearning decline
#14: Too much chasing of trends
#15: Visual Design
#16: Spaced Learning
#20: Immersive Learning
And 18 additional trends each got one vote from our experts (all tied for #24):
Modern Professional Learning
User generated learning
The right sized thing in the right place at the right time
Connections between eLearning and other tools
All the Trends
Live Streaming Video
Debunking bad training fads will continue
#12 Influences from outside L&D
6 total votes this year. None as #1 pick, 4 as #2, and 2 as their #3 trend.
I think this year more than ever we will see influences from outside L&D making more of an impact. We’re already integrating tech like AR and VR into design but I think this year will be a big year for more UX/UI practices to influence how we design digital learning experiences.
L&D tends to be an integration of many fields so it is easy to find principles, practices and tools from outside of L&D that make us more effective. In particular, I see practitioners adopting practices from user experience, visual communication, Agile methods and Design Thinking.
L&D innovation needs to reflect improvements in productivity, outcomes for stakeholders, influencers. L&D practitioners needs to be more comfortable demonstrating value that generalizes beyond deeply held personal opinions.
L&D needs to borrow from other fields like marketing, psychology, and others. Marketers are much better at thinks like using stories that appeal to emotions and tap into the “Lizard Brain” that controls 95%+ of human behavior.
The most exciting innovations I see are often coming from other fields. In particular, the science and practice of behavior change is becoming a crucial field for us in L&D to be aware of.
I think L&D is finally recognizing that it’s been in a silo too long, and needs to connect to real business values, and practices in adjacent fields like UI/UX, AI, marketing, and more. There are opportunities to move L&D forward.
#13: Traditional eLearning decline
5 total votes this year. 2 as #1 trend, 0 as #2, and as #3 trend.
This year, I don’t think that I have created more than a handful of “classic” eLearning courses. Fewer and fewer people, (those clients that I have anyhow…) seem to want them. More and more, I’m creating eLearning “stories”, and 5-8 minute “microcourses”, based around animations with a voiceover. Last year I wrote the following for upcoming trends – and it has come to pass, with my client-base anyway. “…Paradoxically for eLearning software companies, as courses get shorter, the need for “interactions” reduces, as 3-5 minute videos/animations, (if compelling and appropriate for the learner) can still be very powerful and well-received on a “view only” basis, (like a lot of social media content)…”
In general, more and more people are drawn to a more modern, less traditional look and interface. Pragmatic, functional, clean, meaningful is becoming more important than traditional and institutional. Key question – what makes sense to the learners?
Click-next e-learning is already on the decline, but will continue to do so, e-training will become more innovative
I don’t necessarily see the decline as a trend; I just picked this because I think it’s interesting that e-learning has been mainstream for long enough that we can even use terms like “traditional e-learning.”
Traditional e-learning tutorials (and I don’t mean scenarios) have always had great potential but no-one has been able to fulfil that potential and they’ve been trying since the late 1970s. Time to try something else.
#14: Too much chasing of trends
5 total votes, 2 as #1 trend, 2 as #2, and 1 as #3 trend.
It is damaging to chase fads and trends while our organizations need real results. Luckily, evidence-based practice provides the best results, according to meta-analyses (studies that combine studies). Let’s master the basics.
We shouldn’t let trends decide how we respond to a problem. The nature of the problem and the needs of the people involved should decide the format and solution.
There’s a difference between a trend, which is a significant and widespread change in learning practice, and hype generated by people who are out to make a quick buck. We need to learn how to distinguish between the two.
Rather than a focus on how to (help) solve and support performance problems in the best and appropriate way for the individuals concerned and the problems they face.
“Too much trend chasing”. Why aren’t MOOCs on the list? What happened to Second Life? The industry needs to give more consideration to what is a trend and what is a longer-term goal that can be tested, refined, and achieved. Personalized Learning has been a long-sought goal; it shouldn’t pop-up as a trend every few years. What is the longer-term strategy to achieve it?
As a training professional, trends don’t matter. Effectiveness is what matters. All the items listed are important. Some are used more than others.
#15: Visual Design
5 total votes, 0 as #1 trend, 3 as #2, and 2 as #3 trend.
As with video becoming both mainstream and under the radar, so is visual design. Training organizations are stepping up to understanding the importance of visual design and making better looking lessons that have everything from great looking graphics to terrific looking video. Learners will pay more attention.
This is more of a wish that a prophecy. the visual design of learning really needs to improve overall. We now live in a world where Phones, Websites and Apps are much better looking than most elearning that is developed.
Mobile phones and apps have made the use of software mainstream. Most of the world is using software regularly on their phones & laptops – every day and most parts of the day. This is largely fueled by software getting exceptionally easy to use. Advancement in simplicity of design is not only powering this growth but also setting new standards in what users expect from any interactive software. Learning software are no exception and would need to continue to invest in improving the experience they offer.
The e-Learning industry tends to mimic what is happening visually in the tech, advertising, and movie industries. As those industries continue to evolve and push the boundaries of visual design, so will ours. Learners have come to expect clean, modern, sleek designs that get to the point both contextually and visually.
This should always be in the top 3. Without an instructor present, slides have to carry more weight. Solid visual design can do so much.
#16: Spaced Learning
4 total votes, 1 as #1 trend, and 3 as their #2 trend.
It seems like research findings are becoming increasingly disseminated in L&D teams because I hear learning professionals declaring that one learning intervention is not enough. Spaced learning is more effective and this seems to be catching on.
One-off eLearning events are largely ineffective whereas spacing learning over time has been shown to result in improved learning. At DevLearn this year, I heard spacing learning mentioned in three of the presentations I attended, so hopefully this will gain more traction in 2018.
Since spaced learning has a lot of research support, it should be a trend, rather than something that is rarely considered.
Again, when done properly this is a subset of AI. Ignored since Ebbinghaus, we are now realizing that it is probably one of the most effective things we can do to increase retention and performance.
4 total votes, 1 as #1 trend, 2 as #2 trend, and 1 as #3 trend.
In Canada in 2018, there will be major updates made to the Accessibilities Disabilities Act. These updates will mandate compliance within higher education institutions. While Universal Design for Learning is a practice generally followed at many institutions, it isn’t a formal practice at all. The changes to the ADA will fast-track changes to ensure ADA compliance among these institutions, so I see it as being a more highly discussed trend in 2018.
I prefer the term ‘usability’ as it encourages eLearning creators to think about what they are making and everyone who will use the eLearning. This includes the devices they use to access (PC and mobile), the visual design and layout (clean and uncluttered), the writing (using plain language), colours and fonts (readable), and including meaningful interactivity.
Far too long has accessibility been ignored in e-learning and online education. In 2018 we will see more attention given to accessibility, setting the foundation of a larger effort in the coming years to make not just e-learning, but the internet more accessible.
The prevalence on online courses in almost all programs, sectors and locations is growing. Consequently, an increase focus on accessibility will be a trend in 2018 and beyond.
3 total votes, 2 as #1 trend and 1 as #2 trend.
Social is evolving. As platforms alone didn’t become the magical change agents many assumed, we are beginning to see deeper understanding and appreciation for organizational design, sociology and psychology. Social tech is doing more than increasing collaboration, it’s helping us better understand the circumstances and environments where collaboration can thrive.
Social learning is going to continue to grow in 2018. In the last few years, we have all seen social networks becomes pervasive and an integral part of the lives of most people. In comparison their growth in learning has lagged behind leaving a lot of room for them grow in 2018. We experimented with providing learner based networks in 2017 and saw a massive response so are doubling down on that effort.
I’m looking forward to some breakthroughs in the Social learning space this year. I’d like to see gamification, social and engagement come together to focus on how we can both facilitate learning through user generated content sharing and create structures that allow people to be recognized for their skill mastery and active contributions to the organizational knowledge pool.
2 total votes, 1 as #1 trend and 1 as #3 trend.
L&D will continue to be held increasingly accountable by both the organization and the employee. Just like other parts of a modern business, L&D will be measured based on impact more and more and consumption less and less.
With quick bites and subscriptions (both of which naturally space), comes the call for regular accountability and reinforcement of practice. Not “one and done”.
#20: Immersive Learning
2 total votes with both as their #2 trend.
E-Learning has stiff competition with social networks, YouTube, email, and other tasks that demand our attention. Generic “one size fits all” e-learning is less likely to hold learner attention. Lessons will need to be specific to the learner, immersing them into realistic situations where possible.
Immersive learning includes virtual reality, augmented reality and performance support. These are all about increasing the learner’s investment in the learning and speak directly to motivation and engagement. There is quite properly a lot of skepticism about the idea that these will replace other forms of learning, but they will be seen to play an increasing role in job training, social learning, and in support of effective learning outcomes.
2 total votes with both as their #3 trend.
I expect to see more resources with interactive elements, including the ability to manipulate the code, change the data sources, and combine social learning with realtime data. This may be a sleeper trend for 2018 but with the increase in cloud-based applications and personal data spaces this has the potential to break into the mainstream.
Humans are engaged when their mind is challenged, not when they have to move their mouse. Interactivity is not about click and reveals! Interactivity is the process of relevance-challenge-action-feedback-engagement. HOW you create interactivity depends on your specific goals (back to human-centered design).
2 total votes with 1 as #2 trend and 1 as #3 trend.
I had this as a trend last year and I’ve seen quite a lot of people talking about them for learning purposes, so I think it’s got potential, especially for early adopter organizations. The voice activated services like Alexa and Google Home are an interesting application too.
Chatbots and Smart Speakers will rock the curiosity/knowledge space
2 total votes with both as their #3 trend.
While not a sexy new technology, I think Context will be a key word in 2018. The word applies in many ways, but what many of the trends we’re following are doing is putting content closer to the context in which it is being used. Context is the common thread of how technology is being used to enhance learning.
Hopefully 2018 will see a focus on real-world context. If learners cannot apply what they learn, than they are limited to repeating facts and figures. Combine this with AI and Mobile and you are on the right path for 2018!
The following trends each had 1 vote, but were the experts pick as their #1 trend.
Modern Professional Learning
This is continuous independent learning – using a range of resources that suit the individual for both workplace and professional needs. They are responsible for and control of their own learning. L&D’s role will be to promote, enable and support this – rather than control and track it. A big mindset change is beginning to take place.
The more that data science, deep learning and AI are driving algorithms for assembling learning and experience designs, the more learning designers need to develop data skills to continue driving the design bus. Its as much about data science and learning science as it is about art and design.
User generated learning
The old centralized top down model of e-Learning creation is changing. Companies are leveraging the power of their SMES and e-Learning creation is handed over to them
I believe that applicability is the most important aspect of any training program. “Can the knowledge and skills taught be directly applied to work?” How that is done, doesn’t really matter. Any of these methods can do it. However, as a CEO, I am most concerned about whether what is being taught can be applied right away. To me, the most important data point is, Time to 100% Competency. That’s what is most important to me.
We’re going to shift from focusing on content, length, tools, and technology to where we should have been in the first place: humans (via design thinking, UI/UX, gameful design, and Cathy Moore’s action mapping). We’re not building eLearning courses for learners, we’re helping humans do their job better, easier, or faster. If none of these are accomplished, it doesn’t matter what tech we’re wasting money on.
The right sized thing in the right place at the right time
There are no magic bullets. The most valuable solutions start with a holistic assessment that lead to the smart selection from a suite of options and efficient application that is well communicated.
Connections between eLearning and other tools
I’m seeing more of our clients ask about things like “sales enablement” and looking for solutions that will blend e-learning with support tools and resources. Less about tracking but more about a one-stop shop that’s made with the user in mind. Maybe it’s “LX” Learning Experience Design, like UX is User Experience.
All the Trends
We’ll continue to see an explosion of tools and platforms and myriad ways to deliver content, learning solutions, and information to people.
The rest of these trends each received 1 vote, but were not the #1 pick of any of the experts.
Gamification tools are increasing in number and improving in ease of use, enabling greater utilization in live and virtual classroom settings. Improvements in course authoring tools are enabling us to roll out short-burst eLearning “games” that are major components of pre and post training learning reinforcement and performance support.
Importance of ROI
ROI is less about generating a steady quarterly return on the dollar as it is about the ability to rationalize a documented AND felt return on the value obtained from investments in time, branding, commitment, money, staffing, dedicated to a campaign toward innovation/change.
Curation of Content/Context
So much content — really need Curation!
Can we kill SCORM already? Even Tin Can is becoming too old and crusty to hang with the evolution of what is becoming commonplace by inspired companies like Amazon and Netflix. For example, correlating activity to performance is impossible to pull from Tin Can. I believe blockchain’s ability to unlock and provide secure transparency of data will be lead to the most immersive learning programs in 2018 (and beyond) because of its unique ability to gather data nodes from a given user and generate a fit for purpose approach to their individual learning pathway.
Live Streaming Video
Yes, this seems to be the same as my #1 trend but it is not. The idea that anyone can open an app on their phone, tap a “go live” button, and instantly be live streaming video around the world is as revolutionary as text-based blogging was in 2000. The fact that your live streamed broadcast is also now SAVED as a video file… well, that is where trend #1 comes in. The use-cases and affordances offered by each are different. Live streaming is immediate and offers real time interaction and feedback. Posting pre-recorded video content allows for more focused design work to be added into the process.
I believe that assessments will be the new currency for learning. Companies are more interested in what you can actually do vs. the number of hours spent on training. Proving your skills via assessments and challenges earns certification rapidly without necessarily having to take lengthier courses to achieve the same.
Debunking bad training fads will continue
Am seeing more people interested in debunking the non-valuable fads that training tends to crowd around: neuro_____ (neuroscience, according to the author of the book Brain Rules, who is himself a neuroscientist, has little to help w/ learning and likely won’t for a while), learning styles (can you believe this is still talked about?), microlearning (If you want micro, try chunking. If you need help at the point of work, try performance support.) Learning out of context doesn’t stick… and so on.
Customization has become the norm in our everyday lives. Technology is enabling organizations to apply this concept to the workplace. L&D will continue to grow it’s data proficiency in order to provide not just personalized content but adaptive experiences to match the right support to the right person at the right time.
This is a combination of immersive learning, which is a requirement and digital media assets (a secondary requirement). Immersive can be VR, AR, MR, but the costs to do it yourself, or hire someone actually can be prohibitive, however, creating a digital learning course or content, with learning containers is very doable, low cost with high results. You need some types of digital media though, but easy to get.
I’m seeing a big increase at my workplace in Blended Learning. Learners learn basic content online and then come to a seminar to learn or demonstrate understanding of the practical content. This works well for topics like working at heights when the learner must demonstrate to a live person that they know how to wear a safety harness before they are allowed to use the equipment and pass the course.
Archive of 2017 eLearning Trends
What does the future of eLearning hold?
Where do you even start?
I think a good place is by asking 49 of the world’s leading eLearning experts the top 3 trends they predict for 2017.
So that’s just what I did.
Here are the two most interesting takeaways from surveying 49 eLearning experts:
- Trend of Trends: 9 trends were picked by 10% or more of the experts. See the infographic below.
- Expert commentary reveals insights: In addition to their 3 votes, each expert included commentary on why they picked the trends. There are a lot of amazing nuggets in the details, all of which is included below in the detailed interviews..
Beyond the Infographic
The infographic above does a nice job of summarizing the trends.
But the real value is in the detailed commentary, and the specific responses by each expert below.Download additional analysis and all the commentary in the free 2017 eLearning Learning Trends eBook.
Scroll down or click an experts name to see their response.
After a survey with my marketing, sales, and custom training services teams, I can identify what were most frequently identified as 2017 trends. I hasten to say that there are other avenues we wish were getting attention, but we realize the following trends have practical priorities for the majority of our clients:
Micro Learning — Short learning segments have multiple advantages, but what stands out is their facilitation of getting to specifically needed content very quickly. Microlearning is less about short attention spans than it is making sure that every minute in learning is productive and useful. Small segments lean heavily on good navigation and content curation.
Mobile Delivery — Coupled closely with micro learning, because nobody enjoys long sessions, especially on small devices, mobile micro learning allows taking advantage of short breaks in the day to learn. Although when it’s time to perform, it’s too late to learn and practice, a quick rehearsal or brush up on critical points or steps in a procedure can be very helpful. We see a trend to design and deliver training apps for smaller, mobile devices as a compliment to primary learning activities.
Gameful Design — This ranges from gamification to serious learning games. In our work, we’ve noted that the primary components of context, challenge, activity, and feedback (CCAF) are also primary components of successful, interactive games. So contrary to common beliefs, development of serious learning games is not a big leap from developing excellent e‑learning. Both can deliver the essential meaningful, memorable, and motivational learning activities, but all learning applications can benefit from some elements of gameful design.
The trends listed above are what we expect to see become mainstream strategies. There are really no surprises there. What may be more interesting is new directions that will become future trends, whether sooner or later. Those future trends include Spontaneous Learning Systems (SLS), Intelligent Mentoring Systems (IMS), and highly personalized learning services. Also, in some way or other, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality systems will surely find applicability in some sectors.
Michael Allen is the CEO of Allen Interactions. He has been a pioneer in the e-Learning industry since 1975. He’s well known for his books, thought leadership, and conference speaking engagements. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in educational psychology. You can learn more about Michael here.
Learning via technology is anything but novel. The Internet is overflowing with instructional content and information presentation. Because there is so much choice, people are learning to block out the superfluous, the irrelevant and the mediocre.
For our industry to stand above the noise, we need to think of ourselves as service providers. And our service is to understand what individuals and groups need and to provide it in an appealing and original way.
It may involve empowering others so they have the tools and abilities to learn on their own. It may be creating beautiful experiences that are easy to use and that provide speedy answers. Or it might be opportunities to explore, discover, play and practice.
We all know that trends don’t happen anew on January 1st. But movements build and gain momentum. I think the desire to try something new, to care about aesthetics and usability, and to become relevant to the workforce (again) are evolving standards in our field. I think these principles will continue to develop and grow.
Connie, known online as the “eLearning Coach,” is the author of Visual Design Solutions, a top rated eLearning design book. She has also been consulting independently for nearly two decades, with a focus on online learning, visual and information strategies and design. Learn more about Connie here.
Mobile, especially mobile content that changes dynamically to fit the size and orientation of the screen, and takes advantage of mobile capabilities will lead the pack with emphasis on micro-learning on mobile for smart phones.
Google first has become the mainstay of research for business pros and we’ll see a rise in solutions that support auditing, rating and sharing relevant professional resources within organizations that aligns with social and user generated content offerings.
Video remains the strongest long term trend. Expect continued improvements in the ease of getting streaming video content to learners, and improvements in delivering both standard and interactive video.
Dr. Partridge is an eLearning Evangelist for Adobe Systems. He has served on the Doctoral faculty of The University of Georgia & Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and taught education and the arts in Universities for more than 20 years. He has spoken to groups around the world about education and eLearning. Learn more about Allen and Adobe.
These may be wishful thinking on my part — it might be more accurate to say that these are the trends I’d like to see.
Julie is a well known eLearning author and speaker. She is a Learning Strategy Consultant for Usable Learning. She also holds an MS in Instructional System Technology. Julie’s book, Design for How People Learn, is a must read for every instructional designer. Learn more about Julie here.
In 2016 we saw each of these trends take root. In 2017 they will continue to grow as vendors begin to support the new trends more heavily. Many businesses are seeing the benefits of training the extended enterprise and looking for opportunities to shift their training departments from a cost center to generating revenue. Live mobile streaming video will continue to grow and integrate with communication, collaboration, and learning strategies. The movement towards VR is very real and will push into the training departments faster than many are anticipating.
Brent is the Chief Learning Strategist for Litmos and a recognized eLearning industry leader. He was well known as the Program Director of the eLearning Guild before taking senior leadership roles in the corporate sector. He also hosts the L&D Talk Youtube channel and is a popular blogger. Learn more about Brent here.
At eLearning Learning, we track what top thought leaders are saying on many topics. The top eLearning Trends 2017 being discussed are micro-learning, augmented reality, analytics, gamification and mobile learning.
Tony is best known in the eLearning industry for founding eLearning Learning, which pulls in blog posts from the most popular eLearning bloggers.
It is interesting to see how our experience of digital content in our home lives is now being echoed when we get to work. We may finally be seeing the end of the slide metaphor for e-learning content and the desktop tools that go along with this, although nothing moves quickly in corporate training.
Clive is the Founding Director at The More Than Blended Learning Company. He is a recognized thought leader and author in the eLearning space with over 30 years of experience in technology-assisted learning and communications. You can read more about Clive on his blog.
These are core trends, not fads like VR or blockchain. They reflect both the demand for wider (and cheaper) access, plus the rise of new distributed technologies that make it possible. The crucial (but non-sexy) word for 2017 is “provisioning”.
Stephen is a Researcher, Learning and Performance Support for the National Research Council Canada. He’s one of the originators of MOOC and is well known in the industry for his OLDaily newsletter, which I’ve been subscribed to since 2009. Learn more about Stephen here.
The learning market is becoming a learning-technology market going crazy with disruptive new companies and products. This hurts established players who are freaking out trying to find new ways to reach customers. Biggest good trend is more and better tools for subscription-learning (threaded-microlearning) utilizing research on spacing. Biggest hidden trend: more companies are doing research on their own products! Also, more organizations are opting out of their traditional learner-feedback forms and opting into performance-focused smile sheets (disclosure: of which I am the creator). Backlashes arising for poor uses of microlearning, gamification, neuroscience. Finally, too much crappy information in content marketing.
Will is a Learning and Performance Consultant and Researcher, and the author of the popular book, Performance Focused Smile Sheets. He is a frequent speaker and workshop leader and known as a thought leader in the eLearning industry. Learn more about Will here.
As costs decrease, technology such as augmented reality, 360° video, NFC tags and more will be available for those content areas where they make sense.
eLearning tool vendors that still don’t allow publishing for mobile devices will find themselves with ever-smaller market shares.
Learners will be able to contribute video recordings and other media from their mobile phones to community learning sites. Social networks will allow them to help one another more and more.
“eLearning Joe,” as he’s known in the industry, is a frequent keynote and conference speaker, an author, teacher, and consultant. He’s the owner of eLearning Joe, where he both builds custom eLearning solutions and teaches clients and students using a hands-on style. Learn more about Joe.
Mobile is the growth driver in e-learning and many of the trends will stem from it. Social learning concepts, micro-content, and informal learning are a result of the mobile learning surge. Expect ‘snappy’, concise courses that leverage the social components that we are used to but outside of the formal e-learning context.
Justin is the founder of LearnDash, an LMS built on WordPress. He’s also the author of the popular Learning & Collaboration blog. Learn more about Justin and his company here.
Businesses will not invest in a trend that doesn’t prove a profit or tangible results.
Rick is the President of Relate Corporation, an e-Learning and Training company. He also hosts the popular eLearnChat video series, where he has interviewed over 100 eLearning experts. You can learn more about Rick here.
We are moving into a world where companies want just in time learning, they want employees to be able to learn what they want when they want. To do this Microlearning becomes the ideal solution and mobile via responsive learning becomes the ideal vehicle.
Phil is the Creative Director of Elearning Laboratory. He is an Articulate Super Hero and award-winning eLearning developer. Learn more about Phil and his company here.
As technology and apps continue to improve I believe we’ll continue to see more and more video content being utilized in eLearning environments. There will also be more opportunities to engage students in projects, with an emphasis on higher order thinking skills, including the creation of videos, podcasts, blogs and more. The use of mobile devices for learning will continue to rise as the number of people with mobile devices increases, along with the increased emphasis on optimizing websites and applications to accommodate mobile users. Peer feedback, social learning, and personalized learning should also gain momentum.
Oliver is a Staff Author, Education & eLearning for LinkedIn and Lynda.com. He’s also a frequent speaker and author. His mission is to help provide content, professional development and opportunities for anyone who wants to empower themselves through learning. Learn more about Oliver here.
It’s no accident that neuroscience and AI are my top two trends, since they are interconnected. While we have been seeing both topics pop up here and there for years, 2017 will be the year they become part of the day to day conversation instead of just promising curiosities.
Margie is the Chief Freedom Officer of Learningtogo. She’s the “brain lady” and brings her insights from the neurosciences to enhance learning and performance. She’s also the author of popular book, Brain Matters: How to help anyone learn anything using neuroscience. Learn more about Margie and her company here.
As the pace of our world accelerates, organizations need to move from delivering training to a new mindset of driving people towards proficiency more quickly. Frequently, this means doing more with less. The most effective among us are moving beyond creating traditional courses to more efficient options like curating existing content instead of recreating the wheel. Increasingly, the best content is created by people outside the training department. And while we still have a way to go, most content creation tools are at least moving towards a mobile-first view of the world.
Mike is a learning technologist at Mindset Digital, as well as a former Community Manager at Articulate. He is also a frequent eLearning conference presenter and expert eLearning blogger. You can learn more about Mike on his blog.
I have a big problem with L&D following ‘trends’. IMHO one of the big problems with L&D is that all too often we follow trends rather than focusing on workplace learning that improves both individual and business performance.
Generally spending so much time and energy on trends results in a focus on the minutiae rather than on the bigger picture. In my experience its the combination of lots of relevant and appropriate learning interventions that keep the bigger picture in mind which will lead to overall improved business performance and to a better equipped workforce.
Lesley is a Senior Consultant at Learn Appeal and a Facilitator for #chat2lrn on Twitter. She specializes in analyzing complex situations and designing, implementing, and managing programs from a local to national scale. Follow Lesley on Twitter here.
I’m predicting…a lot of different learning. No really NEW trends, but still trends.
1. Microlearning is a hot topic at most e-learning conferences these days, with the whole ‘learner’s attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish’ (despite that being debunked).
2. Adaptive learning and personalizing the learning experience is becoming critical – it’s been done well in few places, but the learning world is demanding more.
3. Immersive learning will continue its reign as an e-learning trend, and technologies (e.g. VR/AR) are becoming more sustainable, so it seems worth keeping an eye on.
Ashley is an author, speaker, instructional designer, and eLearning developer. She has authored several books on Articulate Storyline and well known in the Articulate community for sharing both her insights and her examples. Ashley also blogs frequently about eLearning. Learn more about Ashley here.
Chatbots are growing in terms of technology and efficiency. When chatbots first came into picture, lack of coherence doubted its future. But now with technology advancement, chatbots are assisting in every field from taking orders to calculating taxes. I believe that chatbots can be seen as future instructors in elearning environment and can start out by answering many of the basic or repetitive questions students have.
The other thing to watch out for in 2017 will be the integration of wearable technology in e-learning. With the evolution of technologies like Google Glass, Smart Watches, and VR headsets, expect advancements in the field of 3D learning, such as virtual workplace simulations and real-time interaction to create an interactive learning experience for users. With the Tin Can Experience API tracking these off-the-desk learning activities would be a breeze.
Also, gamification will continue to grow as a strong strategy towards creating truly engaging and immersive learning. Add mobile devices and augmented reality in the mix, and we have a great opportunity to create high impact learning with games that rewards and engages the learners.
Sameer is the Founder and CEO of ProProfs, where he has built the company into one of the most popular online platforms for building and testing knowledge. Sameer is a good friend (was a groomsman in my wedding) and an all around good guy. I’m also a proud user of several of his company’s products. Learn more about Sameer here.
It’s hard not to imagine how micro videos (60 secs or less) are not going to impact learning. It’s predicted that 70% of mobile traffic by 2021 will be video. I can see these short videos becoming key components to performance support, quickly engaging learners into content, and a variety of other uses. That leads to the idea of marketing influences greatly impacting the way we deliver content. I’m seeing more and more training content being created that mirrors layouts deliver similar to major marketing campaigns and product information for consumers.
Tracy is an Education Technology Specialist at Southlake Regional Health Centre. She’s well known in the Articulate community as a designated “hero.” Learn more about Tracy here.
Two letters – AI. Artificial Intelligence has been around in learning for a long time with Google, easily the most important pedagogic shift in the last 20 years.It is now the invisble hand behind socia. media and there are tools such as WildFire that create content at a fraction of the cost of traditional onine learning, curate content, give personalised learning and adaptive feedback. Then there’s consolidation and assessment. AI is easily the most important technology trend on the planet, to imagine it will not affect the learning world is bizarre – it already has.
The Towards Maturity Benchmark for L&D leaders around the globe has been running since 2003. We continue to see a clear upward trend in the hunger of today’s learning professionals to not only deliver more for less, but to improve performance, increase agility and influence culture – this will only increase in 2017.
Unfortunately, we have also seen a downward trend on those delivering against their aspirations – this has to stop! The performance gap is worrying and demoralizing for a profession that has both the aspiration and opportunity to unlock potential in their organisation and the individuals around them.
Moving forward, there is one trend I would like to see less of: our increasing preoccupation with technology trends! The slavish reliance on finding the next ‘silver bullet technology’ to cure our woes and deliver our dreams has to stop. Our benchmark research shows that it is not the tools we use, but how we use them that makes an impact on the business results we hunger for. What ought to be trending in 2017 is the realization that learning professionals need to develop new skills and new mindsets to embrace the changes ahead!
Laura is the CEO and Founder of Towards Maturity, where she focuses on providing in-depth research and resources for effective learning innovation in the workplace, including the 2016-17 Learning Benchmark Report, Unlocking Potential. She’s also a fellow SmartForce alumnus! Learn more about Laura here.
1. Design and technical decisions are getting tough as many of us have one foot stuck in one world wanting newer technology for newer devices and one foot stuck in another world where we still have to support older technology (such as IE9 that doesn’t support HTML5). 2. People have been talking about training on phones for years. We are starting to see more and more business cases where there is a compelling business reason for phone compatibility (more than just “people like it.” 3. The Federal government will be releasing new accessibility standards very soon.
Diane is the Owner of Artisan E-Learning. She is an award winning designer and a frequent speaker at eLearning conference. She is also the author of multiple eLearning books. You can read more about Diane on the Artisan blog.
Without going into depth too much I think we are going to see the need to personalize our learning to our students. xAPI allows to use to create suggested learning content just like Amazon would recommend other products to its customers and tailor our learning to meet the students needs. In order to do this we must break out of standard PPT like tools to get our learning into native apps, custom websites and my final trend prediction which is augmented reality. I see augmented reality as the ultimate on the job performance aid, imagine starting a new job and walking through the office and getting several job tips and tricks you can use in the moment. To get learning into all these new areas we have to broaden the kind of development we do and the kind of developers we work with.
Jeff is the eLearning Development Lead at the LDS Church & Founder of LearningDojo.net. He has over a decade of experience building eLearning and multimedia solutions and shares his insights through his Pluralsight courses. Learn more about Jeff and his company here.
Well I could certainly go into why each of the items listed above is significant, I think the trend we’re looking at across all three items is that time and money are both short. We now, learning wise, need to maximize efforts based on both factors. Micro learning allows more bite-size knowledge transfer, social allows collaborative learning while completing work, and eliminating ADDIE gets learning out to the masses quicker.
Shawn is the Leard EHR Analyst, Instructional Designer, and Trainer at Geisinger Health Systems. He holds both a B.S. of Education/English and an M.S. of Instructional Technologies from Bloomsburg University. He’s a frequent eLearning blogger and recently was a docent for the DevLearn eLearning conference. Learn more about Shawn here.
With all the new and cool tools out there, I see an emerging and welcome trend in moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to elearning. Instead of people just building one elearning module to rule them all, we see more organizations moving to multi-channel delivery. That is, different formats for content — some video, some courses, some activities, etc. And the expectation isn’t that every person will access every single content asset, but will rather choose from a wide variety of options to help them fill their own performance gaps. More choices = win!
Cammy is the Vice President of Learning Design at Kineo. Her popular book, The Accidental Instructional Designer, is a must-read for all instructional designers. She’s also a frequent speaker at eLearning conferences and frequently blogs on her own blog, Learning Visions.
Training is an organic market and like anything, follows trends and outside pressure. Employees set the expectation on what format content they like to digest which can lead to changes in production style & approach.
Eric is an award-winning eLearning developer and the President of Clearly Trained. His projects have reached massive scale, being viewed by over 100 million unique users. If you’re looking for design inspiration or need some help with your custom development, check him out over at Clearly Trained.
A major theme this year in eLearning will be parody with new technology. Historically, eLearning is behind the time for tech adoption – a late adopter of flash, slow to accept HTLM5, and responsive design has only emerged for Captivate and Articulate in the past few years. In 2017, eLearning creators will help lead the charge for new technology as we continue to make training device agnostic, and push the envelope for adapting VR and AR as training platforms. Elearning will be the first non-game-based, but widely accepted, use of VR.
Aaron is the Content Manager, Education & Instructional design at LinkedIn Learning. He helps teachers and trainers rock at their jobs. Learn more about Aaron here.
I think 2017 and beyond will be an opportunity to learn a lot more about designing for new interfaces. Virtual and augmented reality are already hot topics in L&D circles. Similarly, interactive HTML5 video has also been a buzz topic. However, I think we should also be thinking about non-visual interfaces like text and voice and how and what to design for situations where graphical user interfaces are not the norm. I think 2017 will be a year to explore the larger device ecosystem and how to design experiences that work across or extend between these devices.
Kristin Anthony is an Instructional Designer at Planview. She frequently shares her thoughts and examples on her blog and is the host of the “Dear Instructional Designer” Podcast. Learn more about Kristin on her website.
Will this be the year that Tin Can (xAPI) does more than just string us along? Will we be able to harness the potential of reports that go beyond merely attending instructor led training or completing a SCORM module?
If so, we’ll build courses knowing we can run reports on learner’s activity while encouraging them to add their knowledge to the course. Track contributions to forum posts or edits to the corporate wiki. Monitor a learner’s comments on an internal blog. Design a flexible curriculum that can be personalized with bite-sized videos that satisfy the modern learner’s appetite for smaller morsels of information.
Karl is the Owner and Creative Director of Learning Blends, where he helps clients build successful training programs. He formerly taught graduate courses in the Educational Technology department at San Diego State University. Learn more about Karl here.
Everyone wants what they want, when and where they want it. The challenge then is how to guide employees as they make choices and use their resources. These choices make it urgent to clarify expectations and options. We must do more than serve up a flood of content. It can overwhelm instead of inspire.
Allison is a Professor Emerita of Educational Technology at San Diego State University. She has over 30 years of experience teaching instructional design and technology to thousands of students. Learn more about Allison here.
Mobile learning has been a promise on the horizon for years but organizations will see real adoption of mobile in 2017 with the arrival of true responsive authoring tools.
Brian is a Design and Technology Consultant for Lexis Nexis. He is known for creating modern and engaging learning experiences. He’s also recognized as an Articulate community “Hero.” You can learn more about Brian and connect here.
I see more focus on the visual aspects of eLearning these days, and I could not be happier. Choosing the right – or wrong – colors can enhance or detract from the learning experience. I also see more creative uses of multimedia, such as video and audio, in eLearning. Incorporating social media also helps keep it fresh, and ensures the learner is focused and involved.
Sally is Founder of Kreatable.com and where she helps clients build better eLearning. She is a designate Adobe Community Professional (ACP). She is jack-of-all trades in the eLearning space as an instructional designer, tech writer, producer, and slide designer. Sally is also my Tahoe-area neighbor! Learn more about Sally here.
Over the last year I’ve seen less demand for standard “eLearning” content, and more and more demand for short, visual “interventions” that are sold as part of a larger training/blended learning solution. Paradoxically for eLearning software companies, as courses get shorter, the need for “interactions” reduces, as 3-5 minute videos/animations, (if compelling and appropriate for the learner) can still be very powerful and well-received on a “view only” basis, (like a lot of social media content).
Bruce is a Freelance Instructional designer specializing in Articulate Storyline, PowToon, and Video Scribe. He is well known in the Articulate community as a “Hero” and is often the first one to jump in to help other community members. Learn more about Bruce and his animated courses here.
eLearning is evolving. It’s really only 15 or so years along, so an infant compared to learning in general. The industry is filled with buzz words. Buzz words are part of our culture. The 3 trends I noted above are just that…buzz words. Buzz words don’t ever replace good Instructional Design and Development. Micro learning is a lot of bull. All learning is micro at the granjujlar level. It really just means short learning segments, usually online. VR isn’t going to happen until the hardware, and the software to develop a real VR environment and edit VR video become affordable. It will. Eventually, Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it needs to happen. And Gamification. That buzz has been around for a long time. Games are great for learning, but not ALL learning. Gamification…is that even a word? I guess it is now.
Steve is the Principal & Chief Creator at Industrial Strength Learning. He is an advocate of video and audio in training and coined the term “Photeo,” a style of imagery, that he uses in many of his courses. Steve is a frequent eLearning conference speaker and an author for eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Magazine.
I predict modest growth in the use of VR and AR for eLearning in 2017. Both are still emerging technologies, and many of our peers in the L&D profession still don’t fully understand them or appreciate their potential, so progress will still be slow… but steady.
Ryan is a popular eLearning blogger and learning experience designer based in Australia.. He holds a Master of Learning Sciences & Technology. Ryan is an eLearning specialist in the corporate sector and is a manager, writer, blogger, reviewer, mentor, and advisor. Learn more about Ryan on his blog.
There is still a time and a place for long form elearning courses: I still send hand-written notes when a personal touch matters. Just like letter-writing has evolved, organizations are now seeing the value in meeting learners where they are, when they want it with exactly what they need. Microlearning, social networks, adaptive or “smart” learning, on-demand performance support, reminders and refreshers … even hand-written notes … are all being wielded by savvy instructional designers who know that the goal is not to create training, but rather to improve performance on the job. We never tracked all this learning because it was outside SCORM’s capacity to do so – xAPI is one of the new standards that will enable this tracking.
Megan is the CEO & President of TorranceLearning where she creates award-winning custom, live, and blending learning solutions. Megan holds both a B.S. and an MBA from Cornell University. She is a frequent speaker at eLearning conferences and has been featured in many industry publications.
Due to the current self-aware/educated marketplace; sales, marketing, and education based organizations must drive united customer focused learning programs. The core goal of these new programs is to adapt to audience preferences in real-time. AI powered by big data is evolving to be reliable and innovative companies are experimenting with facilitating adaptive learning programs.
Sales and marketing leaders are investing in external learning programs where buyers accept learning in exchange for permission to sell and market to them. The business requirements for engagement metrics and leveraging a learning program that is responsive can not be sustained solely by traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS). CRM is new the LMS partner to scene. LMS systems that can not integrate will be left behind by those that can.
Cloud based content creation is happening now and will be a standard in the future. Vendors like Articulate and RISEcx (shameless self-promotion) will provide new opportunities to produce content in a collaborative environment. Roles for content creation will extend to new content creators including subject matter experts. These programs will support new learning dynamics and opportunities.
Dave is the Founder of RISEcx and an award-winning eLearning developer. He’s also hosted me in backyard olympics at his house outside of Portland, Oregon (I won’t say who won). Dave is an all-around creative guy and the courses he produces are inspirational. Learn more about Dave here.
The viewing and sharing of video content online continues to grow in popularity, so it only makes sense to predict the use of video content in elearning to continue to do the same. People love to learn by watching and listening. Viewing content in short bursts, or microlearning, is also becoming very important to a busy population who want to learn in small chunks when the opportunity arises. Having access to elearning on their mobile devices will also provide the convenience so many are looking for.
David is the Author and Owner of David Rivers Training & Consulting Corp. He is an instructor on the Lynda.com platform and has authored several books. Learn more about David here.
Interactive video can be a powerful tool for creating immersive and engaging experiences, and it’s now becoming easier and easier for the average person to create. Similarly, responsive eLearning design is also becoming more common in rapid development tools, now making it a more approachable option for more people. Game-based experiences have been a part of eLearning for awhile now, but I feel the kind of games people are developing for this format are now going beyond the surface and pushing the boundaries of how complex and meaningful a game you can design in this format.
Bianca is an Advisor, Design and Communications for BMO Financial Group. She holds an MS in Education Media Design and Technology and is passionate about both teaching and technology. Learn more about Bianca here.
Micro-learning is making a big impact right now. One that is highly needed. Micro learning, when used as a performance support tool, will help people do their jobs at the moment of need. It’s a job aid, it’s a video; it’s a brief, recorded, power-point, it’s a phone app. Meaning short, sweet and to the point. Micro-learning brings needed support to the end-user, when they need it and when the business needs them to have it.
Which leads to understanding the real problem you are trying to solve. Too often L&D is like Don Quixote, swatting at windmills. Connect the learning to a real problem, to a real pain point within the organization. What is keeping people/leadership awake at night? Keep solutions real, relevant and accessible. You may have discovered the solution to world peace, but if it’s buried 10 clicks down in your LMS…
Shannon is the Owner & Chief Learning Officer at Learning Rebels. She is an author, workshop leader, frequent conference speaker, and eLearning blogger. Learn more about Shannon and her company here.
1. Video is pervasive. hits all devices, has emotional impact and is cheaper & easier to build/than ever before.
2. Learning that is short, structured with time between (not anytime, not J.I.T. access) rather spaced out over time by design to increase commitment, time to, practice and help people stay on track without becoming overwhelmed.
3. Ease in creating and delivering professional content is attracting the experts, more now than ever before.
Stephanie is a Digital Learning Specialist at the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard. She’s also the author of a popular book on Articulate Storyline, is an Articulate Hero, and is well known for her creative use of the product. Learn more about Stephanie here.
We are already learning all day everyday on mobile, it’s the number one place most of us go to find information. It’s a natural trend that eLearning move this direction also. To support this, it makes sense that an industry putting more value in video learning create micro-learning videos for this platform, delivering learning fast and to the point. As our devices become smarter and we gain better use of the data all around us we should begin to take better advantage of this to deliver eLearning where and when it will have the most impact for each individual learner.
Jesse is a Product Evangelist for Adobe Systems, where he helps users be more successful with the Adobe eLearning suite. He specializes in bringing creativity and industry knowledge to showcase how the solution to complex problems can be simple. Learn more about Jesse here.
The busy workforce requires learning that is expressly targeted, and microlearning offers specific, bite size nuggets, fitting learning in during brief downtime. Gamification will be on the rise to provide more engagement with the content and deeper learning for more complex topics. Social learning via collaborative platforms has been available for a while, but organizations are finally starting to be less threatened by it, leveraging more learner generated content. None are new, but I believe we will see more of them in the mainstream as they have demonstrated success with early adopters.
Jean is a Senior Learning Architect at Illumina Interactive and frequent eLearning conference speaker. Learn more about Jean here.
I believe that education and technology are interconnected and VR will come into its own in 2017. I think in terms of educating our students it is essential that we engage our students. VR can do just this. Along with the Google tools I believe the integration of VR and the Google tools will allow out students to want to come to school, to want to learn and will want to be independent. The opportunity to take students around the world, without leaving the classroom is simply amazing. Where I get really excited about VR however is its ability with helping lower ability student access the curriculum.
Video is the way our students want to access learning. It is the way I think we need to start educating them because within the real world of work, no more do we have a situation where you can just go off and have training. Companies are cutting back on budgets and training is now done in house. When I say in house I mean with employee watching video within their own organization in their own time to better develop their skills. If we don’t train our students how to best learn through the use of video I think they will be at a big disadvantage. This is why I am a teacher at Lynda.com because I don’t think that the government is doing enough to help teachers develop their ICT skills. Althought we are on the code kick now, multimedia is the way to go I believe and if we are going to engage our students we need to teach them how to create and edit video along with developing graphical skills. Everyone cant be coder and I think there are so many kids we are loosing now in schools.
I believe Mobile Learning is the future and the now. Because students and adult have their phones with them 24 hours a day, training will become more relevant and Companies will have to start developing content which is mobile friendly such as the sites we are creating for our students. I think there will be a bigger adoption of mobile learning.
Video: because cost of production and delivery (bandwidth) is dropping. SaaS: because Articulate did it. Scenarios: because there are tools now to do it cheaply.
Sergey is the CEO of BranchTrack, an eLearning authoring tool built specifically for developing eLearning scenarios, and referenced often by top scenario experts. Learn more about Sergey here.
Interactive video is now very easy to do with tools like Articulate Storyline and H5P. It takes a passive medium to a level where you can weave in instructional elements and make it more compelling. I think that xAPI has “crossed the chasm” and is now beginning to enter the mainstream. Chatbots are a bit of a flyer, but I think much of the “cool” tech in the consumer realm is beyond our reach from a design perspective, but a chatbot is feasible, as the medium is only text based for now and can have a narrow focus.
Holly is an L&D strategist and a performance consultant. As the owner of Spark + Co. she partners with organizations to improve performance. You can learn more about Holly here.
Micro-learning is increasing and it will be more scenario-based incorporating learner-added content. The problem will be easily uploading and retrieving content.
Alan is the CEO of FirstStep Communications and President of FirstStep OD & Training. He brings over 40 years as a training executive. He’s also the former President of the San Diego ASTD chapter and frequently shares his thought leadership on his LinkedIn Pulse page. Learn more about Alan here.
Gamification in elearning (when done well) is a means of immersing learners in scenarios where they can make their own decisions and see the consequences based on those decisions. Learners will be more likely to remember what they are taught when they “live” it.
Microlearning is a great way to teach on-demand, bite-sized nuggets of information to learners. Youtube is a great example of this.
Interactive video changes passive viewing to thought-provoking interactive experiences.
Linda is the Senior eLearning Developer at Public Services Health & Safety Association. She’s a frequent conference speaker and has built countless eLearning modules for both her organization and their clients. Her projects are often featured in the Articulate community. Learn more about Linda here.
Top 10 trends for 2017 summary:
- Mobile: With 17 votes, mobile was the most common trend selected by the experts. This included mobile learning, mobile delivery, and responsive design.
- Micro-learning: With 15.5 votes micro-learning was another top trend. Most people specifically called out micro-learning, but other responses included micro-videos and keeping content shorter.
- Video: The third top trend, with 14.5 votes, was video. Responses included interactive videos, live streaming video, micro-videos, learner generated videos, and general video use.
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR): VR/AR picked up 12 votes from the experts.
- Social: Social also picked up 11 votes, with responses including social learning, user generated content (UGC), community, and content curation.
- Traditional eLearning decline: Don’t worry, eLearning isn’t going anywhere, but 11 experts responded with answers like: a shift to what we use in our personal lives (YouTube, etc), parity with new tools and technology, and the move to new models and skills.
- Gamification: Gamification got 7 votes, and the experts described gamification, gameful design, and platforms that support gamification. One respondent also said that gamification would lose importance, so we subtracted one vote.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): 7 experts picked AI, and their responses included AI, chatbots, and adaptive learning.
- Interactions: This was the trickiest one to categorize, because the 5 votes all described it a little differently. Several votes were for scenarios, while others included solutions to real pain points, redefining engagement, and a focus on relevancy.
- More eLearning trends: Others getting multiple votes, from highest to lowest, include: xAPI (4), subscription tools & learning (3), importance of ROI (3), science-based learning (2), wearables (2), personalized learning (2), extended enterprise (2), accessibility (2), influences from outside L&D (2), visual design (2), and my favorite snarky response “too much chasing of trends” (2). Other responses included immersive learning, performance support, spaced learning, and more.