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.
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 [email protected]#$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.