In the last four to five years, there has been a lot of noise over how rapid adoption of technology will change the landscape of digital learning and how algorithms and Artificial Intelligence used in combination with Mixed Reality technology will offer a superior eLearning experience. What we have observed is that though the possibilities of using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies in academic and corporate eLearning are diverse; the number of vendors actually harnessing such technology to produce captivating and result-driven eLearning is less. Plus, this format of eLearning takes significant time, effort, and budgets to develop and deploy. For a community college or a small company to invest in such eLearning solutions is next to impossible. That said, AR and VR do play major roles in learning in medical science and genetic studies in universities. They are also actively used by companies engaged in aircraft engineering and robotics.
Last year introduced a new word into our regular conversations – “Covid-19.” The pandemic has impacted every organization big and small in different ways and L&D departments have had to really work harder than ever to ensure that employee learning does not stop. Similarly, schools, colleges, universities, and students were forced to go into online learning mode. Predicting new learning trends for 2022 will be a difficult task but we can well warrant a guess in terms of what will be in the limelight.
Human-Centered eLearning Design
In the quest to make eLearning easy to index and understood by algorithms the “human element” in eLearning seems to have gone missing. A few years ago, the term “The Netflix of Learning” became a buzzword in the eLearning industry. People began looking at the prospects of creating a repository of eLearning content, which would “intelligently” recommend content to users. In the last year as people battled the challenges of learning and working from home, L&D teams have realized the futility of aiming to build a “Netflix of Learning”.
People want learning technologies to go beyond, bots and algorithms that tell them what they need to learn next or how to learn something. What people need is n a “human touch” that guides learners into finding the best learning path for themselves and helping them achieve their academic and professional learning goals by effective eLearning design. We believe that the focus on enabling the “human touch” and making academic and corporate eLearning as user-friendly as possible will be a key eLearning trend for 2022.
Of Diminishing Attention Spans and Microlearning
The goldfish memory syndrome is a myth that never refuses to die and there are arguments aplenty both for and against it. It has really been put to the test in the year that has gone by with professionals suffering from Zoom fatigue, work, and training. What is evident is that people want to learn and acquire new skills quickly and without too much of extra effort. In such a scenario, nothing beats a well-designed microlearning unit.
Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are experimenting with Reels and Shorts, respectively. Short-form videos that are easy to consume. Why should eLearning be complicated? Simple, direct, and effective learning can be delivered through structured microlearning units that focus on specific learning objectives. A collection or catalog of inter-linked microlearning units can form a larger program or course and help learners reskill or upskill themselves.
Dedicated Mobile-Only Learning Apps
We have seen different LMS and LXP providers having bare-bones mobile apps of their platforms with limited functionality. The learning experience on such mobile apps can be extremely tiresome and synchronization between different devices used by the same learner can be a big problem with data not being updated properly.
We believe that dedicated mobile-only learning apps can solve this problem. Tech companies that offer a full-fledged learning experience on Android or iOS apps can definitely reap the benefits of the pandemic-induced restrictions on going to office, school, or college, and learning through an institutional LMS or LXP.
Digital Badges and Blockchain-Based Certificates
Digital badges have been around for some time and used in areas as diverse as video-games to social media challenges and employee training rewards programs. The advancements in blockchain technology and the rise of NFTs or non-fungible tokens open up an interesting possibility. What if eLearning providers could offer each learner a unique NFT-based course that is personalized and for that specific learner alone. When the learner completes the program he/she receives a certificate of completion that is blockchain-based and unique. This is an area or idea that needs deeper introspection and is highly likely to become common in the coming years.
The Usual Suspects
Trends or rather elements that regularly make up a part of lists like these are:
Gamification – The importance of a well-designed game-based learning program can never be discounted. Games within a learning program or an entire course or module designed as a game that puts the learner on a quest always resonate with learners.
Videos and Podcasts – LXPs have now enabled the tracking of learning that happens outside a restricted learning environment. This has increased the inter-linking of relevant videos, podcasts, and blogs to eLearning programs; and the trend will continue to find favor.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training – If the pandemic taught us one thing; it is that not everyone is comfortable with a self-paced eLearning program. The presence of a virtual instructor greatly improves the course completion rates and helps learners gather information with ease. VILTs will continue to remain popular and a blended learning approach is the way forward for both academic institutions and corporate organizations.
Data-Driven Learning – “Data” is one of the most favorite words for L&D consultants and business analysts. Data in any form gives people information about a specific topic. Workplace learning is no different. Deploying adaptive learning solutions and “learning in the flow of work” or “just-in-time learning solutions” based on data collected on the learners or employees; will continue to be a major factor. The focus will also be on measuring the effectiveness of learning through assessments and measuring the improvement in productivity or enhanced skillsets of employees, after they complete a training program.
At S4Carlisle, we focus on designing and deploying eLearning content for different industries and use-cases. From product training solutions, office etiquette training, and sports coaching programs; we work closely with you to design and deliver the ideal learning experience. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help you meet your training and L&D requirements.