Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to start or buy an eLearning business, or you’re the person who takes care of company training in your firm and like to take advantage of the benefits of digital courses, it is important to stay on top of all the key trends in the industry.
A booming business that covers everything from short webinars on writing, coding, healthcare, and more, to comprehensive MBA programs online and other undergraduate and higher degrees, eLearning offers something for every age and interest. To find out how the industry is currently evolving, read on for some of the major trends you need to know about today.
While gamification has been steadily growing over recent years, at the moment more and more trainers and educational institutions are utilizing gaming strategies to help students become more interested in learning programs, and to retain knowledge and pick up new information and skills more quickly. It will likely become an integral part of all online training and learning modules in the future.
Although you might think gamification is just for the younger generations, and those who like to spend their time playing video games, in fact a gamified learning environment suits people of all ages and interests. It can help reluctant and unmotivated students to find something of interest in a program, and it can work well for those who aren’t suited to a typical learning strategy.
Another one of the benefits of this type of educational set up is that it allows people to make mistakes without feeling bad about them, and to then learn from these mistakes too. In addition, the idea of there being different levels to complete, often with each being focused on a specific lesson or topic, can help inspire learners to keep going when otherwise they might call it a day.
Automation and Artificial Intelligence
Another growing trend in the eLearning field is the use of automation and artificial intelligence to design, operate and evaluate educational platforms and programs. For example, automation is being taken to a new level now with eLearning professionals starting to use tools that can automate the creation of learning programs and assessments.
This not only reduces the costs of putting together an eLearning course, but also the time required to do so. In addition, automation tools can detect the preferences of learners and use this information to customize individual aspects of their learning experience.
Responsive learning management systems can also ensure that courses are accessible on all sorts of platforms and devices. This means that content can be automatically adjusted, from say text blocks to images (or other elements), to best suit the user’s screen size and resolution. In turn, all users get the same online learning experience and benefits, and can make use of the gadgets which best suit their needs.
Artificial intelligence in eLearning is growing too. Virtual teaching assistants, for example, will be a big part of future eLearning programs, and will be used to communicate with students, provide assistance, improve support, generate better material, put together more comprehensive testing, and generate new problems from source material. In addition, AI teaching software can be used to pick up on particular areas where individual students are deficient or lagging behind, and can then concentrate on that part of the curriculum until they catch up.
Micro learning (i.e., educational content broken up into bite-sized materials for short, sharp, intense, and focused learning sessions), is another rising trend. When you think about the fact that many people struggle to concentrate, or find the time to study, for just 30 or 60 minutes at a time, it makes sense that there is decided growth in this area.
From now on, we will see many more educators delivering content in digestible sizes. Often these will be chunks of information that take around three to five minutes to go through, but which still fulfill a specific learning objective.
Smaller resources that are manageable for even the busiest person to fit in, or which are palatable for people who struggle to concentrate or have learning difficulties, are good because they cater to the way that people most effectively learn. They are also suitable for the time-poor lifestyles of so many people nowadays, and help increase the chances that students will really pay attention to and retain what they are learning.
Courses in Specialized Topics or Those Not Traditionally Studied Online
Lastly, be aware that there’s a trend in online learning right now for very specialized courses, as well as those in topics which have not been traditionally studied online. We’re starting to see online degrees, certificates, diplomas, and the like in surprising and specialized disciplines.
For example, even areas of study that you would think have to be quite hands on, have graduated to the eLearning arena. The list includes athletic training, fine arts, construction management, agriculture, dental hygiene, and fire science, to name a few.
In addition, more educational facilities are looking at offering courses (often shorter, less comprehensive ones) in very specific and focused areas, which allows them to find a way to stand out from other educators and to attract a specific customer.
This trend also caters to the many people who are changing jobs and need to increase their knowledge in a particular area, rather than enroll in a whole new degree. For instance, users can learn about the topic of data science, real estate sales, and SEO marketing.