Usually in the beginning of the year we start predicting the trends that will be leading in any industry. This is true for e-learning as well. There were several surveys carried out among experts in the field by different organization and concepts like increased role of microlearning, gamification, using augmented reality and artificial intelligence were always present. Now, as half of 2017 is already behind us we can look at them not only as trends but as ideas that define the e-learning industry.

The Top Nine E-Learning Trends

One of the most comprehensive researches was carried out by eLearning Art among 49 experts in the industry, who outlined nine trends that will be dominating 2017. These are Mobile, Micro-Learning, Video, Virtual Reality, Social, eLearning decline, Gamification, Artificial intelligence (AL), and Interactions. Below you can review the infographic they come up with after the survey.

Since e-learning is not a new concept, learners have become more demanding when choosing the best course for them. Some may argue that the first three trends identified by the experts – Mobile Learning, Microlearning, and Video, are also a sign of the users becoming lazy. However, we will say that they are simply a reflection of our hastened reality and are a perfect example of adapting the learning outlook to the preferences of the modern audience.

As one of the interviewed experts, Michael Allen, describes it “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.” The combination of shorter learning segments with access to the course on a small mobile device, such as a smartphone, is ideal for a busy professional stuck in traffic on their way to work. The possibility to actually finish a “module” in a short time gap is appealing to the learner. It is much better then starting a session, not knowing when you will have time to finish it.

Connie Malamed, another of the experts who participated in the survey, noted that the Internet is saturated with so many training and course options, that users are looking for an added value. Therefore, the e-learning industry should not slow down in meeting these demands. Her three leading trends for 2017 are not part of the general concepts associated with e-learning, but truly represent its’ essence. “Value of Aesthetics. Value of Relevance. Value of Originality” is what she predicts for the industry in 2017. Each e-learning provider, whether they are an educational institution, service provider or corporation developing employee training, can achieve these values by working with a trusted partner. Creating the right content, accompanied by proper design, translation, and localization are the keys to success.

Real mobile learning, interactive videos, and games & gamification were also identified as the three big tendencies for 2017 by the Upside Learning blog. The author suggests that despite not being a true novelty to the industry these trends will determine the development of e-learning throughout the year. We completely agree.

Three Emerging and Four Established Trends in 2017

Bottom-Line Performance formed their prediction for 2017 e-learning tendencies in a creative way. The author made almost impossible relation to the predictions of 1998 and how they have defined the industry now. For the current year she has identified seven trends that are going to define the year but divided them into three emerging and four already established trends. The first group comprises of:

  1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  2. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality
  3. Storytelling

While the first two are already present in our everyday life and learning in one form or another, the third concept is still a “sleeper.” It is not about how to use technology but how to become better story tellers so that we can engage more people in the learning content we have created.

The second group of already established tendencies that are going to thrive in 2017 includes:

  1. Microlearning
  2. Mobile Learning
  3. Gamification and Learning Games
  4. Interactive Video, 360-Degree Video

These are all concepts mentioned by the above mentioned authors as well. These predictions made in the beginning of 2017 have turned into concepts that are indeed shaping the e-learning industry and are featured themes at upcoming e-learning conferences including the 2017 Realities360 Conference that will be held by The eLearning Guild in San Jose, CA on July 26-28. You can have a look at some of the other e-learning events that will be held both locally and abroad by the end of 2017 and that are worth attending.


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