elearning trends 2017

Today’s technological advances have contributed greatly to one of the world’s dominating trends in recent years – e-learning. The “E-learning Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2018-2023” report released at the beginning of 2018 forecasted a $65.41 billion revenue generated by the e-learning market by 2023. Looking at the growth patterns of the global e-learning industry, it is expected to surge 11% by 2020, as seen in an article by Elucidat. 

The New Year is already rolling out and it is time that we take a look into 2018’s e-learning trends. There are a number of reoccurring tendencies from 2017, such as Mobile, Micro-learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Video, Virtual Reality (VR) and Gamification. However, 2018 is increasingly exposing emerging trends like Augmented Reality (AR), xAPI and others which we will look into in this article.  

Last year eLearning Art interviewed 49 industry experts who shared their observations on the top e-learning trends for 2017. The interview was repeated at the beginning of this year, with eight more experts taking part, summing up to a total of 57 respondents. We will again analyze the top nine e-learning trends and make comparisons to last year’s results.  

Here are the specialists’ selected top e-learning industry trends in order:

  • Micro-Learning
  • Video
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Augmented Reality
  • Mobile
  • xAPI
  • Virtual Reality
  • Subscription Tools & Learning and Science-based Learning 

When looking at a previous article we published in 2017 on the same topic, we can immediately spot some changes.  

1) Micro-Learning

The most talked about trend according to 2018’s survey is micro-learning, climbing up from second in 2017. Micro-learning includes anything from short videos or audio files to quick reads and is seen as one of the most efficient ways to present knowledge and guarantee engagement.  

2) Video

Video is again amongst the top trends and is expected to continue growing. As Brent Schlenker, an interviewed expert from TLDC puts it, the creation of videos for learning purposes is getting cheaper, easier, and is now one of the fastest methods of delivering information, with production taking place across mobile, DSLR and professional cameras. 

3) Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has significantly climbed up the ladder from last year and industry experts forecast an optimistic future for its use. 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., as stated by Donald Clark in the interview.  

4) Augmented Reality 

Last year, augmented reality and virtual reality were combined in the survey but this year both have gained distinct attention, making them separate e-learning trends. The cost of adopting both AR and VR technology has decreased when compared to previous years, when these methods were originally introduced, making them affordable to implement. 

5) Mobile Learning 

Mobile learning last year was selected as the strongest e-learning tendency while this year it has gone down to number five in the list. More than 67% of people use a mobile device for learning, making this channel impossible to ignore. With the dynamic lifestyle of people around the world, mobile is one of the most convenient learning methods as it requires no specific location or time to gather knowledge.  

6) xAPI 

The Experience API (xAPI) is a new trend added to the list this year. It is believed by some of the interviewed specialists that 2018 will witness a boom in terms of creative use of data, with increased monitoring of the full learning process. 

7) Virtual Reality 

There are enormous opportunities that Virtual Reality presents to the e-learning market, making this the number seven trend in the industry. This alternative excites experts and opens new horizons for learning. 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.” Renaldo Lawrence, motivational speaker and author.  

8 and 9) Subscription Tools & Learning, and Science-Based Learning 

Subscription Tools & Learning and Science-Based Learning are last in the list of trends to look out for this year. Because of the quantity of presented information on the internet, it has become increasingly important to provide a science-based learning method to learners. In terms of subscription learning, experts state that it is already quite common for providers to use a subscription-based model as part of e-learning nowadays and they have expressed their interest in seeing what 2018 will add to this trend.  

Bonus: Gamification and Social Learning  

Two trends that made the list last year have decreased in importance according to the examined survey from above but hold solid grounds as seen in an article published by eLearning Industry in December 2017 – Gamification and Social Learning. 

According to the article, gamification is a trend that can make up for the drawbacks of other e-learning methods by capturing the engagement and concentration of learners for a longer period of time by implementing a new and innovative way of presenting concepts.  

Social learning, on the other hand, has shown a 75:1 Return On Investment (ROI) ratio over web-based training, as presented by eLearning Industry’s article. This trend is backed up by our psychological need to be an important part of a community and our natural social nature. Because social learning takes into consideration diverse factors such as environment, platform, and most importantly, people, it is another trend that will prevail in 2018.  

E-learning evolved as a method for education in 1999. Since then, it has seen drastic change, supported by the fast evolution of technological applications and devices. With users becoming more familiar and comfortable with e-learning the demands of leaners are bound to change, putting higher expectations on e-learning providers to deliver alternatives by following the market trends but also proposing creative innovation in the field. 





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