For years now, eLearning has been playing a seminal role in employee development and organizations have been leveraging its potential to advance the skills of an ever-changing workforce. The L&D domain has been exploring newer opportunities and approaches to adequately prepare themselves for the evolution of learning trends for the benefit of their learners. These technology trends have actually been around for some time now, acting as catalysts to learning. In 2018, some of these trends will continue to push the envelope and prove to be game-changers, redefining learning and growth in the corporate landscape.
Here’s a lowdown on the learning technology trends that will help L&D professionals improve their game in the coming year.
1. Social/ Informal Learning
Social learning is kind of a default L&D feature by now, considering that it is the way by which learners don’t just take in information – they share information and collaborate with other learners. In fact, Social and Informal Learning are only getting better with time as L&D is experiencing their infinite power. Organizations are utilizing forums, chat boxes, note sharing to help people exchange ideas and learn together. 2018 will be no different, as these Social Learning platforms will continue to encourage sharing of ideas in a collaborative environment. Of course, there is a thin line between Social Learning and social media learning. While Facebook and Twitter are for sharing personal information, LMSs are equipped with social learning features providing for social learning in a professional environment. Organizations will have to look for tools that encourage easy and open collaboration as a regular part of daily workflow so that they are used routinely by employees. There will be a need to pushing for a work environment that supports working together, sharing progress and asking for support from peers across the business. As a whole though, Social Learning implementation will continue to grow in 2018. Learn how Learning 3.0 can be embraced using an LMS.
2. Performance Support
Backing up the knowledge and skills of employees is as important as developing it. This is why Performance Support or learning aids to help employees with on-the-job support at the “precise moment” of need have and will continue to be an important aspect in learning. Performance Support is one of the ways to extend formal training to the employees while on the job and letting the learners know how to use their formal training to achieve results. Organizations have been using LMSs to blend some aspects of performance support into online training effortlessly. The coming year is bound to see the growth of Performance Support as well as various other trends that fall in its sub-set. Knowledge Reinforcement Tools, Sales Enablement Platforms, On/Off Sync apps, etc. are all set to flourish in 2018 considering that each of these have been lending stellar support in allowing employees to work on tasks without taking help from external resources, curtailing down time in training, and helping new recruits mainly in the absence of formal training. Mobile Learning tools lend themselves as great Performance Support Tools (PSTs).
Microlearning has already been a strong trend that L&D departments rely on to a great extent to deliver learning content that consists of smaller pieces of information that are spaced out. Microlearning owes its popularity to the fact that it delivers training that is in the form of bite-sized content that is targeted and objective-specific and which does not require too much time-commitment from the learner. It can comprise of a gamut of learning techniques or nuggets, to be specific, ranging from video, short game, quiz, or even an interactive infographic. In fact, in the recent past, some organizations have found Microlearning so effective that they are actually using it as a stand-alone method of corporate eLearning rather than as just a course supplement. Moreover, with an increase in the use of smartphones, most organizations are understanding the efficacy of Microlearning which is only likely to increase its demand. In 2018, the impact of Microlearning is definitely going to go up manifolds. L&D will benefit by investing in short videos, visuals, exercises, and presentations in 90 to 120 second sessions that are followed by quizzes and instant feedback.
4. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
One of the hottest trends in the learning space, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will continue to score high on the popularity meter even in 2018. And why not! It’s cutting edge technology which is proving to be extremely useful in educational and occupational training settings. Imagine a situation where learners can actually get to role play and gain hands-on experience instead of simply watching videos or reading modules about a situation. AR and VR can make this possible! In 2018, VR will continue to reprise its role in teaching skills for handling high-risk tasks and performing complex procedures. AR will be used to trigger just-in-time learning. With the costs of delivery and deployment falling rapidly, in the next couple of years, VR and AR will become more affordable for organizations.
5. Gamification and Game-Based Learning
In the recent past, Gamification has been playing an important role in the dissemination of critical learning information. Although gaming has been around for years, of late, gamification is assuming a greater importance among LMS features. This trend will continue even in 2018 as organizations will continue to invest in serious games. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement will be looked upon to increase recall and retention among learners. The coming year will also see a surge in the popularity of gamification because, after all, games are engaging, fun and keep people hooked!
The popularity of the eLearning industry has been on a rise and it will continue to soar as some innovative trends (like the ones mentioned above) maintain their fame in the highly evolving tech space. Although these trends have been enjoying a fan-following for some time now, they will continue to hold great regard even in 2018. L&D professionals who are looking at re-evaluating their training approach to augment the quality of their workforce, should take advantage of these trends. It will certainly help them remain at the top of their L&D game!