10 Real-World Lessons from eLearning ExpertsThe eLearning market is growing, evolving and shifting! Analysts believe that the global e-Learning market is expected to grow at an average of 23% by 2017. It is also somewhat imperative that organisations will have to seamlessly amalgamate eLearning into their work culture and adapt to programs that focus on crisp, bite-sized content taking into account the learner’s mindset.

Experts meanwhile point out to some invaluable lessons that the eLearning industry has taught us and will continue to do so in the coming years. Most organisations could use these pointers to fortify their current learning strategy resulting into better learner engagement and to create a bigger impact for their businesses.

Here are top 10 real-world lessons related to the Learning Management System (LMS) from Josh Bersin, Karl Kapp, Connie Malamed, Bob Mosher, Lori Niles-Hoffman, Clark Quinn, Arun Pradhan, Megan Torrance and Trish Uhl as interpreted from ‘Top Learning Trends for 2017 (according to the experts)’.

Lesson 1: Competency-based Training, ILT and Informal Learning are the Pillars of Learning/Training

Josh Bersin, Industry Analyst & Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte

The incumbent LMS industry is perhaps not in the most robust of its phases, some, like ELearning veteran Josh Bersin, feel. According to Josh, the LMS is becoming ‘marginsalised’ because we now live in a fast-paced world and people don’t have the time. But then, with professions and careers having become so vibrant, the need to learn is more important than ever. So today’s L&D has a new role to deliver – that of finding fresh ways to curate a learning experience for employees.

How do they do that? John says it’s best if L&D creates content that dons a competencies-based training approach, within an LMS framework. This not only takes care of employee’s knowledge but also brings it in line with the actual needs of the business, thereby increasing job efficiency and ensuring overall company success. John also highlights the importance of face-to-face interaction in the learning process An Instructor Led Training (ILT) approach gives an LMS the best of both worlds by enabling every student to receive training in the way that matches his/her learning style. Social Learning and Knowledge Collaboration tools increase learner engagement and knowledge retention, enhancing both formal and informal learning programs.

Lesson 2: Gamification is the Key to Learner Engagement

Karl Kapp, Gamification Analyst, Author, Consultant, Speaker, & Professor

While John believes that people have no time anymore, Karl Kapp points out that they also get bored very easily. He therefore waxes eloquent about how gamification is one of the strongest tools for learner engagement.

As studies have shown, the gamification market is expected to reach $11.10 Billion by 2020. For most L&D professionals, the big quandary that they face is how to find more exciting ways to boost engagement. Karl looks at implementing gamification to create better learning experiences. In the LMS context, applying gaming mechanics and metaphors to non-gaming scenarios to make tricky tasks more palatable could work wonders.

Lesson 3: Learners’ Choices Drive the eLearning Trends

Connie Malamed, Author of Visual Design Solutions: Principles and Creative Inspiration for Learning Professionals

Connie Malamed on the other hand, believes that the best way to drive eLearning trends is to ask learners themselves what works or doesn’t work for them. The two most important features for the eLearning industry for now are speed and efficiency.

Let us think a bit in this context. Why do we like ordering pizza that comes with a 30-minute guarantee? Of course, it tastes great. But we also like it because it comes in the promised time frame and is delivered to our doorstep efficiently. It’s the same with SaaS LMS and Cloud-based LMS. There are clear benefits like fast deployment, easy accessibility, efficiency and improved accessibility among others.

Connie also talks about highly usable interface. With the LMS landscape having evolved considerably over the years and with the introduction of sleeker interfaces and innovative features, it’s more important than ever to have a modern and engaging User Experience (UX) for an LMS. A good UX entails giving learners the opportunity to tailor their journey to their needs and taste.

Lesson 4: LMSs as Knowledge Repositories

Bob Mosher, Chief Learning Evangelist at APPLY Synergies

There are also some, like Bob Mosher, who focus on combining different kinds of content to create an eclectic package that works the best. Rarely do we find one single tool that can meet all the known requirements of a Learning project. According to Bob, the best is to ‘aggregate’ existing tools as well as bringing in new ones like ‘Reference Materials’, ‘eLearning Catalogs’ which allow learners to see a list of all available reference material which can be accessed at a later time of their own choice.

Lesson 5: Make Contextual and Relevant Content Accessible Anytime, Anywhere on Any Device

Lori Niles-Hofmann, Data Driven Learning Strategist

Meanwhile, Lori Niles-Hofmann calls for content that is in context, accessible and relevant. LMSs need to add the quintessential ‘multi-device responsive’ feature. Today, in the multi-device, multi-screen world of the workplace, it is no more about whether an LMS should have a responsive design. It is rather about how fast we embrace the feature. It’s time for LMSs to go beyond their traditional avatar.

Lesson 6: Don’t just Create Training, Create a ‘Learning Ecosystem’

Clark Quinn, Executive Director at Quinnovation

Carl refers to an ecosystem approach for eLearning. When we talk about an ecosystem, we may just have to go back to our school biology class where there were ecosystems of wildlife and plants. In the eLearning context, the term ecosystem has more to do with providing an overall learning experience rather than learning in isolation. Features like Blended Learning, Social Learning & Knowledge Collaboration, Assessments & Assignments in an LMS bring about a symbiosis of technology to present knowledge in a more easy-to-understand manner that aids retention.

He points out to how important it is to understand what really needs to be measured in a learning experience. It is the impact that needs more attention than the efficiencies in learning. When that is done right, there will be data to analyse; but with so much data floating around, it can be hard to know what to do with it all.

Lesson 7: Measure what Matters

Clark Quinn, Executive Director at Quinnovation

Lori Niles-Hofmann, Data Driven Learning Strategist

This is where MIS and Reporting come into play. In simple words, there is a big trail left when a learner attends a classroom training session, reads an e-book or takes an e-Learning course. There are several insights that could be gained on knowing how long he or she spent on each question. If you tracked what document(s) a learner went through, you could recommend additional information or introduce that person to a co-worker with relevant expertise who could provide valuable mentoring.

Lori adds to this by speaking of more dynamic analytical engines. By now, it’s a known fact that features like MIS and Reporting are essential in LMS since they offer insights into how effective a training strategy is, and how it meets the organisations goals and objectives. After all, without decent reports, it’s hard to measure the success of training programs and make improvements.

Lesson 8: Adopt a Holistic Approach to Measuring Performance Outcomes with xAPI

Arun Pradhan, Blended Learning Geek & Creator of Learn2LearnApp.com

While it’s important to track training, it is crucial to go beyond the fixation over knowledge to the ‘actual performance’ part. For this, Arun Pradhan looks at the rise of Experience API (xAPI) as an important trait for the LMS industry. xAPI has the potential to deal with advanced learning forms that are merging with work. It enables learning professionals to include all learning experiences along with formal lessons and tests in eLearning or mobile learning courses. xAPI tracks learning based on the activities people do.

Lesson 9: Move on from Traditional to Modern eLearning

Megan Torrance, TorranceLearning CEO / President

Megan Torrance too seconds Arun’s thoughts on xAPI. She adds that xAPI will now open up to more people and will be ubiquitous. According to Megan, eLearning will move from the traditional milieu to a more robust one. Over the years, LMSs have gone on to become much broader learning platforms involving a blend of various learning formats and methodologies. In other words, both classroom and online methods are “blended” for the highest level of understanding and knowledge retention.

Lesson 10: Cultivate Employee Happiness for Improved Bottom-Line

Trish Uhl, World-Class Author, Trainer, L&D Strategist and Coach

Trish Uhl talks about how a renewed focus is the big takeaway for L&D to stay relevant in today’s evolving workplaces. In the LMS context though, the key is to improve the overall performance (and bottom-line) of the organisation by providing the right tools and technologies that drive engagement, provide just-in-time information and cultivate happiness.

ELearning, as a field, has always been susceptible to new trends and ideas. Its development has changed our approach to instruction, knowledge management and learning methodologies. Therefore, as these eLearning experts point out, organisations can benefit immensely if they are able to fit in the aforesaid lessons about the LMS in their work culture.

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