Augmented Reality, Big Data and Other E-learning Trends for 2016

77 percent of American companies rely on online e-learning programs. Throughout 2016, the focus will be on improving the available learning management systems and methods to maximize its ease and efficiency.

Here are the top 8 trends in e-learning to look out for in 2016:

1. Gamification

Mixing work and play is the basis of gamification in e-learning. The vendors of learning management systems understand the importance of applying the gaming mechanics to learning processes so that it makes it easy for the users to learn and retain the knowledge for a long time.

Most of us love gaming. According to one study, around 75 percent of people in the workforce today are at least “casual” gamers. The motivation to reach higher levels to get more points, the satisfaction in beating your opponents and earning rewards is why gaming is fun. If these methods are applied to learning, a healthy environment is created where the users participate and compete while learning.

Instead of using academic terms like “course presentation”, the usage of gaming terms like “embarking on a mission” or “completing a quest” ensure the interactivity of a learner. Moreover, as learners progress through the curriculum, each course completion can be rewarded with badges, points or coins that hook a learner on this play-and-learn experience.

2. Mobile Learning

A majority of users use their smartphone more than laptops or computers, which gives the market of e-learning a new branch to grow on. There are many e-learning tools in the market that are either specifically for smartphone usage or can be used both on computers and mobiles.

The greatest advantage of mobile learning lies in its effectiveness and convenience. Having an e-learning tool right in your pocket, to be used whenever and wherever, and being able to access information and records easily is an important aspect of mobile learning that cannot be rivaled.

3. Social Media Learning

Facebook gives the option of creating open and closed groups. This can be instrumental for instructors to post relevant material on the group, have educational discussions and answer queries for the students. On Twitter, instructors can post learning lists and re-tweet what they want learners to know.

Professionals are starting to notice the benefits of using social media as an e-learning tool. A poll by GlobalWebIndex shows that users spend around 28 percent of their online time on social media. This number is expected to grow as shown in Deloitte’s “Millenial Survey 2014”. By 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be Millennials, favoring social media learning.

This staggering number shows that social media can be a powerful learning tool and the industry is expected to grow exponentially.

4. Video-Based Learning

Following written instructions is simple, with the only drawback of misunderstanding the instructions. On the other hand, visual instructions eliminate this drawback by providing a visual guide that is efficient to follow. Most of us are visual learners. Videos solve the problem of misunderstanding instructions. If you read a how-to video on a project and get confused on an instruction or misunderstand it, your resulting work would be a disaster. On the other hand, watching a video that gives instructions on the same project will stay in your memory longer.

YouTube is an excellent resource for e-learning, but not the only one. Educational sites such as Khan Academy, edX, Better Explained, Howcast and SchoolTube post free videos that teach and instruct. Using videos as a learning management system ensures the option for a learner to study at their own pace.

5. Personalized E-learning

Personal preferences matter a lot. Therefore, if a system offers you to choose your own preferences rather than imposing a set structure for you, it becomes easier to learn and less stressful as well.

Personalized e-learning puts the student in charge of his/her learning management. Setting their own goals, moving at their own pace and building communication with the instructors makes up the basis for personalized learning.

E-learning tools that integrate personalized learning are based on feedback. The feedback of the user, explicit or implicit, helps modify the system according to the user.

6. Augmented Reality

Every learner has a unique pace to learn and reacts differently to different environments. Creating one environment and expecting it to apply on every student is a technique that has failed time and again.

Learning in augmented reality lets each student find their own potential by letting the environment adapt to them. Environments are created in augmented reality that can be customized by the user according to their taste. Google Glass and Occulus Rift have shown astounding potential for an exciting augmented reality experience.

7. Big Data

Big Data can be evaluated for insights that determine the root cause of problems, help identify risks and ultimately lead to better decisions and strategic moves. For an e-learning tool, it means that problem students can be identified, progress of students can be monitored and a better system can be implemented according to the ease and requirements of the students and instructors.

8. Micro Learning

Micro learning is a big aspect of learning management systems. Chunking content into small bytes for easier understanding is becoming a huge part of online training. Making learning shorter, sharper and easier to digest is what micro learning is all about.

The attention span of today’s generation is about 90 seconds. To cater to this, micro learning keeps the interest of the learner by dividing it into fragments. Micro learning helps bridge the gap between learning well and remaining fresh and hungry to study for more.

A report published by Tagoras (2016) shows that 18.1 percent of  organizations provide micro learning and 33.3 percent of organizations plan to provide micro learning in the next 12 months.

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Written by:
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He has 7+ years of experience working with ProProfs learning management system and other eLearning authoring tools, which has given him a hands-on experience of the latest course authoring software and an exclusive insight into the eLearning industry.
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