We are nearing the end of 2018. This year seems to have flown at jet-speed and we are ready to start making lists of tech-predictions and eLearning trends for 2019. When we published our list of ‘Workplace Learning Trends in 2018’ in January this year; we listed the following:
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
- Artificial Intelligence
- App-Based Learning
- Bite-Sized Learning
In this blog post, we take a shot at predicting some key eLearning trends for 2019.
From SaaS to LaaS
Some fascinating stats:
- 33% of companies are using more SaaS applications than they did in 2016
- 38% of U.S. businesses fostered a SaaS exclusive workplace in 2017
- $76 billion is the projected revenue of the SaaS market by 2020
- SaaS and the ‘cloud’ are impacting businesses across industries
- The eLearning industry will benefit the most from cloud-based services
Learning as a Service is a trend that we believe will really reach its full potential in 2019. Mirroring the success of SaaS and PaaS providers, eLearning firms will re-package their solutions and services and offer individual components of eLearning design or the complete spectrum of eLearning service to clients. Customization and ‘made-to-order’ eLearning will be the way forward. Don’t be surprised if one large eLearning project is divided into smaller chunks and distributed to three or four eLearning companies for design and development. If this trend catches up, expect more boutique eLearning firms to scale up and offer better quality work.
One survey of over 3,000 U.S. workplaces found that a 10 percent increase in equipment value only increased productivity by 3.4 percent — but a 10 percent increase in training resulted in an 8.6 percent increase in productivity. Several tech-firms are already monetizing their training content successfully. Expect this trend to crystallize further as product-driven companies create an entire learning ecosystem that charges customers/users to learn how to use the product effectively. Monetizing of training content is likely to be a key eLearning trend for 2019.
Learning Experience Platform
Learning Management System, Training Management System, Talent Management System – the world of eLearning has assigned specific names for platforms used to deploy learning. Over the years each platform has had its ‘moment’. The flavor of the season will be the Learning Experience Platform or LXP. Essentially a learning solution that puts the learner at the center of learning and gives them greater control over what they wish to learn. At Origin, we have built a powerful LXP – Fractal, which is designed to foster both workplace and extended enterprise learning. As eLearning vendors race against time to develop and launch their proprietary LXPs; we believe that LXPs will be a major eLearning trend for 2019.
The Social Learning Gamble
Here are some interesting stats:
- 70% to 90% of all workplace learning happens informally
- 87% of employees believe that social knowledge sharing is essential
- Roughly 60% of companies use some form of social learning
With both Google and Apple looking to build solutions that are working on creating awareness about ‘spending less time glued to the screen’, eLearning design is also quite likely to be impacted. Think clearly, how eLearning has evolved in the past decade and how all the social media distractions that have evolved have led to falling attention spans. This brilliant article encapsulates the challenges of concentrating on one task at a time. In such a scenario, it will be interesting to examine how organizations will integrate social learning within their organizational learning framework. So irrespective of what reports cite about learner distractions, social learning will continue to grow and will definitely remain a key eLearning trend for 2019.
We have steadily seen smartphones take over our lives. From addicting us with games and entertainment that can be streamed to apps for social networks; the smartphone controls us. It is no wonder then that organizations are focused on creating distraction-free work environments. This has been systematically achieved by blocking non-work-related websites; though employees continue to fidget with their smartphones to post statuses and stream songs when at work. Expect learning content that’s designed specifically for mobile phones or rather mobile-first content that renders equally well on larger devices, a systemic shift from the responsive design websites. This report from Forrester states ‘Why Mobile is the Face of Digital’. Expect 2019 to be the year, when ‘mobile-first learning’ truly takes off and we see learning content that’s produced specifically for consumption via smartphones.
Augmented Intelligence or Intelligence Augmentation
The past few years, we have seen how Artificial Intelligence(AI) is steadily finding its way into day-to-day activities. Chatbots powering conversations between prospective clients and brands, basic automated replies that auto-populate on your device when you need to reply to an email or a message, reminders and notifications for official and personal events; these are all examples of AI at work.
What we also need to remember is Augmented Intelligence (IA) can play a powerful role in eLearning. Data is the crux on which IA can be used effectively, sample some possibilities. By comparing historical data with the data generated by algorithms that monitor student-instructor interactions; institutions can create better lesson plans that help both students and teachers mutually. When this shifts to the workplace, eLearning solutions can be re-engineered to help employees achieve their professional learning goals with ease. This is an interesting article that compares AI and IA and offers insights. Expect 2019 to be the year when more people talk about IA and it is used in the learning industry with greater focus.
Personalization that Drives Results
‘Return on Investment’ or RoI is a term that L&D managers dread, the Finance team loves, and plagues senior management. Even if you are funded by deep pockets, every expense is still cash outflow. If the shiny new eLearning program, which has been deployed for your staff, does not bring any measurable change in the way your employees work better; then your investment is a failure. So how does one go about meeting this challenge?
Personalized Learning may hold the key to deriving RoI from your eLearning content. We work in an increasingly culturally diverse workforce and what works for one set of learners may not necessarily work for another. So, one generic learning solution may offer some insights on the topic but not help everyone understand the topic in detail. Adaptive Learning that is designed to work based on the learners’ skill-set is a good primer for personalization. Personalization takes this further by customizing the eLearning to the exact requirements of the learner. By deploying role-based personalized learning, organizations will seek to offer their employees the right skills at the right time and derive maximum benefits. Personalization of learning will be a key eLearning trend for 2019.
No, we aren’t talking about games that take place in the cafeteria once a month or on alternate Fridays. We are looking at how organizations can enhance employee productivity and happiness by creating engaging learning solutions. Thought-leader and eLearning expert – Josh Bersin states that the employee engagement market is worth about $1 billion and is growing. Expect eLearning vendors to come up with revolutionary products designed to foster employee engagement through innovative digital platforms.
Game Thinking and Visualization
Intelligently designed games and tasks within eLearning solutions have been used for a long time by learning designers. What lies next is designing the entire eLearning solution by deploying a ‘Game Thinking’ philosophy. Visualize the entire learning solution as a powerful game and your learners as players or participants. Expect game thinking to play a powerful role in workplace learning design in 2019.
We have consciously stayed away from listing the ‘Usual Suspects’ like Augmented & Virtual Reality, Bite-Sized Learning, Video Nuggets, Artificial Intelligence, and Deep Learning as ‘eLearning Trends for 2019’ because inevitably they are named in such lists every year for the past four to five years. What are your thoughts on strategies and technologies that will impact Workplace and Extended Enterprise eLearning in 2019? Share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.