5 Major E-learning Trends That Are The Talk of The Online Training Town

It is well-known that change is the only constant in the world of online training. L&D departments need to adapt their training strategies to these developments to ensure maximum ROI on their training expenditure. We will now look at the 5 major developments in the world of online training that are transforming the eLearning landscape.

  1. Use of cloud based authoring tools and learning management systems (LMSs)

    Cloud computing is the new buzzword in the eLearning industry. This technology, in which an application runs on several connected computers at the same time, is being seen as a game changer in online training. Use of authoring tools and LMSs that are based on this technology is increasingly becoming popular because of these benefits.
    Enhanced efficiency:

    Cloud computing leads to enhanced efficiency as it facilitates effective centralization of information technology resource management and helps increase resource utilization rates.

    Lower costs:

    Cloud based authoring tools and LMSs go a long way in saving precious training dollars. The capital and operational expenditure to use a cloud based solution is much lower than their traditional counterparts. This is because there are no installation or maintenance costs. Moreover, most providers of cloud based eLearning solutions charge on the "pay as you go" basis.

    Better accessibility:

    Authoring tools and LMSs that are based on this technology facilitate anytime anywhere access to their users. All they need to do is just login into their accounts to access them. They are device independent and can be accessed using any internet enabled device.

    Quicker deployment:

    This software takes less time to set up and can be deployed quickly. You can start using them once you register with their provider. This means that learning takes place faster and this provides a competitive edge over companies that use installed software.

    Use of cloud based authoring tools and learning management systems (LMSs)

    However, on the flip side there are issues of security. Clouds can be hacked leading to outages that may have serious impact on organizations. Critics of cloud based eLearning solutions also argue that organizations exercise less control over these software compared to their traditional counterparts. However, despite these drawbacks, the popularity of cloud computing based authoring tools and LMSs continues to be on the rise.

  2. Mobile learning

    Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives, haven't they? The number of users accessing Internet through these incredible gadgets is growing by leaps and bounds. According to Morgan Stanley Research, more people would access the Internet through mobiles than desktop computers, by 2015. It therefore does not come as a surprise that the market for mLearning is growing at the phenomenal rate of 29.3% every year.

    Mobile learning

    This format is increasingly preferred by companies to impart effective training because it facilitates:

    Learning on the move:

    These highly portable devices allow learners to access courses anytime, anywhere. They facilitate learning even in “dead time” – in hours considered generally unproductive such as time spent in travelling. This makes mLearning ideal for employees who are often hard-pressed for time. Indeed, learning goes wherever the mobile goes!

    Power of mobile apps is unleashed:

    Mobile apps could be used to easily and effectively present the learning content to learners. You can convert your existing PDFs, PPTs, audio and video into mobile applications. Apps are also widely used by companies to provide tips and updates about their products to customers. Organizations can develop learning apps that could be accessed on all mobile platforms thanks to an incredible paradigm in technology - HTML5. These cross-platform mobile apps make mLearning very cost effective because organizations can use a single app to deliver content to "mobile learners" worldwide.

    Better performance support can be provided:

    MLearning helps enhance workplace performance because bite-sized lessons can be delivered efficiently on mobiles. Bite-sized lessons are very useful to reinforce learning in classrooms, virtual training sessions and eLearning programs. These lessons of very short duration (10-15 minutes) can be used by workers as ready reckoners because they provide the relevant information at the right time and go a long way in providing just-in-time (JIT) support.

    Choice of Gen-Y workers:

    MLearning is the learning format of "screenagers". According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gen-Y employees make up 25% of the workforce. This figure is likely to reach 40% by 2020. These tech-savvy personnel are very comfortable and adept in using mobile devices. So, it is no surprise that these workers prefer mLearning to other learning formats.

    The emergence of rapid authoring tools has given an impetus to the growth of mLearning. These tools allow learning content to be published to HTML5, a technology that supports learning on various kinds of mobile devices. Organizations are also using these tools to make legacy courses, mostly created in Flash, mobile compatible.

  3. Collaborative learning

    Collaborative learning is increasingly being recognized by organizations as an effective means of gaining the needed knowledge and skills. This learning, which occurs within the organization and beyond, is radically transforming the landscape of corporate training.

    Collaborative Learning

    Collaborative learning has received a major fillip with the emergence of Web 2.0. Its elements such as Blogs, Discussion Forums, Podcast, Social Media, Offline Messaging, Email Communications, Sharing Resources, Collaborative Assignment tool, and so on, help transmit thoughts of fellow professionals and the collective knowledge of the industry in a smooth and cost-effective manner.

    Intranet plays a key role in effective social learning within a company by connecting all those in an organization. It is a perfect place where employees post their questions to the most eligible and experienced people in their field and get the right answers. This is done in the form of a group message or group mail or a discussion meeting (WebEx or Skype to beat the geographical constraints) with the senior professionals who have good knowledge of the problem and can offer a solution. It could be the other way too, where employees share their ideas and breakthroughs which would help others in fine-tuning their tasks.

  4. Bite-sized learning

    There is a paradigm shift towards bite-sized learning. Companies have realized that courses spanning 90 to 120 minutes are not very effective because the learners' minds have limited ability to "take in" the learning content. Bite-sized courses, which are skimmed to include only the relevant topics, help learners to easily "digest" the content. There is a growing trend of re-purposing courses with lengthy content into several smaller bite-sized courses each with duration of about 15-20 minutes.

    Bite-sized learning

    Another major reason for the growing popularity of bite-sized courses is that they can be used to enhance worker performance levels. These courses are ideal to provide JIT support on mobile devices because of their small size. Learners can quickly access the content at the time of need; this helps them perform efficiently.

  5. Translation of online courses

    Globalization has indeed proved to be a boon for corporate organizations, as seen by the fact that in 2011, the world's 500 largest companies (called the Fortune 500) pulled an average of 40% of their revenues from non-domestic markets (Tully, 2012).

    Translation of online courses

    This statistic reveals the significance of overseas operations of these companies. A key element in the success of multinational organizations is the effective translation of their eLearning courses. Companies are increasingly seeking high quality translations of online training courses that can efficiently equip their multi-lingual international workforces.

    Tools such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline have greatly simplified the translation of online courses. Check out more on how to use translation feature in Adobe Captivate 7? and eLearning translations in Articulate Storyline.

Thus, these 5 developments have brought about major changes in eLearning that herald the coming of a new era of online training. What do you think? We'd love to hear your views.

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