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Top 9 e-Learning Predictions for 2014


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2013 was an exciting year for e-Learning professionals with many discussions around learning paradigms and technologies. The year saw many interesting developments in areas such as Learning Standards/Specifications (xAPI), Programming Languages (HTML 5), Gamification, Game-based Learning, etc. We believe that 2014 will see more powerful changes, owing to the maturing and convergence of some of these technologies. If 2013 was a year of ‘contemplations’, 2014 will be a year of ‘decisions’! Read on…

2013 was an exciting year for e-Learning professionals with many discussions around learning paradigms and technologies. We started the year with our own forecasts through "Top 11 Disruptive e-Learning Technologies", many of which, when we look back, turned out to be accurate. The year saw many interesting developments directly impacting e-learning in areas like:

  • Courseware Authoring Tools
  • LMSs, LCMSs, and Learning Management Platforms
  • Learning Standards/Specifications (Experience API)
  • Learning Analytics 
  • Learning Styles (Personalized & Adaptive)
  • Web Design Techniques (Responsive/Adaptive eLearning Design)
  • Mobile Learning
  • Learning Modes (Informal Learning/Social Learning)
  • Programming Languages (HTML 5)
  • Gamification and Game-based Learning
  • Video-based Learning
  • Cloud Computing

We believe that 2014 will see more powerful changes, owing to the maturing and convergence of some of these technologies. If 2013 was a year of ‘contemplations’, 2014 will be a year of ‘decisions’! 

e-Learning Forecasts for 2014

Our forecasts for 2014 are inspired by the great learnings we had from our thought-provoking interview series titled ‘Crystal Balling with Learnnovators’. Needless to say, many of these forecasts are also influenced by findings from respected research bodies across the world.So, here we go…. 

  1. Mobile LearningIn 2013, many large organizations started implementing mobile learning initiatives, while others were experimenting with the medium in their own ways. We saw a lot of research and prototyping, and there were some inspiring success stories too. The year also witnessed Enterprise Mobile Store (from Qualcomm) - an innovative and inspiring concept that could encourage adoption of mobile learning across enterprises around the world. We believe that mobile learning is going to be the most disruptive game changer in 2014. Here are a few developments we think we’ll witness this year:
    • Wider adoption of mobile learning in workplaces to improve productivity
    • Richer and more dynamic learning experiences due to the evolution of mobile phones and tablets 
    • Integration of mobile learning with e-learning, and with other emerging technologies such as Learning Analytics 
    • Capabilities such as Mobile Augmented Reality, Near Field Communication (NFC), and QR Codes powering up ‘contextual mobile learning’
    • Adoption of Business App Stores within organizations to help employees work smarter
  2. Social Learning/Informal LearningWorkplace Learning and Social Learning started being accepted in 2013 as the main modes of organizational learning. The 70:20:10 Forum continued playing a major role in spreading the positive implications of embracing informal learning in organizations. Here is an article in which we had shared our views on the 70:20:10 Model last year.2014 will be the year of Informal Learning, with an increased adoption at the organizational level. Here are a few developments we think we’ll witness this year:
    • Major disruption in the thinking of organizational learning
    • Incorporation of social media into core training strategy 
    • Wider adoption of the 70:20:10 framework for organizational development
    • Opening up of learning content that is presently locked up behind firewalls or LMSs to enable access to learners for just-in-time learning or performance support
    • More LMSs and learning platforms enabling options for managing and tracking informal learning 
    • More authoring tools, LMSs, and learning platforms embracing collaboration workflows to encourage social learning around formal learning courses
  3. Gamification & Game-based LearningMany tools emerged in 2013, offering the capability to create gamified learning experiences. We witnessed several inspiring use cases, such as Gamification of Healthcare and Gamification of Retail Safety and Loss Prevention Training. We too got started with our initial ideas on ‘Gamification in Application Software Training’, and had some interesting follow-up thoughts on Gamification after our interview with Karl Kapp.Gamification is all set to pick up speed in 2014. The concepts of Game-based Learning (GBL) and Gamification will gain acceptance as valid learning strategies. Here are a few developments that we could be witnessing this year:
    • An increased use of gamification for learning in a variety of subject areas and for all types of training
    • More application software and Learning Management Systems integrating gamification elements as part of their applications (user level operations)
    • Social networking systems integrating more gamification elements as part of their functions
    • Wider adoption of gamification for encouraging employee/client/partner/customer participation and involvement in organizational areas other than learning
    • The emergence of more tool and consulting service providers to help clients integrate gamification into their business activities
    • The emergence of more accrediting agencies around gamification and badging
    • The evolution of new strategies for gamification and GBL across screens and devices 
    • Evolution of GBL into more sophisticated and serious games for learning complex subjects and topics
    • More focussed initiatives (such as Qualcomm’s Enterprise Mobile Store) to power up gamification and GBL in organizations worldwide 
    • Gamification amalgamating further with the power of other emerging technologies such as Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things (IoT), providing us with more powerful gamified learning experiences
  4. HTML5We started 2013 with our observations and predictions on HTML5 in the context of e-learning. Though this relatively new programming language made some major strides last year, it continues to evolve further, and has a long way to go in 2014 and beyond. 2014 will see great pace of evolution for HTML5. Here are a few developments that we might be witnessing this year:
    • Wider acceptance as the standard Enterprise Development Platform (combined with CSS and JavaScript) for building web-based applications
    • More content authoring tools adopting HTML5 (including support for powerful interactivities and media)
    • Evolution of the language towards standardization (to address the challenges regarding rendering issues with different browsers and devices)
  5. Rapid e-Learning Development ToolsIn 2013, we saw many tools coming up with newer versions to adapt quickly to the emerging technologies and the changing demands of the learning community. This year is going to be no different. Here are our predictions for 2014:
    • More tools adopting Tin Can API 
    • Tools continuing to invest in HTML5 and mobile (Responsive) learning 
    • Tools moving toward sophisticated graphics and rich media 
    • Tools continuing to evolve to meet the market’s needs (such as Gamification, GBL, Collaborative Development Support, and Video-based Course Development Support)
    • Tools evolving further to offer instructional models suited for multi-screen learning
    • More tools offering cloud-based authoring options
    • Tools moving towards support for developing just-in-time learning and Performance Support systems 
  6. Responsive e-Learning DesignThough we have been excited about responsive design (we blogged about responsive e-Learning Design), and have since been following up on it with some experiments), 2013 didn’t see any major developments in Responsive eLearning Design. 2014 will mark the year of evolution for responsive e-learning design. Here are a few developments that we think we’ll witness this year:
    • More authoring tools adopting ‘Responsive output’
    • Tools evolving further allowing us to create ‘Adaptive’ content for just-in-time learning and performance support
  7. Tin Can API2013 saw many advances with regard to the development, release, and adoption of Tin Can API. One interesting event that provided a peek into the wonderful possibilities of using this standard was the first Tin Can-enabled conference in the world. We started following up with our thoughts on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in the context of e-learning, and then moved on to Big Data, and finally to Tin Can API. 2014 will be the year of Experience API with a greater adoption of the standard worldwide. Here are a few developments that could take place this year:
    • Wider acceptance of this learning standard as the key resource to harness the power of Big Data for e-Learning
    • More tools, LMSs, and delivery platforms supporting the standard to track informal learning experiences
    • More vendors, developers, and organizations embracing Tin Can in their learning designs, and extending its power to Talent Analytics and other broader parts of the enterprise 
    • More mobile learning apps utilizing the power of Tin Can API to deliver personalized learning experiences
    • Evolution of best practices for statement structures to ensure interoperability among various systems
  8. Learning Analytics2013 saw many discussions around the wonderful possibilities offered by Learning Analytics. Knewton Technology and Civitas Learning Platform were some interesting examples. We started the year with our predictions on ‘Big Data in e-Learning’.  2014 will be the year of Learning Analytics with an increased adoption of this technique. Here are a few developments that this year could be witness to:
    • More tools powered up by the possibilities of Learning Analytics to provide personalized and adaptive learning solutions
    • More LMS vendors and learning platforms integrating Learning Analytics features to their products to help training administrators track learner behaviours
    • Wider adoption of Learning Analytics in organizational areas other than learning (such as Human Resources, Talent Management, Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, and Program Management)
    • Further evolution of Learning Analytics by tapping deeper into Big Data to provide better insights
    • Integration of Learning Analytics with other systems (such as Human Capital Management System) to power up organizational performance
  9. Video-based Learning2013 saw interesting possibilities revolving around video-based learning, with many tools coming up with support for creating high-quality interactive video-based courses. We started the year with our predictions on ‘Video-based Learning’. 2014 will be the year of interactive video-based learning with an increased adoption of this powerful technique. Here are a few developments that we think we’ll witness this year:
    • Increased acceptance of byte-sized video-based learning content 
    • More rapid development tools that enable development of interactive video-based learning content
    • Tools evolving further to enable creation of highly effective video snippets for performance support and just-in-time learning
    • Tools supporting Learning Analytics for video-based learning content

Bottom LineSo, that’s our take on what 2014 might hold for e-learning. And, we hope to have an opportunity to work with you to bring in positive changes in the e-learning landscape this year.What are your eLearning predictions for 2014? What are some of the events that you would like to add to this list?