eLearning Pillars That May Disappear In The Future
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Nobody likes change, but in all fields of human endeavor, change is inevitable. As one of the very first teachers in human history, Socrates probably knew what he was talking about and in a strange way he may have foreseen what the eLearning industry is going through today. As things change, there are some eLearning pillars that seem set to ride off into the digital sunset.
- Panning the Flash.
Three fronts have collided to create the perfect storm that seems to have seriously holed the Flash ship. The growing influence of mobile devices, perceived security vulnerabilities, and performance concerns have all come together to make Flash based eLearning decline in popularity. Flash is no longer available on the Google Play Store and Apple’s disinterest towards Flash has been extremely well documented for a while now. Net, net HTML5 seems to have captured the imagination and Flash use cases are dwindling. No one is making the case that Flash will disappear overnight, but announcements like Google’s recent withdrawal of support to Flash-based ads will only make it more difficult to stem the downward slide. In August 2015, TechCrunch published an article bidding “Goodbye to Flash” – chances are we will all have to follow suit soon.
- Not for browsing.
We have written in the past how the advent of the mobile and the growing dependence of corporates on the Cloud could well make traditional server-driven, browser-based eLearning obsolete. mLearning is different is so many ways, smaller screen sizes, connection speeds, touch-based interfaces, resource-light devices, and different user behavior, and taken together means that very different looking courses are delivered on-the-go, in short and sharp bursts. Using the Cloud moves the processing power away from the user devices and into, well, the Cloud. A best of both worlds, a combination of mobile-web based mLearning is, even more, a reason to go this route. The different reality calls for a different kind of eLearning and that may not be the browser-based avatar we are used to.
- No longer texty.
For long PDFs, PPTs, and long-form text have ruled the eLearning roost. The intent and the challenge were always to introduce interactivity to make the test-based content more engaging. But this is an increasingly visual age, and learning is conditioned by shorter attention spans and the busier life-styles of learners. It has been a long time coming but now, at last, is fair to say that text is slowly and surely ceding ground to images, infographics, videos, gamification and the like. After-all, isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?
- Not such a classic.
Classroom training is on the way out. Ok, before you get all heated up, let us clarify. We believe this to be the case in the context of medium to large corporates. This is driven by the rise of telecommuting, distributed workforces, the need for greater personalization in training content, and Cloud-based IT infrastructures (them again!). Roland Berger Strategy Consultants predicted that the move away from the classroom and into the online corporate learning way of employee training would result in an annualized growth rate of 13% all the way through till 2017. Not bad when you consider that the business is expected to touch $ 107 billion already this year.
- LMS doesn’t mean Large, Monolithic System.
The IT movement within the enterprise is towards simplicity. Across the board there is a trend away from larger, stand-alone systems and into smaller, resource-efficient, easy-to-manage systems and Learning Management Systems cannot escape this trend. There are literally hundreds of free and paid LMS options out there, but our view is that the options that will keep gaining ground will be those that keep it simple. We have written in the past about several bells and whistles that you may or may not need. We believe that this will be the way of the future – pick the features that are relevant to you and your course and have a Learning Management System to match.
John F Kennedy had said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”. That’s sound advice as we look set to thank these eLearning pillars for their service and look at their replacements as they take center stage.