6 Digital Trends The eLearning Industry Needs To Embrace
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What Digital Trends eLearning Professionals Should Adopt

The digital terrain is shifting. It does that all the time, monthly, weekly even. Every micro-move by one of the big corporations is met with a backlash, which in turn invokes another shift.

On the other side of the hill—learning theory is constantly evolving. New research and insights come up, attempting to keep up with the new learning tools that spring up with every technological advancement.

eLearning stands on the crux of these 2 areas: digital culture and learning. As such, we need to be able to stay ahead of the curve by constantly predicting changes and embedding new trends into our craft.

Vague outdated trends like "gamification" and "social sharing" are old news by now. Contemporary trends tend to be more like umbrella terms that cover massive paradigm shifts (AI) or resonate the way users are used to consuming information and goods.

Let’s take a look at some of the more promising trends:

Putting The "You" In AI

Artificial Intelligence, aside from being one of the more popular buzzwords in the digital industry, is the gateway to more efficient, personalized, accurate learning. Predicting the future has long since left the realms of magic and prophesying and is now on the frontier of science.

With regard to eLearning and eTraining, we can count on AI-based learning plans to deliver data-driven analysis at machine-speed. We can also expect smarter, faster predictions of our needs as users and learners. Most importantly, we’ll be getting a tailor-made learning experience, based on our preferences, speed of learning, strengths, and weaknesses.

Publishers and eLearning companies investing in eLearning and corporate training AI are already seeing results. Between predictive analytics and meticulously customized learning programs, the ROI from investing in early-stage AI learning technology is proving to be cost-effective.

Return Of The Bots

While the lively debate on whether chatbots will make or break customer service rages on, there is no denying that bots’ place in the digital culture is rising fast and furiously. In addition to the huge reduction in customer support costs, bots are single-handedly solving issues of availability, speed, and accessibility.

There’s no reason chatbots shouldn’t be integrated into smart eLearning platforms. As part of the digital learning experience, bots would help make information more accessible, speed up help inquiries and generally offer a more interactive, supportive learning encounter.

Stories Are The New Gamification

Following the enormous footsteps of Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, stories have the potential to add a colorful personality aspect to the eLearning experience. For Gen-Z, who are conditioned to having their identity ingrained in every digital action they take, storifying learning will click right into place.

Instead of the vague and heavy-sounding "gamification", storifying brings a clear and instant added value to the equation: temporary videos, images, or other media with a limited lifespan. This allows publishers to drive engagement rates higher, and offer compelling stories which users are only able to access during a narrow time slot. The opportunities for engaging learners are endless.

Reviews And Social Learning

"Your friends Jack and Jill are going to an event."

It’s no big news that peer participation has a highly effective authority impact. If my friends or acquaintances are doing it—it must be safe and suitable to my taste. Amazon’s star reviews are just as impactful as their multi-million dollar marketing budget.

Peer participation indications have been around since the early days of Facebook, and for good reason, too. This is the most effective practice in weaving social networks more closely together. Beyond user-generated content, actions speak loudly. Being able to mine your peers’ opinions, as a source of authority to affirm your own—is a powerful motivational mechanism.

Performance - Minding The Bottom Line

When it comes to learning practical skills for professional purposes, most employers tend to view the learning process as a means to an end. The learning itself needs to be powerfully effective and rarely offers intellectual merits for its own sake.

As such, most corporate workplaces are oriented to performance rather than the actual learning process, which is only valued for its final output.

Performance support has been on the rise lately—a practice of employee empowerment that offers exactly what evades pure learning practices: the ability to help employees and users perform, hands-on, in real-time.

As a digital trend, performance support has opened a gateway for swiftly developing new technologies that don’t exactly fall into the classic learning technologies category: sophisticated support tools, smarter chatbots, onboarding platforms, and other tools that act as an ongoing support/training aide for users.

This paradigm shift, from learning tools to performance tools is widely affecting the corporate and SaaS user worlds. In many cases, learning methodologies are giving way to hands-on performance tools, which is perceived as an evolution of learning practices.

Personalization Of Content

Personalized content has been around for quite a while, in the marketing and sales spheres. Every junior marketing manager knows that newsletters bearing the recipient’s first name in the salutation are more likely to receive positive attention. It’s time that the learning industry wholeheartedly embrace the need to personalize content for its users.

In eLearning and eTraining, content personalization means fitting the right learning materials for users, with regard to their level of advancement, skills, and abilities, fields of interest, and roles or positions. Simply put—personalized learning content is replacing standard one-size-fits-all manuals and not a moment too soon.

Well-planned content personalization can make the difference between highly engaged learning users and under-stimulated learners who are not onboard with the process.