eLearning Trends Benefiting the Learner

There have been some exciting new eLearning trends over the past 10 years. These trends incorporate new technologies that are meant to benefit the learner in terms of how they learn material, the cost that the learner pays to learn the material, and the convenience of where and when they learn the material. What are these trends and how are they being used? Find out more below!

 1.  AI or Artificial Intelligence

I still remember being an undergraduate in college watching the Terminator on the big screen as Arnold endlessly, tirelessly went after poor Sandra Connor. She was going to be the mother of John Connor, who was to eventually lead the Revolution that would destroy the cyborgs. The Terminator wasn’t a perfect human replication, but it did understand human conversations and could react to an ever changing environment.

And AI is already used in many applications including translation through Google Translate, financial projections, marketing, and hand-writing recognition. AI is also one of the more exciting eLearning trends, as it has the potential to lead to the personalization of the learning process.

One example of this in the eLearning sector is ALEKS, which uses AI to help students develop mathematical skills. If a student answers a question correctly, the system figures out a more difficult question to ask. If not, ALEKS will provide the student with another question to help them to better understand the concept.

Using this process, ALEKS can help Terminate (I couldn’t resist…) the student’s fear of math and aid in the student’s acquisition of skills. And, even though we’re not quite at the level of the “Freaky AI robot” above, we might not be that far off, as Google’s Ray Kurzweil predicts that robots will reach human levels of intelligence by 2029. 1http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-kurzweil-thinks-well-have-human-level-ai-by-2029-2014-12

2.  MOOC or Massive Open Online Course

A MOOC is a way to provide free online education to the masses. The MOOC first came into mainstream as one of the emerging eLearning trends when Andrew Ng, a Stanford University professor, unleashed his Machine Learning Course through Coursera. Normally Professor Ng would teach 400 students, but over 100,000 (that’s not a typo!) signed up for his online course. This is one eLearning trend to watch as it has the potential to change the higher-education landscape.

Whether served through Coursera or some other company that provides MOOCs, the courses typically have video modules to present the material, forums where learners can discuss the material and ask each other questions, and some type of assessment at the end of the course.

3.  LMS or Learning Management System

chart with exponential growthAn LMS is a way to organize learning content to serve courses in an eLearning environment. For companies and nonprofit organizations, the LMS can be used to continually educate their workforce in new technologies, teach sales strategies to their salesforce, keep the company in compliance, and even educate customers on new products or train volunteers.

This is probably the most familiar and fastest growing of the eLearning trends. And with a compound annual growth rate of over 25% predicted each year through 2018, with ultimate spending at $7.83 billion, it’s not surprising that there has been an accelerated uptake of corporate use of the LMS.2http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/learning-management-systems-lms-market-worth-783-billion-2018-forecasted-marketsandmarkets-1864533.htm:

4.  Gamification

Gamification can be a way to use some of the more exciting elements in games, such as point scoring, economic incentive, and competition, to get learners more involved in a course that they’re taking. And, there are many statistics that show that gamification pays off:

  • At Keas, a gamified approach to their health website increased user engagement by 100x
  • Google’s gamification of its travel expenses translated into 100% compliance after 6 months
  • Nextjump used gamification to get its users into the gym

In the corporate sector, companies can use gamification to inspire their employees to complete training courses by turning the process into a game. For example, if a trainee completes a course, he or she can receive a small gift card. Or, when everyone from a team completes a group of courses, they can all receive a free lunch, paid for by the company.

5.  Mobile Learning or M-Learning

Traditional learning takes place in a physical classroom. And while this can work for the typical college student, in the corporate setting this type of learning environment could wind up costing the company a lot of money. First, there’s the cost of getting to the classroom. For larger companies with many satellite offices, this could include the cost of airfare, hotel, and additional meals. Second, it can be costly because of scheduling issues. Imagine that you have a deadline looming in the next 2 days for a multi-million dollar contract but you have to take time out of your day to physically sit in a classroom to take a course. Definitely not the most cost-efficient use of your time!

An eLearning trend such as mobile learning (m-learning) can help with both of these issues. With mobile learning, the learner or trainee learns “on the go” which could mean that they complete courses while they’re in an airport waiting for a flight, sitting on a train on their daily commute, or while they’re enjoying their morning cup of coffee.

And according to Michaels & Associates Learning Solutions, mobile courses are accessed in a variety of settings:3http://mnalearning.com/resource_view.php?id=71

  • 74% use mobile learning while traveling
  • 55% use mobile learning while standing in line
  • 17% use mobile learning while exercising (Author edit: Hopefully they’re on a treadmill!)


eLearning is a rapidly growing industry with benefits such as time and cost savings. And, it’s an exciting time to be a learner who can take advantage of some of the new, emerging eLearning trends.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-kurzweil-thinks-well-have-human-level-ai-by-2029-2014-12
2. http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/learning-management-systems-lms-market-worth-783-billion-2018-forecasted-marketsandmarkets-1864533.htm:
3. http://mnalearning.com/resource_view.php?id=71
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