Even before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and forced us to change so many of our daily routines at work and at home impacting most industries and sectors in one way or another, the eLearning industry was experiencing growth. Not surprisingly, the eLearning industry has gained a huge momentum in recent years, with the industry expecting to reach $300 billion by the year 2025.This statistic highlights the huge potential for, and the many opportunities, for businesses and institutions seeking to use eLearning to expand and fuel their growth and development.Cost-savings, resource optimization, flexibility in training and teachings, and time-saving are some of the benefits provided by eLearning trends of 2020. Additionally, experts have even predicted many benefits that tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z can reap with more advancements in eLearning solutions. In this article, we focus on some of the key trends shaping eLearning today and look at what the future holds for this growing industry. Prior to COVID-19, elearning was an option taken up by the more forward looking and tech savvy organisations. COVID-19 forced even the less tech savvy organisations to experiment with new technologies, including elearning. Post-COVID-19 the new reality will no doubt be based on a far greater role for elearning as part of organisation’s basic training and development tool-kit.
The following are three trends most likely to impact this continued growth of elearning in the immediate future:-
A study published by CNBC states that by 2025, almost three quarters of the web population will access the internet solely through their smartphones. Smartphones have provided us with so many facilities to make our lives much more comfortable and convenient. They have impacted areas as diverse as online video and calling facilities to the best healthcare and education facilities. This increased use of mobile phones extends itself to the use of learning and training since it provides added convenience to the delivery of training and development. Today’s increased use of smartphones has made it imperative for educators and institutions to cater for mobile phone access when creating course content and learning material. It is essential that these learning materials are flexible and responsive enough to allow viewing and publishing on different channels.
Statistics showshow that mobile use has actually surpassed desktop use. As such, Mlearning (mobile learning), is gaining widespread acceptance. 2020 is the year that mobile learning is expected to be a must-have option for elearning, and with the onslaught of the coronavirus outbreak, the need for mobile device-based learning has increased (Pandey, 2020).
This refers primarily to the use of video games or video gaming elements to facilitate learning, or rather gaming environments which can be used for learning. This has become one of the leading trends in eLearning. Gamification in elearning made great progress in 2018 and has since revolutionized the way in which learning takes place. Gamification generates much better engagement in learning and tends to show improved performance and better grades among students. The positive effects gamification has on students have been studied extensively, and these studies conclude that gamification helps learning through the competitive nature of individuals. Another study stated that out of its respondents, 82% of respondents said that gamification made them happier whilst 82% also said that they enjoy multiple difficulty levels and explorable content. In addition to this, 62% of respondents argued that they would be motivated to learn if competition and leader boards were involved in their learning.
A case study in Canada showed how video games can also be incorporated in teaching. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across Canada and eliminated all field trips, a Montreal-based history teacher had a novel solution. He asked his students to play the popular video game, Assassin’s Creed, but with an objective: to submit reports based on the historical background of the game. (Game developer Ubisoft included a discovery mode in Assassin’s Creed for its Odyssey release, which features a guided tour of the setting with the usual gameplay removed. Quizzes were also incorporated).
This has become increasingly popular as a learning technique. It is based on the development of bite size chunked content which is easier for users to follow and thus provides a better understanding of the learning material. This is particularly relevant due to the shorter attention spans many people have today due to the influx of “noise” around us. This “noise” is really all the many distracting elements in our surroundings, be they traditional media channels such as TV, radio and print or the more invasive social media. Microlearning has been reported to improve learning transfer by 17% compared to traditional learning methods. In addition, it generates 50% more engagement, while reducing development costs by 50% and increasing development speed by 300%.