By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Talent LMS, a cloud-based learning management system, has laid out its top 10 online learning trends for 2015 in an infographic. Among these trends are gamification, Big Data, personalization, m-learning, a focus on ROI, APIs (application programming interfaces), automation, augmented learning, corporate MOOCs (massive open online courses), and cloud learning management solutions.
All of these technological trends are significant, because they address the changing demands from learners, who increasingly see online, social, and mobile technology as essential features of the learning experience.
When it comes to Big Data, Talent LMS says that “numbers in eLearning are becoming so large that processing user generated data using traditional methods is becoming impossible.” That’s where Big Data can help, by creating a deeper understanding of the learning process, by helping track learner and group patterns, offering personalized courses, and conducting feedback analysis.
Gamification is also coming into its own beyond the entertainment sphere. According to Talent LMS, close to 80 percent of learners believe they would be more productive if their educational institution or company were more game-like, and almost 90 percent find online competitions fun (though 60 percent only find it fun sometimes, revealing that implementation does matter in gamification).
Personalization is also an up-and-comer for 2015, representing the tailoring of pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environments to a particular learner. By adjusting the pace of instruction, differentiating learning approaches, and allowing users to choose their own path of learning, personalization individualizes the learning process and leverages student interests and experiences to improve outcomes.
M-Learning, or offering learning material via mobile devices, has the benefit of easy and convenient access to content, the ability to contextualize learning, depending on learner’s locations, and delivering content in digestible chunks, thus improving outcomes.
All companies must examine Return on Investment (ROI) to manage profitability, and education is no exception. In 2015, the importance of calculating ROI will escalate, particularly since it provides strong support for e-learning technologies. Some of the benefits of e-learning include travel savings, trainer costs savings, and savings on training logistics and facilities, which in most cases will outweigh the costs of implementation, administration, and licensing.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) also have applications for eLearning environments. Possible uses include triggering an email to a professor when a student completes a course or sending notifications to students when a new course is created.
And automation is useful in course creation, cutting time and steps in the content creation process. Automation can generate quizzes, tests, and exercises automatically; algorithms can generate course content; and courses can be customized by automatically matching content or level to user skills.
Augmented learning technology, an on-demand learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner, is poised to grow from 60 million users in 2013 to 200 million by 2018. Possible uses of this technology include Apple Watch and Google Glass apps extending courses or courses developed for Oculus Rift.
MOOCs are also set to move beyond the traditional educational setting and into the corporate training world, where they can be used for internal training of large groups of employees, open course for teaching skills tailored to company initiatives, and carrying out Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
And finally, despite predictions that Cloud LMS would soon be history, the forecast for 2015 predicts that instead it will continue to experience growth, at a rate of 25 percent over the next five years, reaching $7.83 billion by 2018. Cloud-based platforms demonstrated the highest growth of all learning systems over the past two years.