A version of this post was originally published on November 8, 2018, in OEB Insights
The e-learning industry is constantly evolving. Whether we’re talking about K-12 or Higher Ed, face-to-face instruction can’t possibly be the only solution. With new learning technologies and techniques always emerging and evolving, it can be hard for anyone involved in creating and delivering learning materials to keep up.
E-learning trends come and go. Some current trends that shape up the e-learning industry at the moment are rather new, others are currently under the spotlight, while others are proven tactics that will continue to lead to great results.
Which one to follow?
While this decision should be tailored to your specific classroom learning needs, here are a few trends that you might want to keep an eye on:
1. AR, VR, MR
These two-letter acronyms are omnipresent lately in e-learning conversations. The truth is, they promise a lot: immersive learning. That comes with an incredible potential of skyrocketing engagement and retention rates for all learners.
Another truth is they’re still the new kid on the block. The use of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality or Mixed Reality in an educational setting is not yet as widespread as it should be to convince everyone everywhere that this is the best way to go. They may come with great learning results, but they may also come with no guarantees for success.
Read more: The real state of AR in education today
2. Adaptive learning
A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching is doomed to fail, no matter the type of the educational institution that creates it. Learning programs must adapt to and evolve based on learners’ needs.
Adaptive learning systems make sure each learner is enrolled in a personalized learning path built around data that is gathered both before and during the entire learning process. Thanks to this, learners can be enrolled in a series of related courses automatically, receive targeted support, and finish any course at their own pace, with remarkable results.
3. Video-based instruction
Video is a powerful way to catch learners’ attention, as it involves more senses into the learning process. Seeing and hearing someone on screen creates a strong connection with the learner. Interactive videos take things even further.
Video based instruction is an ascending trend, as more schools realize that it’s not that expensive to create video content, it can be repurposed in more than one e-learning course and it’s generally easy to update. Plus, everyone is so familiar with the video format that it ensures better engagement.
Intense focus usually lasts for about 20 minutes. With the many inevitable interruptions that happen all the time everywhere, people can’t be expected to learn a lot from one go. So smaller lessons can have a bigger impact than larger ones.
Micro learning turns lengthy learning materials into more manageable bite-sized chunks of information that are easier to interact with and remember. That’s why learners of all ages tend to prefer this kind of learning modules over traditional more lengthy ones. It all goes down to how the brain processes important information.
5. Mobile learning
Learning happens everywhere: at school, at home, but also in a coffee shop, or in the park. The mobile phone has become a natural extension to people’s hands, no matter how old they are.
It’s only natural that learners want to be able to access whatever learning materials they need on their mobile devices. Mobile learning therefore helps them get to the right piece of information, just when they need it, no matter where they are. Plus, it’s a great supporter of micro learning mentioned above.
Read more: The challenges of mobile learning in the classroom and how to overcome them
Gamification is the use of game mechanics and principles — such as points, badges, leaderboards, progress bar or trophies — in non-game environments like the classroom.
Gamification is a tried and tested method that improves learner engagement and retention rates. In a gamified learning environment learners get instant feedback on their actions, are rewarded for all their efforts and also get recognition of their learning progress. And the best part is that they can have a little fun in this whole process.
So, if you are in any sort involved in creating and delivering learning materials in your school, you might find these 6 e-learning trends useful. Maybe you'll follow all of them, maybe you'll follow only a few. The most important thing is to follow whichever are the right fit for you!