This year, the COVID-19 crisis has reset the trends leaving HR leaders and L&D teams to rethink the way they manage and train the workforce. In this article, I list 18 eLearning trends highlighting their relevance in the changed workplace dynamics.
Every July, I relook at the eLearning Trends and Predictions I released in January to ascertain how my analysis and recommendations panned out. Training remote learners and driving performance gain over distance is the new reality. So, I re-examined my original list against these pressing needs of today.
This article lists 18 eLearning trends highlighting their relevance in the changed workplace dynamics. I have grouped them as:
Given the large number of trends, I have logically grouped them into 5 sections.
Do take a look at each one next…
With changed workplace dynamics, training delivery must cater to remote learners and Mobile Learning is the way to go – Accelerated by what learners need today, this trend continues to be on top.
This trend will continue to be the dominant mode for online training delivery as well as to supplement facilitated or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT).
You can use it to meet the entire spectrum of your training needs, including Formal training, Instant/Just-in-time learning aids, Informal learning, Self-Directed Learning, as well as Social or Collaborative Learning.
This is a “must have” trend and will continue to see accelerated adoption in 2020.
A close cousin of Mobile Learning—Mobile Apps for Learning—provides the flexibility to learn anywhere, anytime.
Their real impact can be felt when they are used to offer Performance Support Tools to provide the required on-the-job support. They can be easily updated and deployed quickly, and you can easily push relevant Notifications to the learners. You can also personalize the assets for each learner (based on pre-tests or surveys).
They can be used to offer both Formal as well as Informal learning. Both Microlearning and Gamification techniques can be used very effectively to offer Gamified learning featuring a series of Microlearning nuggets. These can be easily Personalized (based on the learner’s role, region, proficiency, or interest).
With the ability to personalize and offer learning journeys from a distance, Mobile Apps for Learning are an “absolute must to invest on” in 2020.
With remote working and social distancing at play, classroom training/ILT is not a feasible option right now and organizations must undertake a rapid Digital Transformation.
A notable part of this conversion exercise is to determine how to convert the fully facilitated or Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to a Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), a Fully Online mode, or a Blended mode. Depending on the budget and time frame for conversion, you can pick from Rapid development to Semi-custom or high-end fully custom designs.
However, the prevailing trend to transition to Virtual Training is a journey, where the elements of training should gradually shift from primarily Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), a blended mode and, ultimately, to a Fully Self-paced Training mode.
With benefits that include the flexibility to learn remotely, capability to scale quickly, ease of personalization, as well as acceptance of your multi-generational workforce support, this trend is a “must have” in 2020.
Microlearning has moved to the center stage for Virtual Training and remote learning. It is action-oriented, and each bite helps learners meet a specific outcome.
Featuring short, focused bites that can be easily consumed (between breaks, at home), it is certainly learners’ favorite format to learn, explore further, or meet specific on-the-job needs.
Its versatility makes it a great choice for L&D teams to use it for the entire spectrum of Virtual Training needs, including Formal training, Just-in-time job aids, Learning aids to recap, reinforce, or challenge the learners to review the primary learning, and Support VILT programs (Pre-Workshop assets, During workshop assets, and Post-Workshop connects).
With the changed workplace dynamics and need to offer short, focused remote learning, Microlearning will continue to lead in 2020. This trend is absolutely a “must have” for your Virtual Training delivery in 2020.
A significant challenge that L&D teams face as they offer remote learning is how to keep the remote users engaged. One of the measures that will get you learners’ attention is Personalized Learning that offers highly relevant, custom content to them. This customized journey can be drawn on the basis of their current knowledge, interest, future needs, or simple cues like role/region.
It gives them complete control on what they want to learn, how they want to learn, and at the pace that works best for them. It enables L&D teams to align the learners to the business goals, upskill, or reskill them far more effectively as compared to generic training. It also fosters a culture of continuous and Self-Directed Learning.
Personalized Learning offered as a learning journey that matches the career pathways that learners want is an approach that will impact your ROI positively and is absolutely worth investing on in 2020.
Today’s learners are an impatient lot! Multi-tasking and pressed for time, they do not want to log on to an LMS to locate a course that may have the answer to their need or their challenge.
With work from home being the new normal, they want learning resources to be within their workflow (read – on their smartphone) and packaged specifically to help them or address their needs.
Performance Support Tools can address their wide-ranging needs, including, apply what they have learnt, learn further on a given topic, learn new concepts, solve problems or clear a bottleneck or a showstopper.
The extensive use of PSTs or instant learning aids and job aids will accelerate in 2020 to help organizations improve employee performance over a distance.
Most of us are familiar with the 70-20-10 model for Learning and Development that maps the learning to be – Predominantly experiential learning (70%) that happens on the job, Social or Collaborative Learning (20%) that happens by learning with or from others and Formal training (10%).
Organizations are realizing the need to shift their training spend that is being used predominantly for Formal training to a more balanced approach. This is reflected in providing avenues for Informal learning.
This trend will accelerate in 2020 as organizations leverage this to facilitate continuous learning for the remote learners. It will offer a strong support to Formal training.
Content Curation is a great way to offset the challenge of categorizing vast data and offering on-demand, relevant content to the users. It enables users to find access to information that they can use at the moment of their need. It can provide a recommended learning path (personalized) that can be further customized by the users. It is a great way to encourage Informal learning and, more significantly, Self-Directed Learning at the workplace.
If you are new to Virtual Training, you can begin by curating content from your existing knowledge base as well as from the public domain. This can be used to support Formal training and keep the costs down. Over time, it can also facilitate user contribution (User Generated Content) to keep the knowledge base current and relevant.
With the wider usage of LXP as well as Next Gen LMS platforms that use AI and Machine Learning to offer curated and Personalized Learning, this trend is becoming an important part of the training delivery. Its ability to offer on-demand and relevant content to the users are the key reasons to adopt it in 2020.
In the last few years, many organizations have invested on providing platforms to promote Social or Collaborative Learning. The Next Gen LMSs as well as the LXPs (Learning Experience Platforms) provide a strong core to leverage Social Learning and foster a culture of continuous learning.
Social Learning helps you create communities of practice, and you can use it as a great lever for change and continuous learning. In today’s context of spread out remote workforce, this can help employees not only stay connected but learn together.
This is a must adopt trend in 2020 and you must leverage it to connect your remote learners easily and effectively!
In the Self-Directed Learning (SDL) mode, the onus of learning, determination of learning paths, and how they consume it is with the learners. They can pull learning resources from the organization’s knowledge base or from external resources to meet their specific learning goal
As this is not tracked, organizations are rather weary of this. However, the investment cost (of providing relevant, curated resources and possibly rewards or recognition for consuming them as well as contributing to the repository) is not high.
My assessment is that this is going to be a vital element to facilitate continuous learning – particularly, in today’s situation where the majority of learners work remotely.
I believe this trend is worth investing on in 2020. It would help you see a more engaged learner pool that is motivated and committed to this model of learning.
Learners are drawn to Gamification as it makes learning fun and features rewards and recognition – that all of us love! For L&D teams, its variant “Gamification for serious learning” is the one that delivers the required ROI as it focuses on delivering specific learning outcomes (much the same way any other learning strategy does). Gamification based techniques can be applied across all corporate training needs.
It finds application in the changed dynamics as an important strategy to engage remote learners during VILT or Blended trainings.
A well-crafted Gamification for serious learning (across VILT/Blended/Fully Self-paced, Online training) will help you achieve a high engagement quotient, better completion rates, higher recall and retention, quicker application of acquired learning on the job, proficiency gain (practice and move toward mastery) and influence or trigger behavioral change.
With reducing costs, shorter time to design and deploy, several use cases and success stories, this trend is worth a serious look in 2020 if you haven’t looked at it thus far.
Scenario Based Learning is a highly immersive learning strategy that can be used across corporate trainings – notably, Compliance, Soft Skills, Professional Skills, Product training, and Sales trainings. It provides learning in a safe environment and helps learners learn the impact of their choices and learn from their mistakes.
Scenario Based Learning can also be used alone or paired with the Interactive Story Based Learning to create higher retention and recall, leading to a memorable and sticky learning experience.
In today’s context of changed workplace dynamics – with distributed teams and remote learners, the need to help employees align to the new normal is very high.
You can use scenarios and stories to drive attitudinal change as well as to sensitize learners on specific issues. They can be used very effectively to drive the desired action. They can be also used to simplify a complex subject or to convert an abstract concept into something that is relatable and easy to assimilate for the remote learners.
This trend is worth a serious look in 2020 if you haven’t looked at it thus far.
With an acceleration in the adoption of Microlearning and reduced costs of development, the usage of Videos will continue its upward trend in 2020. You will see an extensive use of Microlearning videos as well as learning pathways (Read More/Explore Further) that are curated from public domain assets.
You will also see an increase in the use of Interactive Videos that provide a high degree of engagement through learning interactions and assessments, similar to traditional eLearning courses. Unlike classic videos, the Interactive Videos can be tracked from the LMS.
Their versatility enables them to be used across the Learning and Performance Improvement mandate that facilitates learning journeys from a distance:
This trend is also a “must have” in 2020 in your training delivery to offer highly engaging and immersive learning experiences.
Immersive learning (in the context of Virtual Training) is essentially training that’s facilitated through a learning environment that moves learners away from just learning through PPTs, visuals, videos, and audios and trains them by using virtual and artificially augmented environments. These environments mimic the settings where learners will not only learn better but also apply the knowledge learned through such training. Through specific measures (like spaced repetition), they can effectively trigger behavioral change too.
This is where you can leverage the strength of immersive learning strategies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR).
With easy-to-implement solutions (including from players like Adobe and Trivantis as well as niche AR/VR platforms), the cost and the lead time to develop these solutions is going down. There are also several use cases that apply Microlearning-based nuggets with AR/VR. With lower costs and high impact, the adoption of this kind of solution will increase further.
In 2020, you will certainly see more traction on this trend as these solutions become more affordable and can be offered to augment or supplement Formal training.
Next Gen Learning strategies are a combination of multiple successful strategies and will help you achieve a manifold increase in the impact.
For instance, you can combine Gamification and Microlearning and deliver them as Mobile Learning or Mobile Apps for Learning as shown here:
You can play with infinite variants, including Microlearning nuggets in the Gamified learning journey that feature immersive techniques like Virtual Reality (VR). Alternatively, you can have a completely VR-driven learning path that is Gamified.
If you haven’t thought of the Next Gen strategies yet, do so in 2020!
With a large remote workforce, the need to analyze their learning patterns and ascertain the impact of training (on the learners as well as the gain for the business) is at an all-time high. Hence, Learner Analytics is emerging as a significant aspect to invest on. It can provide valuable insights on the learner behavior to validate what is working and what is not.
It can provide actionable insights to enhance or change the current approach and align better to the goals. It can also provide cues on what more can be done to improve learner motivation and engagement as well as what would facilitate a better application of learning.
This trend aligns to the key area of “continuous improvement” as well as provides actionable insights to enhance the learning experience. Both will go a long way in positively impacting the ROI on the training spend. Besides SCORM 2004 and Tin Can API, the AI techniques (that LXPs and the Next Gen LMS platforms offer) can be used to mine the analytics to provide a more custom, relevant, and Personalized Learning.
This is an investment you must plan for in 2020.
The coming years will see a steady shift from traditional LMS to LXP adoption on account of the significant value that LXPs offer:
They are fun, more engaging, and relevant for learners (and they will help learners meet specific learning outcomes). A highly Personalized Learning experience can be crafted by the learner through learning pathways.
They leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand learning patterns and make further recommendations. As a result, they encourage exploration and Self-Directed Learning.
They offer inclusive learning, Content Curation, and facilitate User Generated Content. They feature Social Learning and offer recognition to active participants. They feature assessments along with badges and certification.
There is a major churn in the LMS space, and there is clear movement toward the adoption of LXPs and this will accelerate in 2020.
Earlier in the section, I had highlighted the use of AI in Learner Analytics. It will also be a trend to watch out for in the context of enhancing learning in 2020.
While it has been the talk of the town for a while, we are seeing its practical value now. It is being leveraged to offer highly custom learning pathways for the learners. Based on the data of their content consumption pattern, further recommendations can be made.
On a related note, the usage of the Chatbot as a Virtual Coach for the learners has also begun. This offers a huge value-add to an engaged, connected, and Personalized Learning that today’s learners want.
We can look forward to more applications of AI for learning in 2020.
I hope my article helps you revise your training strategies to handle the changed workplace dynamics. As you embark on your Virtual Training Transformation or accelerate it, this will help you pick the right trend for its successful implementation.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.
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I work as a Project Lead at EI Design where I develop the visual design for client projects. My focus is to provide end products as per the client’s design and requirement. This puts me in a position where I need to understand core client requirements. I achieve this by communicating efficiently across the different domains that are involved in the project. As a Visual Designer, my focus is to develop eye-catching products that not only capture the imagination of end-users but also enhance their learning capabilities through our innovative technologies.
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My role at EI Design requires me to don multifaceted capabilities, starting from consulting with clients on Instructional Design requirements, strategizing learning approaches and handling presales opportunities as a Solution Architect, managing a domain with diverse skillsets, to innovating and exploring new learning design trends.
Through my journey at EI Design, I have learned to appreciate the value of Learning Innovation, Customer Relationship Management, and the power of Instructional Design in ensuring the required Behavioral Change mandates per end stakeholders. The sheer magnitude of the domain and the impact it creates on the learning landscape is impetus enough to innovate and accelerate every day.
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I constantly contribute to Learning and Development at the organizational level (specific trainings on design trends, best practices, knowledge sharing, and so on.) In addition, I guide and ensure that designers follow design briefs, guidelines, and prototypes in various stages of product development.
I receive my work at the beginning of the week and so I begin my day reviewing the previous week’s progress and then move on to the tasks allotted to me for the next week. On other days, I just go about my tasks according to the priorities assigned to them.
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Always stay committed to work no matter what and aim for the stars.
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My day begins with organizing the activities for the day, checking emails for client responses, and allocating task to my team, depending on the ongoing projects on floor and the deliverables planned. Apart from this, on a regular day, I would receive client calls, conduct meetings, and communicate project requirements with my team and other domains that require my help. At the end of the day, I conduct status checks across all ongoing projects reviewed on the day and assess their progress. This helps me to ensure a high standard in the quality of work generated across all the products at EI Design.
Don’t Be the Smartest One in the Room
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As a Senior Business Development Manager at EI Design, my main role is business mining, building new opportunities for our business.
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During my close to 2 years tenure at EI Design, I have helped achieve the committed revenue for the business and retained various clients. With the constant support of my team, I continue to ensure that our clients’ journey through the entire project lifecycle is hassle-free.
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Work till you need no introduction.
I joined EI Design as a Quality Analyst and worked my way up to become an Associate Project Manager. I now help my team plan their daily tasks and provide the necessary guidance to meet project deadlines accordingly.
My role at EI Design involves the delivery of quality products to all our clients and address their concerns and queries through multiple stages of the project life cycle.
A majority of my work deals with managing various project requirements from numerous clients from across the globe. A regular day for me is getting involved in various meetings with team members, and attending client calls. I always ensure that I have a positive approach toward the projects that I handle. The environment around me is reciprocative and the support helps me overcome any obstacles within the project. Even so, it is important that I take crucial decisions at critical moments and ease the pressure off my team and maintain a smooth process flow. Apart from this, we normally take breaks to refresh ourselves and find ways to keep each other motivated.
Every time you come across a challenge you need to face it than avoid it. It will help you grow professionally as well as personally.
As the Project Lead at EI Design, my role involves supporting my team in delivering quality products and managing iterations. I am also responsible for coordinating multiple projects with clients across the globe. I am perpetually involved in supervising and guiding my team through the numerous tasks that come our way. It is my duty to ensure smooth functioning of daily processes and drive my team to deliver quality, while maintaining consistency.
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Even so, there are times when I too would not be able to resolve an issue. But the speed and enthusiasm with which my team responds to escalations is a quality that I admire.
We normally get into discussions to check the difficulties faced by each member and find solutions to avoid them in future.
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I never knew my journey at EI design would be so rewarding and fulfilling. I have never felt the curiosity and enthusiasm drop over the time I’ve spent at EI Design, mainly due to the amazing work culture that we support. My seniors at EI design have always provided me the support and guidance I needed to grow as a professional. Not only have I been surrounded by brilliant professionals – people that I can look up to and take inspiration from – but there have been so many opportunities for me to develop and progress.
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I start my day with early morning workouts to make sure that I am physically active and carry the same energy throughout the day. Most of my days begin with meetings to ensure that we are on track with ongoing projects. I detail the information provided in these meeting to concerned team members and keep project deliverables on track.
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“Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things is the best way to grow”.