Even though the transition from a traditional to e-learning model began two decades ago, the most significant increase in the adoption of technological solutions by the educational sector is happening right now. With e-learning, the demand of modern people for flexibility, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and the modernity of educational services can be completely satisfied. 

Nevertheless, just having an LMS system in place does not mean reaping all the previously mentioned benefits. To succeed and be capable of creating competitive service offerings, businesses have to understand the existing trends in e-learning.

In this post, we are going to overview the top e-learning trends as well as take a look into the nearest future to see which technologies are going to flourish in the coming year. 

Top eLearning Trends Today

In 2020, due to the pandemic situation, the demand for technological solutions that would provide all the conveniences of distant learning, has reached dramatic heights. To ensure users' satisfaction with how the process of learning goes and contribute to its efficiency, businesses have started to implement a variety of modern approaches and technologies. Below, we name the top 5 shifts that have proved to be the most beneficial to the educational sector in 2020 and go on being on the rise.

Mobile learning replaces mobile readiness

mobile learning

If previously businesses were focused on making their desktop and web e-learning solutions mobile-ready, today, the ability to learn anywhere and anytime is in the first place. For example, when it comes to organizations that apply the remote working model to keep their employees healthy and safe, the quality of mobile experience provided by the e-learning software is crucial. Furthermore, the overall increase in mobile experience as the preferred option for accessing online information dictates the necessity for businesses to meet the expectations of their users and provide them with solutions they really want and need.

With an m-learning solution in place, companies can ensure their ability to meet a wide spectrum of training needs, from format learning sessions to the application of self-direct, social, and collaborative learning techniques. Appreciated by users and offering confidence to businesses, mobile-oriented e-learning solutions will continue to be dominant in 2021 as well. 

Gamification for better motivation 

The dropout of students has always been one of the most challenging issues in education. To increase the motivation of students, a psychologically-driven approach known as gamification was applied: first to the traditional educational model, and then to the online one.

In e-learning, gamification is achieved through the implementation of game design elements that capture user attention and increase satisfaction with the process of learning. In this way, it becomes possible to create lessons and learning programs that eliminate the routine factor or at least make it a secondary consideration for students. 

Gamification elements in e-learning allow companies and educational institutions to contribute to higher levels of student motivation, minimize dropouts, and increase productiveness by the provision of entertaining elements. Furthermore, it allows service providers to stand out from their competitors with more satisfying and capturing offerings and contribute to higher retention rates. So there is no wonder why today, in the time of digital education, gamification is seen as one of the most demanded ways to ensure the success of both educators and their audience. And for sure, the trend will go beyond 2020, continuing to gain momentum in 2021 and the following years as well.  

Social learning for minimized support and better results

studying online

We all know that it's better to learn from other's mistakes, and the same can be applied to other's success. By observing how different people deal with various challenges and by interacting with these people, it becomes easier for us to find the most suitable strategies for addressing certain tasks in the most efficient manner. For this reason, social learning tools (such as for content and feedback sharing, and opening up space for communities of practices) are now actively utilized in modern e-learning programs, contributing to effective engagement and collaboration among students.

By emphasizing the social factor in learning, education providers can unleash the power of knowledge exchange that facilitates both formal and informal modes of learning, promotes active learning, and allows users to direct their own learning pathways as well, in this way minimizing the need in constant guidance, assistance, and support. And because each hour dedicated to the guidance of students costs education providers money, social learning ensures increased savings.

Microlearning for professional development

According to Deloitte research on the modern learner, an employee has just about 24 minutes a week for professional development, so in-depth content makes no sense. And here is where microlearning, one of the leading corporate e-learning trends, comes into play, allowing one to achieve the goal with minimum efforts and at minimum time, simply by dividing huge pieces of content into small, meaningful parts. Generally, microlearning lessons take from 2 to 7 minutes, which means that an average employee can find time for professional development each day. Furthermore, it's easier to focus on short lessons, so the process of learning becomes more comprehensible. 

Video-based learning for improved graphical learning process

video learning

With YouTube being the second most popular platform in 2020, the trend for video content is not surprising. Nevertheless, many content providers still doubt its effectiveness. So why is video content worthy of being implemented into learning processes?

First of all, it allows reducing the gap between the theory and the practical application by allowing a viewer to witness the functional form of the introduced content right at the moment it is delivered. As a result, a user spends less time on a lesson and takes advantage of a more comprehensive approach to the processes of learning and understanding of the material.  Furthermore, the entertaining factor of learning programs that feature quality video materials allows attracting more users and turning their learning pathways into a satisfying experience.  

eLearning Trends and Predictions for 2021 and Beyond

So what is the nearest future of e-learning? First of all, it is worthy of saying that all of the trends we mentioned have smoothly passed into the year 2021, increasing in demand and gaining larger audiences. In addition, 2021 is going to be a year of mobile technologies, AR/VR, and AI, so here are some of the hottest trends in e-learning to expect from 2021.

LXP solutions and mobile technologies

Learning experience platforms, also known as LXP or LEP, are designed to meet the need of companies in staff training. In 2021, these systems are predicted to rock, because they capture the essence of two more trends: mobile e-learning experience and microlearning. 

Featuring a range of integrated technologies, LXPs can deal with such tasks as content aggregation, creation of learning and career pathways, tracking of learning activities and students' progress, etc. In this way, they deliver a learning-rich experience and provide a high level of engagement to students, becoming a must-have solution for 2021. 

Experiential learning and AR/VR experiences

AR/VR in eLearning

To address the issue of students being distracted from learning activities, the concept of experiential learning was introduced. When applied to modern e-learning practices, it generally implies the adoption of immersive technologies such as AR/VR/MR that allow users to learn from hands-on experience in a close to reality environment. Placed in real-world situations generated by a machine, a student can acquire and master skills, as well as learn to make the right decisions in the safety of the controlled environment. In this way, such solutions allow a student to easily cross the distance between the processes of learning and the application of knowledge. 

Featuring intriguing images and graphics along with real interactions, AR/VR in education allows delivering practical instructional strategies that cut distractions.

Experiential learning with immersive technologies also contributes to efficient distance learning, providing a great opportunity for companies where remote work has turned into a new norm with confidence in the professional growth of their employees.

AI and ML for tutoring

2021 is expected to see a rise in AI tutors and platforms that would match tutors with students with the help of ML algorithms. 

When it comes to chatbots, their learning benefits have already proved to be far-reaching. Their use extends from the provision of relevant, introductory information to new students and answering the most common questions to the assistance and guidance in the educational process by suggesting academic articles and further reading to students that pertain to their coursework. 

As for ML, it is predicted to increase the depth of studying by finding the perfect tutor match for each student, asking a series of questions and then determining correlations with information given by tutors. Thanks to such a tasty advantage of ML in education — the ability to make learning more personalized — systems featuring this technology will contribute to the overall academic success. 

The Bottom Line

Even though trends in e-learning tend to come and go, those highlighted in this article are not going to fade in the coming years. And because the future of e-learning is all about growth, expansion, and the adoption of new innovative technologies, forward-thinking companies and organizations need to reevaluate their current training programs and systems, keeping in mind the existing and upcoming technological trends.

Whether it is mobile or web solutions featuring augmented reality experiences, artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms, Emerline teams are here to provide you with a free consultation on a desired solution, assist you with its enhancement or development from scratch, as well as its seamless implementation to your business and future support. Valuing the positive impact of technological solutions to education and taking full advantage of them in our own training programs, we know exactly how to build top-notch e-learning solutions that are easily accessible, secure, customized, interactive, and capable of engagingly delivering knowledge.