5 E-learning trends you should know about

Whether it’s a large or small part of your professional development program, e-learning is with us to stay. Unlike in the early days of e-learning, when people were amazed and excited by any learning activity on a computer, today’s users are a lot more discerning when it comes to web-based learning. Below are 5 major trends that are becoming the standard for any modern e-learning program.
Cross-device compatibility
It used to be that e-learning meant people sitting in computer labs learning. Then we moved into the age of the laptop and people could take their learning with them. Now, in an age where many people see their mobile device as their main communication tool, it makes sense to offer it as a learning resource. Different sized screens throw up challenges when it comes to what type of resources to make available to mobile users but they are challenges that need to be overcome if an e-learning strategy is to effectively match the needs of the learners.
Bring your own device (BYOD)
While some companies allow staff to complete their e-learning CPD modules during work time, for your average employee this often just isn’t practical. Workload demands and interruptions from other staff can make learning while in the workplace difficult. Even if staff don’t use their devices on work premises, giving people the option to use their device to access e-learning materials and study at a time when they are going to retain the information better is an obvious choice. Whatever your BYOD policy in the office, making your e-learning accessible from anywhere has distinct advantages.
Integration and APIs
It’s useful to capture data about your learners. That data is meaningless if it’s locked into a system and doesn’t relate to any other data on staff performance. Using APIs and web services to relate data between systems makes reporting more efficient and eliminates the need for spending a lot of time creating reports from separate sources of data and compiling them into a spreadsheet to look at how they are related. Integrating the user experience with single sign-on between systems improves the front-end experience for the learner, too.
Native apps
Sometimes the best data to capture from the learners isn’t just text. GPS information saying that someone is at a certain event, images from the camera or audio recording may provide more information for assessment of progress or compliance and can also be useful as reference for the learner, too. In order to capture this information and provide the best experience for the user, a native app developed for a particular device is more effective than a web-based tool.
‘Gamification’ became a buzzword in e-learning a few years ago and has now become a vital part of any e-learning experience. Gamification isn’t just about making the learning experience into a typical computer game, it can refer to any form of using competition to encourage learning. Awarding badges for completing e-learning units is one of the simplest forms of gamification and has become so big that Mozilla have even created a standard ‘Open Badge’ system that can be used across the web.
So, which of these trends are already incorporated into your e-learning programs and which do you still have to explore?