Online learning in the time of COVID-19 has proven to be a major hurdle to businesses and educational institutions. These challenges and limitations, however, spurred the adoption of new technologies at breakneck speed in response to unique learning needs. Since the onset of the pandemic, elearning software trends continue to revolutionize the way organizations and schools deliver and ensure deep learning.
Businesses and organizations cannot afford to put capability building on hold. Educational institutions have to find a way to sustain interaction between students and instructors, and among students. As such, elearning was put front and center in searching for ways to sustain learning while at the same time avoiding information overload.
Here, we identify the 10 most significant elearning software trends in 2022 that are shaping the future of online learning. While it is true that learning management systems facilitated the rapid growth of this sector, other technology tools also evolved to address the unique requirements of learners.
The online learning industry has been boosted by lockdown measures. From a global market size of $13.38 billion in 2021, the growth projection for the LMS market is at $44.49 billion by the year 2028 (Globe Newswire, 2021). This forecast implies that the demand for elearning tools will continue to climb at an unprecedented pace.
In April 2020, edX saw a 15-fold increase in the number of new learners (CNBC, 2021). Concern on upskilling among workers is the main reason to which edX attributed the surge. The increased interest in elearning is also largely influenced by the prediction on job obsolescence, which prompted employees to skill up on cutting-edge topics like AI and machine learning.
The disruption in learning brought by COVID-19 has brought elearning tools to greater public attention and critical scrutiny. This resulted in the identification of learning engagement limitations in educational technology (EdTech) tools. In response, EdTech companies increased investment in research.
Worldwide, the forecast expenditure on advanced EdTech by 2025 is pegged at $12.6 billion on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality, followed by $6.1 billion on artificial intelligence (Oxford Business Group, 2019).
The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to design adaptive learning systems that will support business objectives. This urgent need fueled the robust growth of the elearning industry. As businesses and educational institutions continue to reap the benefits of these advancements, awareness of the following elearning software trends for 2022 will inform you on both short-term and long-term strategies.
Aside from its ability to provide workplace learning in the current workforce setup, virtual training plays a key role in enabling and delivering value-creating efforts. One significant elearning tool for virtual training is virtual reality (VR). More and more Fortune 500 companies are turning to VR to solve specific challenges brought about by the evolving workforce.
In the future of corporate learning, virtual and augmented reality will both play a key role. VR has the unique capacity to bring together the elements of elearning, microlearning, hands-on training, and personalization. VR is also a useful tool in delivering a robust learning and development program. VR use within businesses is forecast to reach $4.26 billion in 2023 (CNBC, 2021).
A projection in 2020 showed that the growth of the VR market will surpass $24.5 billion in revenue by 2024 (ABI Research, 2020). VR has significantly evolved and has made its way into the corporate world. VR transforms passive training into an immersive experience. Other forms of virtual training cannot provide what VR is able to do—engaging the senses while at the same time learning the crucial aspects of the job.
Investment in employee training benefits not just the organization but also the employee. Providing opportunities through upskilling with the use of virtual training will not just increase productivity but also the organization’s bottom line. Organizations may use virtual classrooms, webcasts, video, and audio conferencing, virtual co-working, file sharing, and content co-creation.
Another elearning trend is the proliferation of microlearning environments. Built on the foundations of cognitive science, microlearning improves focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80% (eLearning Industry, 2021). Millennial learners, in particular, demand that training be customized to their needs.
Microlearning uses spaced repetition, a proven retention-boosting method of breaking down learning topics into more manageable pieces. Learning is reinforced by repeating content with adequate spacing between lessons. As work processes flow, microlearning delivers on-demand information.
The on-demand design of microlearning improves employee engagement and motivation, knowledge retention, and recall. Among L&D professionals, 94% prefer microlearning compared to other elearning tools (eLearning Industry, 2021). In addition, one key feature of microlearning is that it helps to address diverse learning styles.
With microlearning, learners retain information better as it is delivered in short bursts and bite-sized chunks. The repetitive learning structure of microlearning increases long-term comprehension rates. This learning technique accesses the learner’s working memory bank, which makes microlearning worth considering for any employer seeking to teach candidates hard skills.
Does Udemy, Coursera, or Futurelearn sound familiar? Chances are, you have come across any of these off-the-shelf learning courses while you are browsing social media sites. At the onset of the pandemic, the demand for online learning and alternative credentials surged. This phenomenon is now known as the “Netflix moment” for higher education.
Off-the-shelf courses have a repository of learning modules on a variety of subjects. These courses are pre-designed and available for purchase to the masses. In 2021, Google offered six-month courses that were eventually equated to full degrees, at least for the company’s own hiring purposes. Udemy, another off-the-shelf course provider, reported in April 2020 a 425% surge in enrollment amid the lockdown (Udemy, 2020).
Coursera, dubbed as the “Amazon of online education,” is one of the pioneers in this industry. Aside from offering lower-cost degrees, Coursera is a training platform for organizations. It offers thousands of courses, over 40 certificates, and more than 20 fixed degrees.
Based on Coursera’s estimates, the total addressable market for education is a staggering $2 trillion, with 1.3 billion people projected to reach working age within the next 10 years (Coursera, 2021). Instant access to short and focused courses makes upskilling easy with off-the-shelf courses. This is the reason why this trend has shifted the elearning sphere and will continue to reshape learning delivery in the years to come.
Learning is the key to a thriving business. Globally, Training Industry reported that companies spend over $300 billion on work-based learning. One elearning trend that ensures a good return on investment is the planned learning journey.
A planned learning journey is a strategic employee development approach anchored on business strategy. It incorporates multiple formal and informal development components that take place over time. Most organizations design a learning journey for employees in leadership positions. The main objective is to optimize training investment and maximize learning stickiness to transform behavior.
Research reveals that only 9% of HR professionals agree that classroom-based courses are effective in employee development (HR.com and Development Dimensions International, 2020). The remaining 91% find that utilizing a journey-based approach, with continuous learning and a mix of methods can be very effective.
A well-designed learning journey provides clear alignment between employee development and the organization’s business strategies. The cohort of leaders learning together births new perspectives and insights, while sustained learning builds a culture of continuous improvement.
Courses in chunks, such as those offered by microlearning, virtual classrooms, short webcasts, virtual coworking, and content co-creation are just s few of the elearning tools used in planned learning journeys. Off-the-shelf courses also serve as platforms for workplace learning.
Using AI, organizations are able to design personal learning experiences and deliver relevant content through intuitive algorithms. By driving incremental and disruptive innovation, planned learning journeys help future-proof businesses and improve employee engagement.
Reading through irrelevant information can be time-consuming. Learners often find it difficult to learn when there is too much content. In the field of elearning, organizations use smart content curation in their L&D strategy by providing choices for learners.
Smart content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting, and sharing the best and most relevant online information. This is done to match the needs of a specific audience. There is always a need for content curation in elearning because online training needs to be focused and targeted.
Through filtering relevant information on a particular subject, smart content curation presents organized and timely content. This makes elearning more effective and also enhances social learning when a piece of useful information is quickly shared. Smart content creation through the use of analytics spawns rich content that provides useful information to learners.
Aside from smart content curation, another elearning trend related to content curation is the microlearning-based content curation tool. This uses artificial intelligence for learning experience platforms. The AI-powered algorithm of the microlearning-based content curation tool notes the learner’s behavior and preferences. A well-curated content covers all relevant data points, and, therefore. helps improve comprehension.
One of the most equated terms with the COVID-19 pandemic is hybrid learning. This elearning trend is often associated with K-12 education. At its most basic, hybrid learning is a type of elearning that uses online components for teaching and learning. The intention is to replace classroom time with a combination of different delivery methods.
The term is “hybrid” because it combines virtual and in-person classes, where teachers are in the classroom teaching both in-person and online. To ensure student success, hybrid learning is part of the multiple solutions employed by schools in this ongoing pandemic.
The digitization of learning is one of the most significant contributions of technology. Over 80% of students choose a hybrid learning environment over the traditional one (Boston.com, 2020). With hybrid learning, face-to-face learning can be combined with online resources, which addresses the different preferences of learners.
The combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats in hybrid learning provides students with a greater sense of community. At the same time, engagement is promoted with the elearning content with which the student simultaneously interacts.
With hybrid learning, elearning tools are used, including microlearning, smart content creation, video-based learning, game-based learning, interactive content, social learning, and adaptive learning. Hybrid learning employs learning management systems that provide a platform for interaction and learning continuity. Learning authoring tools are also used to equip and empower the learner.
The rise of no-code tools changed the technology landscape. This elearning trend democratized power for designers, with 84% of enterprises turning toward no-code tools for its ability to reduce strain on IT resources (Globe Newswire, 2019).
With no-code tools, it is no longer necessary for a designer to work together with a developer on every project. This elearning trend empowered marketing teams and enabled designers to navigate a space that used to be open only to developers.
No-code tools removed the obstacle, at least for tech-averse users, of having to learn programming languages. Prior to no-code technology, progress was slow for developers tasked with supporting marketing activities. New projects required them to prioritize feature developments alongside bug fixes and tweaks. The emergence of no-code tools allowed developers to save time and money spent on marketing pages and full-stack apps.
Within the last decade, the volume of no-code technology has increased to fulfill the needs of developers, and at the same time speed up work for other business units. This trend has in fact led to the no-pro content creation tools, designed to automate workflows, simplify content creation, and lower the barriers to creative production. This elearning trend has the potential to deliver significant cost savings by cutting down the time that it takes to put technical infrastructure in place.
The haste with which courses were transitioned online placed students with disabilities at a particular disadvantage. Similarly, as companies shifted to remote work, employees with physical limitations required assistive technologies to continue with the new work setup.
The demand for accessible learning programs is a significant elearning trend. There is an urgent need for platforms and content formats optimized to meet the needs of students that rely on assistive technologies.
While various technologies propelled adaptation to elearning, these tools also amplified significant barriers for those with learning limitations. This poses a problem because engagement is crucial. If online learning materials are not accessible to all types of learners, engagement will be compromised. Accessible learning programs will ensure full and equal access to learning experiences in the virtual classroom.
Given this current need, institutions will continue to find the right technology that will address accessibility issues. This can be done by designing courses with universal access and functionality, with all types of students in mind. Designing educational systems that support inclusive learning will be at the forefront of elearning.
Customized learning experience is at the core of adaptive learning. At one point in our lives, perhaps we have experienced walking into training only to find that we already know what is being discussed. On the other hand, there are also training sessions we attended where we remained clueless about the context the entire time. Adaptive learning is designed to address both.
Considered as the future of education, adaptive learning is fast becoming a standard in elearning. Compared to the traditional broad-based approach, this data-driven instructional design trend is able to deliver positive learning outcomes.
Using AI and computer algorithms, the interaction with the learner is orchestrated to deliver tailored resources and learning activities that address unique needs. Through just-in-time feedback, scaffolding, and differentiated instruction, the delivered content is at the exact level that the student can effectively process.
The aim of adaptive learning is to be efficient and effective. Adaptive learning becoming a standard in the field of elearning will benefit learners. In an age where almost everything is customized based on individual preferences, adaptive learning will become the standard in educational content delivery. In elearning, adaptive learning will employ tools that can enhance, augment, and support specific learning outcomes.
Learning is social. In the social learning process, both the environmental and cognitive factors interact, which eventually influence learning and behavior. Social learning is an important elearning trend to watch for because the digital realm engages audiences. Within the course of each engagement, learning occurs.
When learners are placed in an environment with other learners, they are able to observe the behavior of others and model the behavior if it is aligned with the outcomes that learners value. This takes place within gamification leaderboards, direct message functions, forum discussions, and comment boxes. Consequently, this integrated environment paves the way for the formation of shared values.
In the context of education as well as in the context of organizations, social learning plays a significant role in achieving objectives. For instance, social learning is responsible for at least 75% of the knowledge that employees gain in the workplace and 86% of employees say that collaborating with others helps them to learn the skills they need for the job.
While social learning has been around for a long time, social learning in the context of elearning ensures that every content is in line with specific desired outcomes. This makes social learning a very promising tool in building organizational culture and positive learning environments.
It has been said that crises bring out the best in people. In the context of elearning, the pandemic paved the way for the creation of technologies that continually refine and redefine the way we learn. The digitization of learning not only brought convenience but also offered ways for organizations and institutions to harvest crucial insights that inform learning strategy.
Elearning is the future of education. The elearning software trends and predictions for 2022 paint a bright future for all learners. With these trends highlighting equal access and customization to answer the need of every learner, we are assured that the top elearning tools will continue to equip and empower communities and societies.
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