January 23, 2020

Top 6 eLearning Trends for 2020

According to Global Market Insights, the eLearning market size is expected to reach $300 billion by 2025.

That’s a huge scope right there for you to deliver knowledge and training in the most effective fashion.

With each passing day, eLearning stands to gain even more popularity as it spreads its branches into every other industry. If you’re familiar with the eLearning industry, you must’ve observed the rapid pace at which eLearning has evolved, especially in the last 5 years.

Mobile learning, Microlearning, Gamification and so much more. Phew!

Quite likely some new trend in eLearning is setting in while you’re reading this 🙂

All kidding aside though, let’s take a look at the latest trends in eLearning that are likely to shape the industry this year.

Top 6 eLearning trends for 2020

1. Personalized learning takes off, with Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)

Personalized learning with Learning Experience Platforms
Image courtesy: stccg

The Learning Experience Platform (LXP) market is over $300 million at present and is expected to grow by over 50% every year! At this rate of growth, I bet you’d need to replace your existing LMSs soon.

Well, LXPs are definitely the way forward.

A Learning Experience Platform is essentially a software system that acts as a content provider and allows your learners to easily discover and consume interesting content anytime-anywhere.

Imagine your learners going through a library of irrelevant information before they find the actual content. 

Frustrating, right?

That’s where the LXPs come in, to provide a more personalized learning experience to your learners by giving them exact content and making intelligent recommendations.

How is LXP transforming eLearning?

  • Brings all content under one head – It has the capability to pull all the learning resources from the web under one single portal, allowing your learners to access all the content they like in one place.
  • Leverages user-generated content – Your learners can even add their own content and share it with their peers or friends, which will further encourage learner participation.
  • Uses multiple content formats to increase engagement – The system supports many forms of content – blogs, videos, podcasts, microlearning, and more, giving you a range of choices to select from for your learners.
  • Has advanced methods of content presentation – Curates and delivers content in a YouTube or Netflix like format with AI-driven recommendations, panels, and mobile interfaces.
  • Leaves learning tracks – It leaves learning tracks so that your learners can reach a logical learning outcome.

While there are many ways in which LXP is transforming eLearning, however, its main motive is to help you create an independent learning experience for your learners. A few organizations like LinkedIn are already using LXP to deliver the best learning experience to achieve an increased ROI.

The ever-growing LXP market is too big to ignore and hence, many LMS vendors like Docebo and CrossKnowledge have begun integrating LXP features into its systems.

LMSs will not go out of fashion anytime soon but, the future definitely belongs to the Learning Experience Platforms.

2. Thrilling real-life learning experiences with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality technologies.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality technologies
Image courtesy: iflexion

Life teaches real lessons, they say. Well, augmented reality is here to give learning experiences your students might never get to have in real life!

The inclusion of immersive technology in eLearning is all set to transform and create a memorable learning environment for the learners.

With the increasingly short attention spans, learners require their learning environment to be more immersive to register information quickly without distractions. Technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) help you in providing a real-life like learning experience to your learners. 

Many industries like healthcare, military, real estate and more have already started adopting these technologies. In some of the popular CMSs like WordPress, integrating these technologies is still in its juvenile phase but, major developments are bound to spring up later this year.

How is Immersive Learning transforming eLearning?

  • Augmented Reality – AR’s ability to enhance learning materials with the learner’s real-life environment using images and graphics amplifies learning experience by multiple times. 

    For e.g: As a medical instructor, you can implement AR to teach your interns about operating on a heart patient by taking an operation theatre and overlaying it with graphics of a body and medical equipment. This will test your interns’ knowledge of operating without actually killing off someone!

    Remember IKEA’s Augmented Reality app that allows you to test your furniture to fit your home interiors via an app?

    Well, you can do something similar with your WooCommerce store.

    You can integrate an Augmented Reality theme, Ozisti and make sure that your WooCommerce store is more than just a normal store. 

    The theme lets your customers interact with the products using AR and works with any online shop – furniture, electronics, gadgets, etc., giving your users an immersive experience.
  • Virtual Reality – As an education instructor, you can use VR to help students experience and learn about the oceans, museums, different countries and cultures and much more without actually having the students dive into an ocean or travel to different countries. 

    VR provides for an experiential learning environment converting the theoretical learning into a rich immersive experience. It boosts your students’ will to learn by allowing them to understand complex or dangerous concepts in an easy and thrilling manner.
  • Mixed Reality – A fusion of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality allows your learners to interact with virtual objects in the real world. 

    For e.g: Ford is using Microsoft’s Hololens Mixed Reality headsets and custom software to overlap new design features in their existing cars and clay models to visualize how each change will look.
    This eliminates the need for engineers to create a new prototype every time they want to try or make a new change in the design, saving them a ton of money.

While you can use these Immersive eLearning tools in your respective fields to train your employees/students, companies like UPS and Walmart are already using it to train their employees. The result? Retention rates and productivity have increased exponentially.

Admittedly, the costs associated with these technologies are preventing many organizations from successfully incorporating reality technologies into their learning strategies.

The future looks bright though as companies like Facebook, Google, Sony, and many others are investing heavily in AR/VR and soon it won’t be long before every one of us is able to own a budget-friendly VR device. 

In fact, a study by Goldman Sachs projects that the AR/VR market is expected to grow to $95 billion by 2025, but the prices of these devices will be decidedly lower in the future.

3. Smart learner data to create a personalized learning process

Smart learner data to create a personalized learning process
Image courtesy: ReciprocityLabs

“I predict we will no longer measure learning by completions, but by engagement and sentiment scores.”
Lori Niles Hofmann, renowned data-driven learning strategist

If you think about it, the statement makes perfect sense as data is the next big thing, literally. Imagine identifying the exact pain points in your learners’ learning path! Think about how you could use data effectively to improve your learners’ productivity!

Your employee learning habits and learning behavior are some of the most important factors in determining the mode of training you provide them. This is where Big Data Analytics comes in.

The Big Data analytical tools recognize the data your system has collected about your learners within nanoseconds (Woow!) to allow you to utilize the same in an effective manner.

For e.g: Through your entire training module, the data collected could consist of the learners’ test results, course completion rate, no. of re-tests taken, their progress, etc. Based on this data the course could be programmed for each individual learner, taking their speed, capability, and grasping power into consideration. 

Companies like IBM are investing in these tools so that you can provide personalized learning to every learner.

How is Big Data Analytics transforming eLearning?

  • Makes personalized learning a reality – The super-quick collection and analysis of the data regarding your learners will help you in designing training modules as per the unique needs of your learners and provide personalized learning to each employee/student.
  • Modifies the learning process in real-time – Its ability to track learners’ mistakes, their difficulties, time spent on a particular topic and their progress in real-time enables you to devise your own learning process into their training module accordingly.
  • Gives you the hard truth about ROI – It also provides you with insights into the kind of ROI your eLearning training modules are reaping.

Companies like Southwest Airlines successfully deployed Big Data analytical tool – ‘speech analytics’ that extracts meaningful information from the live interaction between the customer and the staff to train their customer support employees.

Many organizations like Ford and Amazon are successfully leveraging Big Data to train their employees and thereby, increasing productivity and ROI.

Frost and Sullivan, placed the Big Analytics market at $40.6 billion by 2023; a pretty clear indication that this trend is heading towards a big-big future!

4. Artificial Intelligence to give eLearning a personal touch

Artificial Intelligence and eLearning
Image courtesy: jetpubs

Poor students! Don’t make them scrounge the internet for small doubts, let them ask!

What if I’m not available, you ask?

Well, how about letting a virtual tutor who performs human-like tasks do the job in your absence?

Artificial Intelligence(AI) – probably the most talked-about eLearning development in the corporate and the education domain – has some mind-boggling abilities to provide personalized learning using advanced algorithms.

Recently, you must’ve noticed companies using live chatbots to answer your queries online, which goes to show how this trend is quickly spreading its roots.

Modern Hire (formerly Montage), a hiring solutions company found that 100 of the Fortune 500 companies are using AI interviewing tools. These businesses now schedule automated interviews and carry out text-interviewing processes, providing a personalized learning experience while removing human element and biases.

How is Artificial Intelligence transforming eLearning?

  • Works as an effective teaching assistant – AI’s capabilities of becoming your teaching assistant can help you with planning courses, checking assignments, supporting students with learning materials and much more thereby, reducing your workload.
  • Creates custom training paths – Its ability to collect and analyze data quickly through algorithms help you in identifying learner behavior and coming up with customized training paths for your learners.
  • AI mentors 24/7 – It can act as a mentor to your learners providing them with information on anything and is available 24/7 on any device you use.
  • Artificial teachers for home-schooling – An existing robotic teacher like Temi can be used to teach your learners at home if you are using a cloud-based LMS. Your learners can actually talk to it and get their queries and doubts solved without really typing on their device.
  • Improved student engagement – Implementing AI in your platform will increase engagement and provide you with relevant information to make training more impactful.

Many organizations like Unilever and Hilton have already invested in AI and are using it successfully to recruit and train employees.

Even in WordPress where the inclusion has been slow, there are plugins like WordLift which use AI to process human language and make content search better.

Having said that, this eLearning trend will continue to grow stronger this year as well and is projected to grow to a $190 billion industry by 2025.

5. Feeding small chunks of information, going the micro-learning way

micro-learning - bite sized learning
Image courtesy: TalentLMS

Over 176 countries are already delivering knowledge in bite-sized content to train their employees across various sectors like retail, IT, healthcare and many more.

Like I mentioned earlier, with the dwindling attention spans it is nearly impossible to train and pass on the knowledge to learners using the usual text-heavy learning materials. 

This is where microlearning comes in.

Microlearning is essentially learning things in small chunks. Microlearning has been around since 2017 and is being used by many organizations like Bloomingdale, Walmart, etc. to deliver and teach content to their employees in small learning nuggets or bite-sized videos (2-7 min).

How is Microlearning transforming eLearning?

  • Increases Information accessibility – With microlearning, you can deliver information to your learners so that they can access it whenever and wherever they want to. Breaking down huge training courses into small pieces and delivering them in a quick digestible format encourages your learners to apply it immediately to the work.
  • Increases retention rates – Small bite-sized information makes consumption of knowledge easier for your learners and also helps in increasing retention rates.
  • Better learning design – You can design these small learning nuggets as per the goals in your employee/student’s learning path so that they’re motivated to quickly go through it even on a busy day.
  • Takes into account time and attention span -To beat two of the biggest challenges facing your learners – time and short attention span, it only makes sense to be flexible in delivering microlearning training to your learners through various devices like mobile, desktop, videos and more.

At Home, a home decor firm adopted this eLearning trend to train their employees on safety incidents and onboarding new recruits. The approach resulted in positive outcomes with a 36% reduction in safety incidents and a 90% reduction in onboarding time.

That’s right. Take a moment and say whaaat?!

Besides, microlearning also makes for one of the cheapest and efficient eLearning trends you can use for training/educating learners and increasing engagement.

A learning architect Ray Jimenez, in his book – 3 minute eLearning said that microlearning can reduce development costs by 50% and increase the speed of development by 300%

Clearly, with the kind of benefits it produces, this trend is bound to accelerate and many companies will be seen adopting this method to train their employees.

6.Game-based learning environments to hook users

Gamification- Game-based learning environments
Image courtesy: feedier

Remember when Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn”

Well, he was daaaamn right and that’s exactly what game-based learning is all about.

Gamification or game-based learning is not a new concept and you’re probably familiar with it. 

The reason I mention it here is because of its continuous upward trajectory. According to TalentLMS, 83% of those who receive gamified training feel motivated and productive. Be sure, this eLearning trend is here to stay. 

Gamification clubs learning and entertainment to create a fun learning environment. You can see most of the industries using gaming elements like sound effects, points, badges, etc. to train/educate their learners.

Even in domains like WordPress, where other eLearning technologies will take some time to find its way inside but, gamification, however, is a function facilitated by many LMS plugins for you to effectively use and train or educate your learners. 

How is Gamification transforming eLearning?

  • Gaming rewards boost learner satisfaction – Different gaming elements like points, badges, scoreboards, etc. can be used to reward your learners on completing a course or a lesson to motivate them to take up further courses.
  • Branching scenarios give opportunity for customization – Implementing storylines and branching scenarios to explain a concept helps in increasing engagement with your learners ultimately leading to increased productivity.
  • Corporate culture meets emotion – When you use gamification techniques in a corporate set up to train your employees, it helps to nurture an emotional and extensive learning experience.
  • Develops internal, long-term motivation – Executing gamification properly in your eLearning strategy can help in developing intrinsic motivation in your employees thereby, increasing retention rates.

With its increasing popularity, you can also check out a few examples of organizations that have successfully implemented gamification to train/educate their employees and engage with them on a more personal level.

As gamification touches new heights of developments, implementing game-based techniques in a company’s eLearning strategy increases employee engagement by 60% which means this effective eLearning trend is not slowing down anytime soon and certainly not this year.

And so,

The 2020 eLearning Crystal Ball says…

  • LMSs will become performance ecosystems instead of just courses and tests helping employees get support through content and technology in the workplace to steer performance.
  • The biggest change in 2020 will see eLearning training get deeply involved in the everyday workflow process of the organization to enhance their employees’ performance.
  • Learning will become more personalized and transformative through immersive learning using AR, VR, and MR.

The Road Ahead

With the kind of eLearning trends that are emerging and the ones that have stood the test of time goes to show that the eLearning industry will grow stronger this year.

This year will see a massive change as organizations will strive to integrate eLearning training into their workflow process and as technological development strengthens, it’s important you revamp your eLearning strategies accordingly with the latest trends to reap the early benefits.

While these latest online learning trends are crawling into most of the industries, the pace has been relatively slower in the WordPress domain but this year will witness a steady growth.

One thing that’s definite – with the rapid technological advancements, the eLearning industry is poised on the brink of a learning revolution, as newer and better ways for learner interaction come into the picture.

What do you say? Feel free to agree or disagree with my ideas and share your predictions for the industry in the comments, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

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Love Shah
Love Shah

I can't function without tea, books, and movies. When not working, you'll find me weaving stories.


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