February 28, 2017

5 Technology-Enabled Learning Trends in 2017

5 technology-enabled learning trends that will help shape learning across industries in the coming years. Companies that want to succeed will have to keep themselves abreast with these changes and will have to ensure that their employees’ skills are up-to-date and aligned with new realities.

The learning landscape looks completely different today than it did five years ago. The way that learners are learning is changing dramatically: We see individuals learning in airline queues making the most of their spare time, in cafes watching a new video tutorial before they get into a meeting; in subways and buses playing a game or learning a new process with focus and intent that has not been witnessed in digital learning earlier.

Such sights represent an ever-growing tribe of learners that consume content in a way that is typical to their smartphone usage patterns. They expect content to be short and personalized and are more committed to their learning goals.

These trends indicate the need for change for both content and technology in the learning space. The need now exists for learning solution providers to visualize what has not been seen before and formulate solutions that blend modern learning with traditional and personalized learning experiences and bring these at par with contemporary mobile applications and just-in-time learning methods. We believe that big changes are inevitable and that corporations must act now to win in the long term.

Based on our research and experience of working with Fortune 100 companies in Pharma, Healthcare, Retail, Banking, and Manufacturing, we predict the 5 technology-enabled learning trends that will have a significant impact on the workplace learning ecosystem:

  1. The Growing Need For MicrolearningLearners expect content that is consistent with the new format of digital learning, as they begin to receive content that is short, relevant, contextualized, personalized on their mobile devices. Most learning leaders identify with this trend, and yet, we have not seen a lot of instances of microlearning. That is because microlearning solutions require design and technology, which most existing platforms, authoring tools, and processes do not fully support. Most organizations today are dealing with challenges in technology infrastructure and established design best practices that prevent them from adopting microlearning quickly.

    To cater to this challenge, in 2016, we launched a creative and innovative digital learning solutions, VeCogniti, a Unified MicroLearning Enterprise-wide framework that onboarded learning teams through microlearning which were designed keeping in mind the clients’ existing technological infrastructure within a rapid deployment timeframe using a full capability roadmap with limited costs.
  2. The Explosion Of Growth In Mobile LearningThe biggest technological change that we are now witnessing is the use of smartphones and mobile devices for consumption of learning. We clearly see this impacting the practice of delivering interactive and engaging content.

    We found a number of companies using Flash in delivering content which today does not render well on handheld devices. The need to convert several if not all content built using Flash technology in a more modern and versatile HTML5 technology has thus become crucial for engagement and effectiveness.

    Our custom HTML5 framework and a conversion engine enabling learning teams to convert all legacy content into HTML5. Such solutions, when combined with the powerful VeCogniti framework ensures a smooth transition from the old to the new.
  3. The Rise Of Real World LearningApart from making learning engaging and fun, there exists a need to pull out digital learning from inside the closet (read Learning Management System) and bring them closer to the real-world so that it can be accessed with ease.

    Augmented Reality (AR), as it has the ability to close infrastructure gaps, will have an increasing impact on how organizations can achieve that.Companies are now using Augmented Reality technology to increase sales effectiveness, educate customers, and establish brand recall. We can expect different AR cases and requirements over several other areas in the coming year.

    Based on this, we have launched ARdize, an Augmented Reality framework that enables learning and communication by forging a closer connection between the virtual and the real world through a range of tools and apps.
  4. The Success Of GamificationGamification has proved to be an excellent strategy for employee engagement, with a vast majority of learning teams using gamification as a component of their digital learning strategy. Learners have spent significant time with learning materials that have used gamification techniques, thereby indicating that core principles of gaming have a big role to play in the world of learning.

    With these being early days, we expect the use of gamification in learning solutions to grow in the coming year.We have adopted gamification as a significant strategy to design learning. In 2016, almost 40% of all learning solutions were either based on gamification or had gamification components across all types of digital training.
  5. Increasing Collaboration With Social LearningCollaboration is becoming a mainstream tool to engage employees, enable for smarter decision-making and enhanced business outcomes. Collaborative networks are shortening the time-to-business and cutting costs to drive employee engagement and transparency.

    Social learning again has a clear role to play as learning teams build and deploy the modern learning technology in the organization.

Last year, we implemented Social Learning in two distinct ways:

Our most widely implemented solution has been the use of workflow automation and other collaboration to streamline employee onboarding and increase collaboration within a team during the onboarding process.

Social learning now is also significant to our microlearning framework, VeCogniti, which enables learners to build a personalized learning path based on ratings and feedback. Social learning solutions have also been extended into productivity tools that enhance internal controls, ensure compliance and deliver greater customer satisfaction.

While the world ahead looks full of new opportunities, it can also appear deeply unsettling. There are changes every day in the way we are learning, communicating, and collaborating.

Successful companies have always readjusted to new realities by not just keeping themselves abreast of these changes, but have found ways to ensure that their employees’ skills are up-to-date and aligned to the new realities.

A version of this article first appeared in the eLearning Industry website on 15 February 2017.