In early January, the US-based eLearn magazine asked a number of ‘e-learning folk’ for their predictions for 2011 and then published them (see: http://www.elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=articles&article=148-1)
The would-be clairvoyants of e-learning included Elliott Masie, Charles Jennings, Roger Schank, Seb Schmoller and someone called Bob Little. Among the many predictions, the most frequent were:
- A rise of ‘learning apps’ rather than e-learning ‘courses’
- A increase in ‘performance support’ tools, rather than ‘e-learning materials’ per se, along with an increase in informal learning and CPD activities
- The increasing use of shared content – probably via cloud computing
- The continued merging of online and classroom based learning
- The increasing ‘gamification’ of learning
Other interesting – but individual – predictions were:
- There will be continued growing unhappiness with LMSs
- There will be increased us of video in learning materials
- E-learning technologies will continue to develop
- Learners will begin to design and develop their own learning materials
- There will be an upsurge in interest in teaching/learning theory
Comment: Predicting the rise of learning apps and an increase in online performance support tools is not only sensible, given the current trends in the e-learning industry, but is an indication that the industry itself is continuing its development.
That development is just the latest part in its transition from the computer based training of the ‘green screen days’ to being accepted as a ’normal’ part of everyday (working) life. After all, we don’t think it remarkable any more that we can find the answer to at least most of our questions by ‘Googling’ them. In the same way, we’re soon not going to think it remarkable that we can find out how to be more informed, effective and productive at work via some form of real time, personalised, available-on-demand, ‘online help’ – whether that’s delivered to our desktop, laptop or mobile device.
The challenge for e-learning developers is that, as this industry becomes less ‘remarkable’ and more mainstream, the learning materials that they develop will have to compete effectively with all other forms of education, information and edutainment. As technology advances and tastes become more ‘sophisticated’, that is quite a challenge indeed.