The New Year is an opportune time to assess the markets and identify any key trends. Within the e-learning world, the past year has seen a number of trends – notably:

  • E-learning producers – even those who outsource their development activities to countries other than the UK – are finding their customers deserting them and producing their own e-learning materials in-house (using cheap and widely available authoring software).
  • This is forcing these e-learning developers away from being ‘traditional’ developers and into the roles of mentor/coach to the in-house e-learning production departments and/or becoming re-sellers for the authoring (and related) tools.
  • The definition of what is ‘e-learning’ is becoming blurred – to now include such things as electronic performance support systems (EPSS). These may offend the ‘e-learning purist’ since they do not obey the ‘rules’ of instructional design but they help real people to do real jobs in real time (further reducing the need to ‘go on training courses’ – even very short and relevant ones delivered via e-learning).
  • Both e-learning and EPSS are beginning to be delivered on a ‘just-in-time’, ‘just enough’ and ‘just-for-me’ basis to people whenever and wherever they want it – via a range of mobile devices. Moreover, learning – via coaching, for example – is taking place between people who are connected by mobile devices, thus moving mobile learning from the constraints of at least one of the participants having to be at a ‘central server’ type location.
  • The most sophisticated learning management and related systems can cope with delivering, monitoring and, in some ways, measuring the value to an organisation of a wide range of learning activities, from formal, classroom-based events to informal, mobile learning
  • ·         ‘Human Resources’ (HR) is becoming ‘Human Capital Management’ (HCM) – with the emphasis changing from ‘measuring what learning and development takes place in an organisation’ to ‘measuring those learning and development activities’ impacts on a business’ bottom line’ (this could be in terms of talent management, skills gap analysis and so on). Obviously, there is a knock-on effect on the e-learning world (especially for those who produce learning management and related systems) from this change in perspective.

Comment:  Remember, you read it here first. Happy New Year and a challenging but rewarding 2008 to you all!