The Future of ELearning in 2014

predictLast year around this time I posted my predictions for elearning in 2013 an always interesting activity as the year comes to a close. It feels like this past year has gone by pretty quick, and now it is time to make some predictions based on industry trends for next year.

What does 2014 have in store for elearning?

MOOC Madness

As we entered 2013, many of the biggest stories in the elearning world had to do with the emergence of MOOCs. The experiment is proving to be a success so far as the larger MOOCs are growing in popularity every day. Investors are throwing more money at them in the hopes of eventually seeing a return on investment.

For the MOOC landscape, I think it is reasonable to predict that they will continue to grow, but they won’t implement any monetizing strategies just yet. I think this will come in two to four years.

Instead, for 2014, I can see the consolidation of platforms and the falling out of others. We already started seeing this to some extent when Google dropped their Course Builder project in favor of a partnership with edX.  I think that this coming year we will see who the true major players really are in this space, and we will watch as they gobble-up the smaller, less popular offerings.

While MOOCs will play a major part in the educational landscape in 2014, there are certainly going to be some other exciting changes.

Tin Can and the LRS

I also predict that 2014 will mark the first year that people start to really move away from the old SCORM protocol that is haunting elearning today. Tin Can (Experience) API was officially launched in April of this year, and major platforms like Articulate & Captivate have since adopted them into their software offerings.

Naturally, the byproduct of Tin Can taking off will be the growth of the learning record store industry.

Currently there are a handful of LRS options available (most integrated with the standard learning management systems), but they are still very much being refined based on user feedback given the novelty of Tin Can. As such, 2014 is poised for a flood of new entrants in this market, all looking for their own piece of the pie.

Gamification and Beyond

Badges, points, rewards… gamification!

Learners want to be rewarded for the content they take online, and popular gamification methods are a perfect way to make this happen. Expect to see an increased awareness in digital backpack programs like Mozilla Open Badges and Credly – both of which make it easy for a learner to take their “credit” with them.

The critical component to the growth of gamification is that Tin Can API is already being leveraged with the Open Badges concept, so as Tin Can continues to grow, so will the use (and expectation) of badges, points, and the like. Most importantly, these awards will not be held hostage by the platform that delivers them, but instead will be transportable using the digital backpack.

Granted these three predictions don’t touch on everything that is relevant in the elearning world, but they do cover some of the major trends. As always, it is exciting to see how far we progress as an industry every single year. It will be fun to see what has happened come next year when I do a similar post in December 2014.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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