January 24th, 2019 E-Learning

It’s that time again. Let’s have a look at what we can expect in the coming year for e-learning!

I must admit that each year this article gets increasingly more difficult to write.

For starters, it is hard not to make repeat predictions as I have learned that 12 months is hardly enough time for big shifts to occur in an industry as large as e-learning. Predictions I made two years ago could technically be expanded upon today!

But I digress. I do enjoy making predictions because it is fun to see the end-of-year report card. Plus, it keeps me in tune with what is happening in our industry. There is so much happening across the various verticals as education expands to more digital formats. It really is an exciting time for anyone currently involved in e-learning and for those looking to jump into it!

So what can we expect this year? Below are three predictions!

Prediction #1: Increased emphasis on lessons over courses

In a way this has to do with the micro-content trend, but rather than making a similar prediction to last year I want to expand on it in a different way.

Today online learning is very “course” driven. This isn’t going anywhere. However, I do believe that we will see more offerings and emphasis on lesson selection compared to strictly course enrollment.

Think about it like this: you are at work and forget how to perform a certain task in some software that you must use everyday. Normally there would be a course library and you would have to enroll into that course to find the relevant lesson. This is time consuming and requires that you sift through non-relevant information. Time costs your employer money.

Instead, I see a scenario where you don’t need to enroll in a course but can search in a lesson database to find what you need, and then that lesson is recorded — perhaps with a mini-quiz at the end.

The employer can see that you took some on-the-job training as that’s recorded against your user profile and you get the information you need in a timely fashion.

Prediction #2: Increased demand for non-SaaS learning platforms

This prediction may come across as self-serving seeing as LearnDash is a non-SaaS learning management system, but I assure you that it is not. If anything, this is probably the prediction I am most confident in based on metrics I have seen in our own business.

I have seen the beginning signs that people are not so happy with hosted course creation platforms. Not because they don’t do what they advertise. They are very sleek. That’s what you would expect from a business that receives millions of dollars in venture capital.

But they are also limited in scope. Significantly.

Look, I get that they need to have a core feature-set that applies to most people. Nothing wrong with that. The issue is that learning programs are not static. They evolve. The demands of learners change, and these platforms answer to investors, not users.

Now you think that the solution would be to just jump ship from the SaaS. People are indeed doing this, however the main hurdle at this point is that switching to a non-hosted solution like WordPress & LearnDash does require more technical knowledge compared to the color-by-numbers approach of platforms like Docebo, Teachable, Litmos, and Thinkific. The transition needs to be made easier – and that will happen in 2019 (I know this for a fact actually). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Prediction #3: MOOCs decrease in popularity

Massive-open-online-courses (MOOCs) were touted as the next best thing in education a number of years ago. I actually have written extensively on the subject while following the evolution of Coursera.

In recent months I have noticed that MOOCs have lost a little bit of their luster. I expect this to continue in a big way throughout 2019 as consumers and educational institutions struggle to find the true value proposition of this mode of education. In my mind it just hasn’t matured quick enough and interest is waning. It’s a shame because there is aย ton of potential with MOOCs.

By year’s end I think we’ll see more MOOCs closing their doors or consolidating. The traditional “free education” model will be replaced with the “pay to learn” approach. Major universities will stop investing time and money into courses they host on platforms like Coursera. This may ultimately cause a panic to the investor-heavy Coursera platform causing them to drastically change their business model.

There you have it!

Those are my three (unique) predictions for this year. I look forward to see how I do this time around! How about you? Are there certain things you expect to see happen this year in e-learning? Do you disagree with my predictions? Feel free to leave any thoughts below!

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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3 responses

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I enjoy these every year. Thanks for posting!

Hey Justin! Nice article, I agree with your predictions. By the way, when’s the next big update of LearnDash coming? I am eagerly waiting for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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