January 29th, 2018 E-Learning

This year we will be getting more “micro”, seeing a rise in subscriptions, and (possibly) machines.

I must confess that this year I have been struggling to come up with my predictions for the e-learning industry.

It’s not that there aren’t exciting developments because there certainly are many things happening. I just think that the previous year’s predictions could very well apply to this year. They haven’t been fully realized yet.

But repeating the same predictions doesn’t make for a very interesting article.

So I will do my best to keep my predictions relevant and fresh, but forgive me if they may resemble some from the past.

Prediction #1: Growth in Micro-Learning Delivery & Reporting

Yes, this is a similar prediction to last year where I predicted innovation in the micro-learning space. The truth is though that micro-learning is just getting started. This is going to be a significant part of e-learning in the years to come.

Entrepreneurs would do well to get in on this trend now. We have a better understanding of the instructional design tactics to create micro-learning content now, but there has been little to do date about delivery methods and reports. It is important to prove the value of micro-learning to organizations. If that can be done then adoption rates will increase and we will start to see micro-learning explode across many industries.

Prediction #2: The “SaaS’ing” of Courses

If you are in the software space then you are familiar with SaaS (software-as-a-service). It’s essentially making software run on a subscription model where you pay a monthly fee. Major e-learning companies like Articulate and Adobe have shifted to this model in recent years. In fact, you will be hard pressed to find software outside of the WordPress space that you run native to your computer. Most are subscription models where you pay a monthly fee

In 2018 I think we see more use of this model in the online course space. Individuals and organizations will pay monthly fees to access a course, or library of courses. In return, the course creators keep the content up-to-date, handle technical support inquires, and manage the tech stack (LMS).

I should note that this model has been around in select areas, but it will grow this year. The growth will allow instructional designers to actually start creating courses and licensing them instead of working on a project-by-project basis.

Prediction #3: Machine Learning for E-Learning

I am going out on a limb with this one because I haven’t really seen all that much written on the subject. There has been plenty written about machine learning, but not as it applies to the e-learning industry.

I predict that this year we see the beginning of machine learning being applied to learner behavior in e-learning. One (rather small) example would be machine learning incorporated into learning management systems. The LMS could then gather data on completion rates across a spectrum of courses to find the patterns in drop-offs, subject, duration of course, time of year, role of employee, and so much more.

Practical decisions can then be made around the e-learning content based on this data to improve things like learner comprehension and completion rates.

Again, if all this seems theoretical it’s because right now no one has implemented it in a practical manner. That begins to change this year. It won’t be implemented on any grand scale for a few years but this year marks the beginning of that process.

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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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