January 31st, 2017 E-Learning

It is that time.

The time when I make three predictions for the coming calendar year with regards to the elearning industry. At the end of the year I will take a look back at these predictions to see if any of them came true.

I recently did this for 2016, you can see the predictions for last year here as well as the end-of year assessment.

Why Predictions?

Why go through the trouble of making predictions in the first place? To be honest I just enjoy doing it. This industry has been a part of my life since before I even had my first real job (I was an elearning intern at an automotive company in undergrad).

I have seen trends come and go while others stick around. It’s always interesting to see the new technology, tools, tips, and growing sectors in our field.

I also like revisiting these at the end of the year to see if I was right (or wrong) on any predictions.

So without further ado let’s get to the predictions of 2017.

Prediction #1: Increase Presence of WordPress LMS in Traditional Markets

Let me first address the elephant in the room: yes, LearnDash is a WordPress LMS.

But let me also make something clear. Since 2012 (when this blog first started) I have never included WordPress powered learning management systems in my yearly elearning predictions.

This year is different because last year positioned the WordPress powered LMS for larger adoption in the more traditional markets. It also doesn’t hurt that both SCORM and Tin Can API can be used if desired – options not available in the very early years.

I predict we see WordPress being used more commonly in educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and in place of common hosted solutions like Litmos, Udemy, Teachable, and others.

Kindly note that the growth of the WordPress LMS industry doesn’t mean that any of those other traditional options won’t continue their growth – they probably will (the pie is certainly large enough).

Prediction #2: Innovation Around Micro-Learning

With mobile learning driving the growth of the elearning industry we have seen an increase in conversations around micro-learning. In the coming year I expect we will see a lot of innovation in this sector.

It’s the perfect time for startups and venture capatilists to try to get in early on a good thing. What usually happens when this is the case is that we see the market flooded (like we did with gamification) and when the dust settles we are left with a handful of ‘winners’.

Beyond just tech tools though, I predict we see a lot more of the elearning industry thought leaders educating the masses on micro-learning, it’s benefits, and how to do it properly. This in turn will result in more case-studies around the concept.

In short, the micro-learning boom is about to happen.

Prediction #3: Increased Demand for ID Professionals

Last year I predicted that the salaries for instructional designers would go up (results still pending, but early indications showing that I was incorrect in that prediction).

This time around I want to focus on something a bit more broad and that is the overall demand for people in the instructional design profession.

Elearning and mobile learning are both playing an intregal part in most people’s daily lives. Businesses use it to train their staff and often to make money. The demand for people with the ability to plan, create, and manage learning programs seems poised to increase this year (especially if you also consider the rise in new methodologies like micro-learning).

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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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Great post . As a WordPress developer, we are getting a steady stream of WordPress LMS inquiries now, locally and offshore. The beauty of the WordPress (and Learndash) environment, is the size of the community, the reduced costs and improved upgrade options, that are missing from other platforms. .

Thanks Kevin, and happy to see that you too are noticing the steady increase in demand. I think 2017 will be an exciting year for WordPress in this space!

Awesome post as usual Justin. I have to admit I’m a bit rough on the “micro-learning”. What would that look like? Does it mean just really short videos/training sessions? Or does it mean 3 minutes on one topic, 5 on another, but in total the whole course is 90 minutes? I’d love your thoughts.


Hi Amanda-
There are probably a few schools of thought on micro-learning. It’s both content length and quality related, delivered in a manner that is conducive to “on-the-go”. General guidelines such as 8-10min max for media, succinct bullet point summaries, using charts instead of text to convey the same message, multiple courses instead of one large one, etc.

Likely we’ll see more around the methodology this year… or least that’s the prediction. 😉

Awesome, thanks for that Justin! I’m looking forward to learning more about that and making some awesome stuff myself.

Hi, Justin!
As a student of business and economics from Norway, me and two fellow students has an assignment regarding this market and the growth of eLearning platforms (gamification), and would really appreciate if you had the time and kindness to answer a few questions on your predictions and historically statistics on this field.

Best Regards

Avatar Håkon Indergård

Awesome post. I stumbled onto what you’re calling “micro-learning” by accident. It’s clear that the way we consume media is not the same as it was 10 years ago. The interesting thing about micro-learning, is that it’s actually more pervasive. Think of Netflix. It’s like all you can eat micro-tv.. The interesting side effect is what we call “binge-watching”. As far as I can see, the micro-learning revolution is going to be very similar to what Netflix did to the way we consume TV/moves. Their smartphones then allows the learning environment to be in their pockets at all time. Lots of bite-sized nibbles, little learning snacks, consumed all day long.

No-ones got time for a 60 minute powerpoint presentation, but we all have time for Facebook. We simply need our courses to be more convenient. That’s the power of micro.

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