Image of road heading to horizon with 2016 and an arrow pointing to horizonSo, the big question…

What’s next for eLearning in 2016?

I’ve had the opportunity recently to interview some well-respected voices in the Australian learning industry, so rather than just rant on about my views (for a change!) I thought I’d ask them what they think…

Well, I’ve said it before on the record, I think gamification. But let’s put this in perspective. Gamification has got this aura about it, and I think it’s still a bit confusing.

So I’m talking about gamification with a purpose, gamification with a meaning, gamification with an outcome, not gamification as “let’s shove a game in there to break the course up a bit.”

I’m not a big fan of leaderboards, but I am a big fan of badges, recognition, and acknowledgement. So whether it’s done via leaderboard…the jury’s out on that for me at the moment. I think leaderboards can be effective depending on the organisation and the culture of the organisation.

Con Sotidis, Learnkotch Consulting

I think we’re going to continue to see an uptake of eLearning in organisations that haven’t historically been online. I think for those who are already online, they’re looking to the next forefront and I see that as being a combination of a number of factors.

One of the bigger things is this notion of social collaborative learning and social collaborative networking.

Businesses that need to be a bit more agile and need to be able to respond to the market better, they’re really going to want to harness this.

And it’s not only about implementing the technology to facilitate this social learning and networking, they also need a methodology and process to really get results.

So I think that’s a lot of what’s going to go on and you’re going to have two diverse groups; the first is those who are still getting online or expanding their current eLearning presence for cost savings and efficiency, etc., but the second group is those who want to take it to the next step, the next stage, where time is of the essence and they need a bit more agility.

Dr Melissa Bordogna, The Savvy Academic

Where I guess I’d like to see it heading is for that more considered approach to blended learning, in that it’s not just lots of little bits that are completely unconnected. I’d love to see people slowing down and looking at what they’re producing with eLearning and getting more experimental with it.

Use eLearning to entice, not to track.

If you look at synergies with the film industry, everything was “reality TV” style for a while. It feels like we’re in reality TV mode with eLearning at the moment and if you have a look at what happened after that, the film industry just exploded into complete fantasy.

Consider Pans Labyrinth where it was looking at really horrific reality through this lens of fantasy and it made the reality such much more grotesque and unbelievable.  That’s where I see learning going. I think there will be a complete counter-attack to what’s happening, i.e. that everything has to be virtual reality and I think it’s going to go into complete fantasy mode.

Ruba Katrib, Commonwealth Bank of Australia

I’m with the idea of shrinking down online courses even more – looking at one hour courses and getting them down into four 15-minute modules for example. And then you can have these little snippets of mobile technology that can be used for games or quizzes to reinforce in-between the modules as well.

But really shrinking down the content, chunking at a whole new level. Just continuing with that to create specific bits of content that then can be re-used more easily and make for more flexible learning opportunities.

Tonia Forlani, Tonia Forlani Instructional Design

I’m on the band wagon with the branching video scenario. I like watching movies. I like determining the outcome of a comic book and that sort of thing. If you give me an induction video to watch, whether it be code of conduct, workplace bullying, whatever it is, I would like to see that unfold in front of my eyes and be able to choose the branch that happens.

For example, someone’s walking along a sidewalk, do they walk under the ladder or do they walk in front of the track? Which direction do they go? Being able to choose pathways, interact with the content and build it as it goes, that I think, needs to become more prevalent in 2016.

I’ve been doing a lot of work in the social collaborative space and really started to see the true benefits of getting people together into this online space.

I believe the key to the most successful social collaborative space, so to speak, is having the right personalities at the top driving it. Have that core team in place that know how to really finesse a community and harness all that great stuff that comes out of it.

It’s almost like contained chaos in letting them go but watching what arises out of it, it’s really neat, and I know that’s the direction we’re going with our company.

Adan Weeks, Global Education Network Technologies (GEdNeT)

I could say gamification and MOOCs and new technology, but I think that’s a given – that’s all happening anyway.

People are actually seeing now that they’ve got their own little niche skills. Some people are creative. They’ve got certain knowledge. They’ve got certain attributes and abilities that they might be developing outside of their organisation – things that inspire, engage and excite them.

I’ve spoken to many people about this and a lot of them talk about how they can feed that energy back into their own work. How what they are able to do drives their own passion or interest or something that they do outside of work and how they can use it in their work.

And so I’m calling it an awakening.

I’m seeing that there are people out there who are just finally realising that they don’t have to be a cog in the business world just churning out stuff, that they do have skills that can be used. That they do have a variety of very broad networks that could be brought in to solve organisational issues or problems, that they have a voice in their company. And that they are creative beings whose skills could be used in a lot of different ways. Or their knowledge could be used for different projects or different work roles in their organisation.

I know it sounds nebulous like, “what’s going to be big for eLearning in 2016?” but I’m actually seeing that people are having their own “a-ha!” moments all of a sudden and they’re saying, “Right, I have a voice. I can actually help here. I can actually share this piece of work that I’m doing.” And in so doing, they’re finding other areas that they want to explore or get into. It could be creating their own business. It could be exploring a new job. It could be, maybe, moving jobs into a completely new field.

I feel as if people are waking up and it’s actually quite exciting!

I don’t know what the future of L&D holds; whether it will be quite structured or whether it might not, or whether we’ll be around or whether we’ll become redundant. I have no idea. But I just find it exciting that here’s an opportunity now for everyone to make it in their own way and do the things that they want to do.

I think there will be all sorts of different kinds of jobs in the future, we don’t even know what many of them are going to look like, so I think now is the time to start playing and have fun in the exploring.

Helen Blunden, Activate Learning Solutions

Where do you think eLearning is going in 2016? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

About the Author

Karen Moloney is the founder and Director of The eLearning eXperts. She has been part of the eLearning industry since training as an instructional designer in the UK in 1992.

Karen started The eLearning eXperts to create engaging and effective eLearning solutions for her clients and has built an award-winning business with a reputation for quality and professionalism.

Now, having taken off the vendor hat, Karen’s big fat hairy audacious goal is to support her peers by creating and sharing resources via this hub to help develop the eLearning eXperts of the future.

Little known fact: Karen wanted to give up studying for her Computing Science “A”Level at school because she thought it was too boring.  Who knew?!

Find out more about Karen on LinkedIn