When compared to other methods of learning, eLearning could probably still be considered the new kid in class. But, thanks to innovators in the learning and development sphere, it’s already come a long way as a viable method for education and training. If you haven’t been paying attention to eLearning, now is a great time to start: It’s only going to become more prevalent in an increasingly digital and efficiency-driven world. In fact, begin with this primer on what’s happening in eLearning right now.

  1. Animation is trending for 2014. One of the biggest sleeper hits for eLearning in 2014 has actually been animation. Peppering eLearning modules with custom animation and even personal avatars makes the subject material a little bit lighter and a lot more engaging.
  2. Your eLearning is only as good as your LMS. Sure, you can create standalone modules, but without a comprehensive Learning Management System (LMS), you could be missing out on some of the massive benefits of eLearning, including analytics and distance learning. Your LMS works as your control panel for eLearning, so it had better be good.
  3. eLearning can and should be sustainable. Dismissing eLearning as a training fad means you’re left in the dust to competitors who are already utilizing the technology for more effective training.  One of the clear benefits for eLearning is the fact that when properly executed, it can be both sustainable and perpetual.
  4. mLearning grows with tablet usage. Tablet ownership has grown by 257 percent in the past two years and will only continue its upward trend. Tablets create a natural platform for users who can turn their leisure machines into learning portals.
  5. Learners value authenticity. After years of cheesy Powerpoints and training, learners are looking for modules that are relatable, relevant and timely. Less filler and fluff means more room for the stuff that really matters to learners.
  6. Social media is the next great delivery method. Looking for a way to engage learners without adding unnecessary bulk to your module? Consider social media your saving grace. Utilizing social networking, online videos and quick micro-lessons creates opportunity for passive learning to capitalize on your learners’ time away from the office.
  7. Learners want to level up. Gamification has always been a large portion of eLearning, but it’s the rewards – not the game play – that really motivates learners. The ability to level up and earn badges is reminiscent of scoring kudos and promotions at work, so it’s a major factor in eLearning engagement.
  8. Big data could change education. With eLearning modules also comes comprehensive analytics, such as testing scores and time spent on certain topics. That analysis could be utilized as big data within the education community, helping researchers learn more about how and when learning is most effective.
  9. ROI is becoming easier to measure. ROI is always hard to measure in training: Without specific tasks and objectives, trainers and trainees don’t always know where they stand. But with gamification and post-course analysis, it’s becoming easier to measure the efficiency of the module and act accordingly.
  10. Consumers are getting in on the action. Training isn’t just for employees anymore. The ability to serve consumers with product information and how-to’s means organizations are better able to answer customer service concerns and educate consumers on how to use products.

No longer the new kid on the block, eLearning has found its legs in the learning and development sphere. From here, it’s finding new ways to make eLearning more relevant for modern applications: Who knows what’s next for 2015?