eLearning Design and Development

The 2018 eLearning Trends You Can Expect To See & What You Need To Know

The Top eLearning Trends of 2018

One spring day, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet were bickering, as billionaires often do, about which types of investments are the most profitable. Buffet said he likes stable companies that monopolize their markets. Musk said he prefers businesses that continuously disrupt their respective markets with innovation. It’s pretty safe to say they’re both right. Innovate so you can lead and capture the market. All customers want their products to keep getting better, and the eLearning industry isn’t any different. On that note, below is what we think are the Top Trends in the eLearning Industry for 2018, which might also be our plan for total market domination, depending on how you look at it.

The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage in the future. —Arie De Geus

What’s the Online Learning Industry?

The Learning Industry is a global, nearly $500 billion-dollar behemoth, encompassing online and offline learning from both Academic Learning and Development (L&D) at approximately $300 billion dollars per year (primary, secondary, higher learning, continuing education and trade schools) to Corporate L&D at $180 billion dollars per year. Of that Corporate L&D budget, eLearning Development, or the online portion of that L&D budget, comprises about $28 billion. Digital Learning, or custom eLearning, is a sub-sub-sub category where we at ELM live. In this smallish (possibly $6 billion dollar?) space you will find the most potential for disruption. Digital Learning is a growing, creative, tech heavy, learner-driven industry.

An eLearning Industry Market Analysis

Training Magazine releases its annual State of the Industry Report every spring, which gives us statistics from the previous year and forecasts trends based on those figures. It was good news: globally corporate training budgets, globally, increased 32% from 2016 and continue to climb.

What are the corporations spending their money on? The numbers show that they’ve been DIY-ing their trainings, deepening their own internal capabilities by spending budgets on in-house training teams and building their own programs, because nowadays most eLearning authoring tools are fairly easy to use.

In 2018, outsourcing budgets are expected to remain flat. Below, we’ll make a case for the seismic rumblings about to shake things up a bit.

The Biggest eLearning Industry Trends

1.- Personalized Learning, or an anti-one-size-fits-all approach. Personalized learning is an eLearning term that means that, through the software, learners are able to choose their own path and learn at their own pace. Early studies in the educational sphere and anecdotal evidence in the corporate space point to the success of this kind of approach, as most people, not just millennials, respond better to topics that interest them. This will give rise to digital learning, as learners demand more content that not only is personalized to them, but customized for them, as well.

Sales of packaged, off-the-shelf content and Learning Management Systems, typical tools of self-paced learning, are projected to decline by 6.4% by 2021, worldwide. The DIY Era is nearing an end, as a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t appealing to learners living in a hyper-curated world conditioned by Netflix, Google and Amazon.

2.- Microlearning: Microlearning is a teaching style that involves short bursts of highly engaging and interactive information, delivered at the learner’s request. Learners are in full control of their education, and decide what, when and how much they want to learn.

This isn’t a new methodology, but it’s been conditioned and popularized by mobile technology. After your learners have taken and completed a specific course, they’ll need to apply those skills in the field. By offering them a quick refresher that they can access easily, whether on a smartphone or tablet, they can make practical use of the information and retain it better.

3.- Interactive, Video-based Learning: Learning through video will still hold its appeal in the coming years. Mobile phone video lenses are higher tech, so anyone can create quality videos. What we are seeing within content authoring tools is the ability to add interaction to videos, creating games or branching scenarios where the learner can choose a path and see specialized outcomes based on their specific choices.

4.- More Performance Support: Gone are the days of flat data analytics, where the administrator for the LMS gets one-dimensional results from a training like basic scores, numbers of modules completed, or time to complete. What most trainers are looking for are marketing-like deep analytics, which track specific actions the learner chose for their personalized experience, like scrolling on a page, click throughs, and the order of modules they chose.

5.-Gamification: Game-based learning is expected to reach $11.10 billion by 2020. Gamification training is the use of game play elements in a learning experience and is a powerful, neuroscience-backed tool for measuring some behaviors and correcting or redirecting others. While gamification inarguably makes learning more fun and engaging, the science behind it is serious. Learning Apps like Duolingo, Coursera, and Udacity are quick, fun and engaging, not to mention successful and addicting.

The Top 5 eLearning Technology Trends for 2018

1.- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

This is still very new and costly, but we are seeing some corporations use AR to practice with interviewing skills.

2.- Big Data

Big data is massive amounts of data sets that corporations collect from the learning experience. xAPI is the new standard, replacing TIN CAN or SCORM. This data is used to measure engagement or effectiveness, as well as provide the raw material to personalize the learning.

3.- Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Adaptive learning, powered by AI, provides individual, personalized learning experiences to users based on the big data, which is gathered throughout the training/learning process.

4.- Chatbots

Putting a “face” on AI, chatbots serve as a guide or mentor for the learner in a simulated learning environment. The chatbots also ask pointed questions of the learner that are then used by the AI to customize the learning experience.

5.- Push-Not-Pull

The modern LMS or LCMS is a more agile, user experience (UX) orientated platform. The traditional LMS was built to “administrate training,” and was therefore designed for administrators not users. The goal was to push the information out to the learner, rather than pull them in. For 2018 and beyond, we’ll see more HTML5, web-based learning at the corporate level replacing traditional LMS platforms, like: Gomo, Branchtrack, ReadyMag, Evolve, and Rise.

How You Can Keep Up-to-date on the Latest eLearning Trends with ELM


Training Magazine Annual Report

Top 10 Learning Conferences You Need to Attend in 2018

Global eLearning Market 2018 Analysis