Top 6 eLearning Trends in 2017 and their impact on the LMS

Top 6 eLearning Trends in 2017 and their impact on the LMS

In the L&D domain, change is not just the only constant but a catalyst for shift, growth, and evolution, which is fueled by technological advancements, changing learner/user behavior, emerging learning models, the multi-device world and the likes. And quite naturally so, 2017 has a lot in store for the eLearning industry; some new developments, some existing ones and a lot more of Learning Management Systems (LMSs).

Here are the top 6 eLearning trends (in no particular order) that will be impacting the LMS as we know it in 2017:

1. Video, Video, Video

As per Cisco's VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020, video will be responsible for 80 percent of the Internet traffic around the world by 2019, with users sharing almost one million minutes of video content every second! This is no surprise given that videos have proved themselves as an effective medium of telling stories and transmitting information, in a short span of time, by captivating the viewer.

This opens the door to incorporating videos as a part of your (blended) learning plan and within courses too. So Learning Management Systems, along with their ability to deliver HTML courses, Powerpoint presentations, Documents, etc., should be able to support videos, both streamed and uploaded.

2. Two-Way Conversations in eLearning

Bombarding your learners with uni-directional training does little to aid learning and knowledge retention.  As user behavior and preferences continue to change over the next year, it's critical more than ever to open up a two-way street for your training activities. Capturing learner feedback is important in gauging needs and wants upfront.

LMSs that offer polls and surveys as a part of their feature set help in opening up channels for gathering learners' inputs, opinions, suggestions and ideas, which can serve as the base for developing your L&D strategies and plans.

3. Intelligent Data

In today's fast-paced, dynamic business world, large amounts of data and information guised as reports hold no good if you are unable to draw actionable insights, and speed up the data extraction process. What you need is Business Intelligence.

2017 will usher in the need for Learning Management Systems that can translate your learning management data into meaningful information for devising better L&D strategies and improving processes. This goes beyond having reporting module with an ability to draw standard reports quickly, applying filters as per your need, ability to export the report to multiple formats, viewing key reports as graphical charts and into the realm of decision-making.

4. Data Exchange with 3rd Party Systems/ Applications

Forbes hit the nail on its head when it says, "Forward-thinking companies are reducing costs and time spent by 'building their solutions with best-of-breed components, which they access via APIs'." In layman terms, APIs have the potential to transform businesses if implemented right.

The past year has seen several major shifts in how APIs are being deployed by both enterprises and startups alike. A shift that runs into the new year too. As the number of applications and systems continues to rise, so does the need to integrate these disparate entities.

An LMS with API connectors helps organizations in seamlessly integrating with third-party enterprise applications for information sharing and managing various functions with ease. Enabling information flow between applications, it automates workflows and processes, which otherwise would have to be done manually. Leveraging the APIs in your LMS may seem daunting to some, but with minimum technical help it can help an organization to increase its productivity and efficiency.

5. Informal Learning

Informal Learning or Social Learning, to be specific, has been around for centuries as information and learning were passed along from one generation to the other. But as technology advanced and tools were created to enable information sharing and collaboration, a new definition of Social Learning emerged; one that implied the use of social technology to underpin learning.

As new social tools continue to emerge and capture the market, informal learning enabled by learning platforms becomes a necessity rather than an option in 2017. And it's not just about marrying some content with sharing and commenting capabilities, but giving users the ability to collaborate actively by sharing their opinions/ experiences, asking questions  and in turn learning from insights of colleagues and peers so as to develop a deeper understanding of the information. Learning Management Systems with Social Learning and Knowledge Collaboration tools like Discussion Forums, Communities, Blog, Twitter etc. will be the stars in the coming years.

6. Micro-learning

In today's digital age of conversations in the form of emojis and messages constrained by strict word limits, our attention span has shortened drastically. So much so that we, humans, now have an attention span that's lesser than a goldfish! (A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds average compared to humans, which has fallen from an average of 12 seconds in the year 2000 to just eight seconds in 2015).

What does this mean? Microlearning is here to say. Straight and simple.

Delivering content to learners as small nuggets of information rather than huge chunks of data in small, specific bursts, not only provides a structure to delivering learning content but also helps in doing it in a way that that fits well with the learners' requirements (and attention spans). A Learning Management System that enables Blended Learning can help organizations in uploading and delivering bite-sized learning content in digestible sizes, which can be blended with the traditional forms of training (like ILT, Virtual Classroom) for a holistic approach.

There we have it: the top 6 eLearning trends that will set the path for the Learning Management Systems in 2017. Which other trend do you think will revolutionize the LMS market this year?