2016 eLearning trends

Greetings, and a very Happy New Year to you! We hope your holidays were happy ones, and that 2015 came to an exciting close as we charge ahead into 2016.

Last week, we shared some thoughts on what trends our team felt were the most noteworthy in 2015. Today, we’d like to share some of our prognostications for 2016. Will this be the year of Big Data in L&D? How about wearable tech?

Our top trends for 2016 are a collection of new and not-so-new (but reaching critical mass) developments in eLearning. Let’s take a look.

  • Growth of Mobile – We’ve noted the growth of mobile as a significant trend for awhile now, but we expect it to continue in 2016. It’s reached a point where clients simply expect the solutions we create for them work seamlessly on mobile devices, and our dev team has responded by taking a “mobile-first” approach. Look for mLearning solutions to become more robust and powerful in the new year.
  • Augmented Reality – Some brands have already started delivering powerful experiences using augmented reality, largely in marketing applications. To put this in a learning context, imagine having a performance support tool that walks someone through completing a task, step-by-step. You can do that on a tablet or smartphone with all kinds of multimedia – checklists, photos, videos and more. Now imagine a multidimensional replica of the exact task the person is working on appearing right in front of them, and imagine they can interact with it not with a tablet, but hands-free with something like Google Glass. We’re still very early in the adoption of augmented reality, but the possibilities are endless and intriguing.
  • Big Data – 2016 may be the year of data and analytics in the learning space. More organizations are creating long-term learning strategies and employee development is becoming a source of competitive advantage, not only in terms of product/service delivery but in employee recruitment. If we aren’t using data in a strategic way to close the loop between learning programs and business outcomes, learning strategy is greatly hindered. Look for greater reliance on third-party data analysis and reporting tools or in-house data analysts this year.
  • Cloud Solutions – Cloud-based learning management systems have been on the rise for several years, but we’re expecting 2016 to mark a major milestone in the rate of adoption. LMS users are becoming wise to the many advantages of using a cloud-based system over one that’s locally installed. We’ll be watching to see whether the benefits can outweigh the switching costs that some learning teams are struggling with.
  • Wearables – It’s hard to say exactly how wearable tech will impact learning this year. It’s still early in the product lifecycle, but smartwatch wearers are already receiving emails, text messages and app notifications on their wrist, which could already impact learning delivery and follow-up. Will learning content be designed for smartwatch consumption, embedding learning even deeper in the workflow than an iPad? Time will tell.

What do you think is a trend to watch in 2016? Leave a comment below to join the discussion and be sure to let us know if you think we’ve overlooked anything. Cheers to a great 2016!

photo credit: Happy New Year 2016 via photopin (license)