The Shape of Things to Come in eLearning

Written By

Bill Brandon

January 10, 2019

Consider the growth in eLearning capabilities during the last couple of years as you plan your personal development for this year. These point the way to the shape of things to come in eLearning in 2019 and beyond:

  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Machine learning
  • Deep learning
  • xAPI
  • Learning engineering
  • Learning experience platforms
  • Web applications such as interactive notebooks

Building the depth of skill sets in basic areas of practice is still a concern. But while improving basic knowledge and competencies—from design to project management—remains important, product proliferation and technology convergence demand attention to:

  • New concepts, including design thinking, storytelling, data analytics, adaptive learning, self-directed learning, agile development
  • The need for more advanced skill sets to support more advanced delivery tools such as video, voice interfaces, interactive 360 media, chatbots, scripting
  • Collaboration and team development
  • Knowledge to support choosing the right tools and getting tools to work together

Ask more specifically, “What is the shape of things to come in the work that we do in my organization?” What skill sets will designers, developers, and managers need in a year in order to support business results? In three years? And how will practitioners develop those skills?

Possibilities for change

What are your core interests and current skill inventory, and what is your way forward? It takes time to build new skill sets; start now. Much of that development will have to be self-directed, but that doesn’t mean that it will have to be done without the help of others. The important steps are:

  • To recognize that technology convergence is driving changes in traditional design and development roles
  • To expect to work more often in interdisciplinary teams instead of as individual solo creators
  • To identify the key skill sets that eLearning production requires

Moving forward in 2019

Here are some steps to consider as you prepare for the things to come in eLearning:

  • Continue to develop your skills with the authoring tools you currently have. What capabilities and features do they offer that you have not used? How can you use them to increase engagement?
  • Think about convergence within your software suite. How can you get your authoring tools to work together?
  • Use mobile devices to deliver learning content at the moment of need.
  • Use simulations, AR, and VR to create engagement and immersion.
  • Examine new technologies for usefulness in delivery. Consider interactive notebooks, for example, as well as artificial intelligence, bots, voice interfaces, and virtual assistants.
  • Learn how to use JavaScript and xAPI, and look for examples of how others are using these to improve the design and delivery of eLearning.
  • Get familiar with learning experience platforms and how they differ from learning management systems.
  • Expand your skill sets. If you are a “one-person shop,” learn how to build and manage project teams in order to obtain skill sets that you don’t have (e.g., audio, video, programming).

Help from Learning Solutions and The eLearning Guild

Learning Solutions will:

  • Continue to provide articles by experts on basic and advanced skill sets
  • Offer stories that are examples of successful project management
  • Provide reviews of tools that will better support collaboration
  • Give guides and reviews to support tool selection
  • Publish case studies on convergence

At the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo in March, expert presenters will deliver workshops, presentations, and tutorials that introduce basic and advanced topics, and that will help you develop new skill sets. In the Expo you can examine a wide variety of products and services. The DemoFest will show you what others are doing.

Other valuable development opportunities can be found at eLearning Guild online events, such as the January 30 Free Tools for eLearning Spotlight, and in Guild publications.

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