Exciting things are happening in the world of technology and e-learning technology can’t be immune to the developments. These trends are likely to have a significant impact, in the way learning and training is approached by organizations in 2013 and the years to come. In Part 1 of this blog, I will explore the technological trends that are likely to influence the eLearning industry.
1. Tin Can API: Project Tin Can (official term is Experience API) was initiated by SCORM, to explore the possibilities of integrated informal learning, into formal framework. It is only a draft specification that has been released and already, there is a lot of buzz about it. The final specification will be released in spring 2013. Though one might have to wait until much later to see its real impact, it is a development that we cannot afford to ignore.
2. Mobile Learning: Smartphones and tablet PCs have continued to penetrate deeper into the corporate world with many organizations equipping their employees with these devices. Different surveys point out to the fact that mobile learning would take center stage and it would be interesting to see how organizations start creating a definite mobile learning strategy to integrate it with formal training program.
3. MOOCs: Coursera and edX have started offering free online courses in 2012. It has already received innumerable number of registrations and it would be interesting how the initial euphoria of world-class education, being obtained for free, gets translated when the first batch passes out and receives their certification. It might also be interesting to watch out how corporates respond to those who earn certification and the opportunities it might open up for their existing employees.
4. Corporate Universities: It has been said that most college graduates do not have employable skill-sets on graduation (barring those who have graduated from premier institutes). It has become necessary for organizations to develop corporate universities, to train their employees as per their specific requirement and to offer continued training for their existing employees. Major companies such as Xerox, Nike, Jiffy Lube, McDonald, have invested in world-class training centers for their employees, present and future. However, virtual universities and learning environments are more common in the IT industries. It would be interesting to watch how major manufacturing and non-IT industries, respond to these technological advancements, in the domain of corporate training.
5. PaaS: Docebo has recently launched its cloud-based, Tin Can compliant Learning Management System. Customized Moodle platform is also being offered by many, including our very own Product Training Mentor. With more and more companies opting for cloud computing, “Platform as a service” is an interesting trend that will provide, SBU Heads’ of large organizations to outsource their specific training requirements to PaaS providers.
6. Personal Learning Environment: Gone are the days of the LMS where courses are simply hosted, and employees are instructed to take the course as a part of mandatory compliance or as a part of company’s policy requirement. LMSs are no longer platforms to track user-completion of courses. Though user-tracking may still be a significant feature of an LMS, they are now being tailored to be more of facilitators of knowledge transfer at the workplace. Organizations are making their LMSs more employee-centric or learner-centric where the individual gets the freedom to choose what to learn, when to learn and how to learn. How the domain of PLEs shapes up, is an interesting trend to watch this year.
7. HTML5 & Rapid authoring tools: Creating online courses has been made easy with the advent of rapid authoring tools. Since then, there have been ongoing efforts to add new features and templates, which make inserting engaging and interactive elements in eLearning courses easier without programming knowledge. Additionally, authoring tools are being modified and altered, to suit multiple devices such as smartphones. It would be interesting to see how the next versions of Lectora, Articulate Storyline and Captivate 6 are going to enhance the eLearning courseware development process. What additional syntactic features will be introduced to HTML5 to incorporate more elements into eLearning courses?
These are some of the developments in the eLearning industry that we need watch out for particularly where technology is concerned. In the second part of this blog, we will look at the trends that are interesting to watch out for, with respect to learning design strategies.