Top 10 online learning predictions for 2014

23rd Dec 2013
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It’s that time of the year again when predictions are being made with regard to each and every aspect of life. It’s a time to look back and, well, look ahead. Stargazers, crystal ball readers, tarot card readers, parrots, and even octopuses (thanks to the late ‘Paul the Octopus’ who accurately predicted the 2010 Football Champion), are being consulted, and uncanny predictions being made.

In 1964, Isaac Asimov made predictions for the year 2014 – all of which have already come true. One of these predictions was that, “men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better”. The outcome – the television. We are spoilt for choice - HD, LCD, plasma, 3D, LED – the list is endless – and each of these choices does give man a good excuse to withdraw from nature so that he can indulge in this environment that seems to make him feel better; and the year 2014 will see technology just making it better!


Top10

In the e-Learning industry, the founders and the boffins of the e-learning movement make exciting predictions for 2014 - we have our own little list as well. Here are our Top 10 predictions for the e-learning industry for the year 2014.

Prediction #1: Mobile learning will make it big in 2014

In regions like Africa and the Middle East, mobile learning is being embraced in a big way. According to Ambient Insight’s research in these regions, these areas have bypassed e-learning and are heading straight for mobile learning. In India alone, 86% of corporate employees have expressed their preference to learn via mobile devices. According to a latest Brandon Hall Group research on mobile learning, 73% organisations are already using mobile learning in some form, and 87% organisations plan to increase their use of mobile learning in the new year. Tablets are also set to take over the smartphone when it comes to mobile learning.

Prediction #2: e-Learning will be the main ingredient for successful blended learning

To make training possible for employees on the move, companies have turned to blended learning, especially for training elements where face to face interaction cannot be done away with completely, but can be reduced. A blended learning program combines two components - face-to-face interaction and an online component. As companies are increasingly spread out geographically, the e-learning component is significantly gaining prominence, especially in companies who believe in providing the best training and opportunities to employees to reach their maximum potential in the workplace.

Prediction #3: Social learning will acccelerate

e-Learning platforms are increasingly supporting social media components which learners use to connect with like-minded people and form groups to collaborate and share thoughts and ideas, AND learn. This trend is set to accelerate in 2014 as people in general are getting more hooked to the idea of ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’.

Prediction #4: Tin Can API will be the name of the game

There has been a lot of talk about Tin Can API for the last two years. In 2014, we will see Tin Can API take center stage and become a standard for e-Learning. Why Tin Can API? Here are just a few possibilities with Tin Can API: ability to track learning experiences in disconnected environments; educational games are easily tracked; ability to work outside of a browser; real world activities can be tracked; and any learning experience can be tracked. The year 2014 will see corporates demanding Tin Can API compliance.

Prediction #5: HTML5 will take precedence

While we cannot ignore the immense value that Flash has provided to our websites, we cannot ignore the major gaps in Flash that HTML5 has successfully filled up.

The BYOD policy that is followed by most organisations and educational institutions makes it necessary for e-Learning courses to be compliant with the plethora of devices that are available in the market. This is only possible with HTML5. Non-compliance with any device will see the downfall for e-learning providers. Greater interactivity in websites is possible with HTML5 compared to Flash. 2014 will see HTML5 grow in terms of users and more users become ‘mobile only’ users.

Prediction #6: Technology will be part and parcel of almost every learning experience

There is a large section of the education sector as well as the corporate sector that is untouched by technology. Sticking to the old school of thought and a hesitancy to try something new are two major reasons for this. However, recent reports from all over the world suggest that there is a shift in this mindset, and these same people who once turned their noses to technological advances are now looking at technology as the new ‘savior,’ to better the learning experience.

We predict that 2014 will see this technology-shy group shifting its attitude towards technology as a learning tool and ask, “how is technology being used in learning?” rather than, “whether technology is being used for learning.”

Prediction #7: There will be a burst of e-learning courses in languages other than English

Here is something that most of us don’t know: while English is considered as the world’s most widely used language, with over 1.8 billion users worldwide, 75% of the world population does not understand English. Another fact: the fastest growing economies are non-English speaking. Latin America for one imports all its e-learning courses; and a deal-breaker for anyone trying to gain access into this region would be offering their services in English alone. Spanish is the preferred language here and in several parts of the world such as certain pockets in America and Europe as well. As developed markets saturate, 2014 will see the e-learning industry offering courses in several languages other than English.

Prediction #8: There will be major changes in design

No e-learning topic is complete without touching on design. Yes, we have hit upon the fact that HTML5 will be popular, but there is more to the web than just HTML5. Until recently websites were stuffed with text and images and packed tight with functionality and information that made it seem like ‘too much was not enough.’

We predict that 2014 will see ‘bling’ take backstage, while ‘simplicity’ hogs the limelight. White space, flat design and big images will be the order of the year. Clean designs that will speak volumes through their simplicity will be the trend.

Prediction #9: Gamification and videos will become a part of e-learning content

The term ‘gamification’ was coined in 2002 (although in principle it existed much before that), but did not gain popularity until 2010. Interactivity in gamification is addictive. Learning through gamification takes place spontaneously and faster than otherwise. Gamification enhances problem-solving skills and creativity, inspires interest in boring topics, helps employees process information faster, and improves multi-tasking abilities.

While on the topic of gamification, we must also mention the importance of videos in e-learning. The fact that YouTube is the second most visited search engine after Google says a lot about videos and how much we enjoy them. Videos are engaging and keeps a learner’s interest alive. We predict that every e-learning experience will be accompanied by gamification and/or videos in the year 2014.

Prediction #10

We leave this to you! Let us know what you predict for the e-learning industry for the year 2014. Don’t limit yourself to just one prediction – feel free to add as many predictions as you care to. The best predication will be featured in our next newsletter. Please share your predictions in the comments section below.

And with that, we come to the end of our list of Top 10 e-learning predictions for the year 2014. It’s obvious that our predictions are a spillover from 2013; but like Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014 that have already been fulfilled and will be improved upon in the year 2014, we hope to see these spillover trends being improved on as well.

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