LOOKING AT THE PAST AND FUTURE OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
In 2016 the world saw a rampant rise in e-learning and e-learning technologies. But what were the most popular learning and development trends and practices explored last year?
According to findings published in the annual Learning and Development survey report of 2015, on-the-job training was predicted to be the most popular and effective way for employees to gain new skills in 2016 which presented exciting opportunities for organisations that had already incorporated e-learning into their development programs.
It was also predicted that e-learning training courses would grow by 59% from 2015 to 2016 which is largely due to an abundance of technology being introduced to the market at a rapid rate. Going forward, new technology, in conjunction with e-learning programs and the widespread use of mobile devices, is expected to have the most impact on the learning and development profession over the next three years.
While face-to-face learning is still the most dominant form of education at present, blended learning approaches are also gaining momentum. Here are some other online learning trends predicted for the year 2017:
Further implementation of artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is already being used widely in the consumer tech industry (look at Apple’s personal assistant Siri as an example) and is expected to continue entering the field of online education this year. AI technology has made leaps and bounds in the education industry because it offers immense value to both educators and students alike. AI algorithms can help teachers better evaluate performance and can support content delivery. But advanced learning systems can also read, write and imitate human behaviour which – some believe – can be used to offer more interactive educational experiences to learners.
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) started picking up speed last year with reputable facilities, like MIT’s Sloan School of Management, beginning to explore virtual classrooms and networking sessions. Although the cost of setting up VR devices is high, this kind of technology offers a world of opportunities to the digital learning industry as it can be used to build 4D learning experiences as well as connect global locations.
Today the demand for traditional campus degrees is actually decreasing and non-traditional micro-credentials are gaining popularity. Micro-credentials refer to non-degree courses that offer expertise in niche areas where there is a shortage of talent. These courses usually cost far less than traditional degrees and can be stacked to create a customised educational experience. It’s also been noted that today’s generations tend to change jobs more frequently which is why there is an increasing need for people to re-skill through continuous learning.
Digital analytics, or “big data”, is vastly being adapted to cater to the online learning industry and improve education systems. The application of advanced analytic systems will no doubt play a huge role in 2017 as it can help to measure, predict and improve student performance which in turn allows educators to customise syllabi to meet individual students’ needs.
We mentioned earlier that blended learning (i.e. combining online and on-site methodologies) gained momentum last year and we have no doubt that it will continue to do so in 2017. This approach grants instructors the flexibility to create an intimate educational environment while enabling students to network online. This year we can expect to see more universities bringing technology into physical educational spaces to enhance learning experiences. And with the introduction of new industry innovations, the way that content is dispersed and utilised is bound to evolve even further.
How does iLearn stay at the forefront of these innovations?
As leaders of the learning and development industry, iLearn constantly challenges the status quo and seeks new and innovative ways to improve the educational experience it offers to its learners. This year iLearn will continue to remain at the forefront of the skills development industry by harnessing new technology to expand its learning portfolio even further.
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