3 Trends in eLearning that Might Scare You!



Disruption is an easy word to toss around in casual conversation. But it’s much tougher to actually live in the active storm of technology disruption. And that’s exactly where we are. Some of us enjoy the chaos and embrace the change. We see opportunity where others see the improbable, and impossible. No matter how you look at it, you can’t deny the level of disruption is larger than it’s ever been. The disruption we’re experiencing right now is even bigger than when we moved from the classroom to digital media and an internet world. Here are 5 trends you may not be ready for in your organization…but should start planning for.

Training Business Operations Automation

It’s not sexy. The eLearning industry created authoring tools, learning management systems, and learning content management systems. We understood what training looked like and did a pretty good job of automating those processes into rapid development tools and other development tools. But for many years the missing link has been automating the business operations of running a training department. This is changing. Leaders in the industry are shifting their systems to platforms and beginning to aim their technologies at the operations side of training, not just the learning side. And creating solutions that not only manage the production and delivery of learning content, the learners, and their results, but also the business of managing training products, department accounting, resource management, advanced eCommerce, and more.

This might not be sexy, or scary. But it will certainly change the way you manage the training function within your organization. Some will use these platforms to shift their standing from expense item to revenue generation. Others will use them to get more closely integrated with other enterprise systems. Integration is critical to the success of the training department. We can no longer function in the ivory tower we have become accustomed too. You may already be on this bandwagon. Many are not.

Video, Video, and Video

Making video content and publishing video content is easier than ever. So easy, in fact, that many average workers create it on a daily basis. They just aren’t creating it as part of their job. This is not something L&D has ever needed to deal with. And certainly not at this scale.  Mobile devices make video production and publishing as simple as pushing a button. Twitter allows video. Instagram just updated their video length limit to 1 minute. Snapchat is all about video content. With so many employees not only capable of creating video, but willing to do so, why aren’t we taking advantage of that? Some of the reasons include technology constraints behind corporate firewalls. However, corporate culture is probably a more realistic roadblock. Younger workers are media creation junkies. They’ve been doing this since getting their first smartphone. Your next strategy planning session should consider how you can leverage it.

Mixed Reality: VR, AR, 360 video

Many can accept business automation. And video is so prevalent that it’s just a reality for everyone now. But this is where many draw the line. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and other reality altering technologies just do not compute. Part of the problem is a legacy of failed attempts at making VR acceptable to the masses. I know. I created VR training 20 years ago. And it was by far the most effective training I’ve ever created. But the industry went bust, software was shelved, and VR companies shut their doors. Today, we are in a very different tech industry climate. Everything is cheaper. Processing is faster. Hardware is lighter and more responsive. And there is a generation of game developers with the skills to program complex VR and AR experiences. Many argue this point with me. And perhaps I’m just over-enthusiastic about it. But I believe mixed reality tech is much closer to reality than most are willing to accept. Time will tell.

Following trends is not that hard these days. Figure out where the venture capitalists are placing their bets and you’ve got a decent gauge of the coming trends. I don’t expect that any of these trends will suddenly change your job, career, business, or world. But in my observations within the L&D industry, and the industries that drive it, I’m confident in these three trends. And more than that, it is exciting to see that there are new technologies on the horizon continuing to make our field a fun and exciting career.