What would you do if you had the power to travel back in time and offer some sage advice to your younger self? In this article, I'll share 5 eLearning trends we expect to see in the coming years that could have a direct impact on your eLearning course design and career path.
What Will eLearning Be Like In 2026? Top 5 eLearning Trends To Expect For The Years To Come
There's no definite way to tell what tomorrow will bring. However, you can get a good indication of what's to come by taking a closer look at the past and present of eLearning. Tracking the evolution of eLearning authoring tools, Instructional Design technologies, and eLearning trends can offer you a glimpse of how the eLearning industry might be like a decade from now. So, get ready to travel into the future of eLearning, without having to pull the time machine out of the garage or polish up that crystal ball.
Augmented Reality will be the norm.
A decade ago the thought of walking in a virtual world seemed like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Today, it is a reality, thanks to Oculus Rift, Google Glass and other Virtual Reality headsets. In 2026, augmented reality may be one of the new eLearning trends, with all online training experiences taking place in virtual environments that mimic the workplace. Employees can build their skills and master tasks without having to worry about real world risks. Virtual Reality can even allow them to interact with tools that they would find on the job, such as sales terminals, machinery, and safety equipment. This makes it a valuable asset for onboarding and performance management. Augmented reality may be out of reach for many smaller companies today, thanks to the high price tag of the headsets and the limited software options. However, ten years from now there are most likely going to be a wide range of eLearning programs and tools that are offered on a variety of Virtual Reality platforms.
Make room for Big Data.
Big Data is, well, big today. In the future, however, it will become even more prominent in the world of eLearning. This is especially true for the enterprise online training sector. As analytics become more detailed and reporting capabilities evolve, organizations are going to be using Big Data on a grander scale. It will help them fine tune every aspect of their online training initiatives, offer personalized online training resources, and fill the performance gaps more effectively. The future of Big Data is all about customization and personal learning paths. Companies will have the opportunity to offer employees the specific tools and information they need to become valuable members of the team. Also, be on the lookout for more in-depth Big Data tools that offer greater insight into the modern learners' minds and behaviors.
It’s all on the Cloud.
A number of LMS platforms are now available on the Cloud. However, in 2026 there is high probability that most eLearning authoring tools, Course Management Systems (CMS), and other corporate eLearning resources will be Cloud based. Chances are, only a small minority of corporate eLearning tools will be locally hosted or installed. This is primarily due to the fact that more and more companies are seeing the benefits of web-based training. There are no updates to worry about and employees have access to online training resources whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them. In many respects, corporate training on the Cloud removes virtually all of the limitations that currently exist within the online training sector, especially online tools that are more intuitive and feature asset libraries.
Wearable Technology takes Mobile Learning to a whole new level.
Today, many people are already using smartwatches and other wearable tech gadgets to monitor their fitness and catch up on the latest news. The future of wearable tech, however, is moving toward more discreet and versatile devices, such as those that are built into clothing items. The possibilities that wearable technology could be used in corporate training are virtually limitless. Employees can gain access to online training resources during their "moments of need", or access tutorials and online scenarios to expand their skill sets without having to wait for the next online training session. These devices make it effortless for corporate learners to get the information they require, even if they are constantly on-the-go and pressed for time.
Corporate learners forge their own paths.
The eLearning industry is already heading in the direction of custom eLearning. However, in 2026 there is a likelihood that all aspects of an eLearning course will be fully customized to meet the needs of the learner. All of the forecasts that I’ve mentioned before, such as Big Data, wearable tech, and Virtual Reality, will all come together to create an immersive and completely personalized experience for every member of your audience. Online learners will have the ability to control every component of the eLearning course, from how they receive the information to their level of participation. This is such an exciting prospect because it translates into greater motivation and increased benefits for all parties involved. Not only will corporate learners get the opportunity to pursue an online training path that helps them achieve their goals, but organization will see an increase in employee satisfaction and productivity.
This may be the future of eLearning, judging by where the eLearning industry is currently headed. The question is: are you ready for 2026? Will your eLearning courses stand the test of time? Are you willing and ready to make the most of new technologies and tools to create immersive and interactive eLearning courses for the online learners of tomorrow?
Interested in learning more about how Google Glass fits into the future of eLearning? Read the article The Future Of Google Glass In eLearning to discover 7 ways that you can use Google Glass in your eLearning course design now and for years to come.