5 e-learning trends for 2017

The online education sector has evolved along with technological and consumption tendencies

5 tendencias del e learning para 2017
25/05/2017 · Alexandra Maratchi

With the universalisation of the internet and the boom of video as the main format in content consumption, e-learning has evolved to become one of the favourite educational options among users. In fact, according to estimations run by the Online Business School, in 2019, 50% of high education courses will be delivered online.

Year after year, novelties aimed to enrich both the offer and the format are being introduced, and the trends that will shape the sector in the upcoming years are being drawn today, 2017. 

1.- Social e-learning

E-learning cannot escape social dynamics. The frontier between the physical and the virtual world is blurring. We interact with our entourage by meeting to have a drink, but also chatting through WhatsApp, sending tweets and posting pictures of our holidays on Instagram.

The learning sector is not immune to this reality and, whilst 15 years ago we would meet at the library with our colleagues to carry out our team work, we now create Slack work groups, we share documents on Dropbox and we organise debate forums on Basecamp.

The e-learning is following this trend and new proposals are increasing the span of its contents and its debate forums through the most popular social networks. Thanks to this strategy, participation is being fostered, the creation of a student community is getting consolidated, and the repercussion of syllabuses is gaining ground by reaching people who may not be enrolled in the course, but can still access a part of the contents and join the conversations. 

2.- Multiplatform training

This is a tendency that fits well with the current consumer behaviour. According to several studies, we check our smartphone around 150 times per day. Thanks to the growing amenities that these devices are offering, phones have become just another extension of people’s bodies, as a handy and accessible alternative to personal computers.

Within the e-learning sector, people still have not switched their computer for their phones, but this is to happen before long. In 2016, 28% of online courses’ users logged in through their terminals. This may seem a minor percentage, but we must not overlook the mobile phone consumption growth, that reached 80% between 2014 and 2015. 

3.- Big Data and the e-learning

This may be the least explored area by online courses’ developers. The sector is to face certain challenges for which the use of Big Data could come in handy, in detecting behavioural patterns among students, for instance. Some of these challenges are to increase the percentage of completion of the syllabuses, and to adapt the contents and the itineraries to the needs and requests of the students.

With the incorporation of Big Data, admins could detect key elements such as dropout points in the course, best rated content, behavioural patterns of similar users, etc. With such data at hand, developers will have the tools to create more customized, adaptable and successful online courses. 

4.- Micro-learning

This is, again, a trend closely related to consumer habits. Available time seems to be waning and, at the same time, knowledge appears to be increasingly ephemeral.  The constant technological evolution makes our capacities more likely to become outdated. Facing these two realities, micro-learning is gaining ground as the preferable option for many online students.

Micro-learning offers short training pills of about 15 minute duration maximum, focused on a single topic or concept and complemented by auxiliary learning resources. 

5.- Video as the e-learning format

Video is already the number one learning format in e-learning and nothing leads us to think this is going to change in the near future.  According to several studies, over half of all contents published in the internet are in video format, and students have a 75% higher disposition at consuming contents in this format over written text, as this format allows different learning paces.

The alternative that outdates the performance of video as the format for publishing contents is yet to come.

E-learning is moving forward, not only regarding market growth, but also as an essential tool for continuous learning and training for workers. Besides, the new generations, such as the millennials, are demanding training programs as a key element in their job choice. 

Alexandra Maratchi

Alexandra Maratchi