Learn about five technology-enabled learning trends that will have a significant impact on the learning ecosystem.  Reprinted from Suman Basu (2017), 5 Technology-Enabled Learning Trends in 2017.

The learning landscape looks completely different today than it did five years ago. The way that learners are learning is changing dramatically: We see individuals learning in airline queues making the most of their spare time, in cafes watching a new video tutorial before they get into a meeting; in subways and buses playing a game or learning a new process with focus and intent that has not been witnessed in digital learning earlier.

Such sights represent an ever-growing tribe of learners that consume content in a way that is typical to their smartphone usage patterns. They expect content to be short and personalized and are more committed to their learning goals.
These trends indicate the need for change for both content and technology in the learning space. The need now exists for learning solution providers to visualize what has not been seen before and formulate solutions that blend modern learning with traditional and personalized learning experiences and bring these at par with contemporary mobile applications and just-in-time learning methods. We believe that big changes are inevitable and that corporations must act now to win in the long term.

Based on our research and experience of working with Fortune 100 companies in Pharma, Healthcare, Retail, Banking, and Manufacturing, we predict the 5 technology-enabled learning trends that will have a significant impact on the workplace learning ecosystem:

  1. The Growing Need For Microlearning

    Learners expect content that is consistent with the new format of digital learning, as they begin to receive content that is short, relevant, contextualized, personalized on their mobile devices. Most learning leaders identify with this trend, and yet, we have not seen a lot of instances of microlearning. That is because microlearning solutions require design and technology, which most existing platforms, authoring tools, and processes do not fully support. Most organizations today are dealing with challenges in technology infrastructure and established design best practices that prevents them from adopting microlearning quickly.
  2. The Explosion of Growth In Mobile Learning

    The biggest technological change that we are now witnessing is the use of smartphones and mobile devices for consumption of learning. We clearly see this impacting the practice of delivering interactive and engaging content. We found a number of companies using Flash in delivering content which today does not render well on hand held devices. The need to convert several if not all content built using Flash technology in a more modern and versatile HTML5 technology has thus become crucial for engagement and effectiveness.
  3. The Rise of Real World Learning

    Apart from making learning engaging and fun, there exists a need to pull out digital learning from inside the closet (read Learning Management System) and bring them closer to the real-world so that it can be accessed with ease. Augmented Reality (AR), as it has the ability to close infrastructure gaps, will have an increasing impact on how organizations can achieve that.

    Companies are now using Augmented Reality technology to increase sales effectiveness, educate customers, and establish brand recall. We can expect different AR cases and requirements over several other areas in the coming year.
  4. The Success of Gamification

    Gamification has proved to be an excellent strategy for employee engagement, with a vast majority of learning teams using gamification as a component of their digital learning strategy. Learners have spent significant time with learning materials that have used gamification techniques, thereby indicating that core principles of gaming have a big role to play in the world of learning. With these being early days, we expect the use of gamification in learning solutions to grow in the coming year.
  5. Increasing Collaboration with Social Learning

    Collaboration is becoming a mainstream tool to engage employees, enable for smarter decision-making and enhanced business outcomes. Collaborative networks are shortening the time-to-business and cutting costs to drive employee engagement and transparency. Social learning again has a clear role to play as learning teams build and deploy the modern learning technology in the organization.

    While the world ahead looks full of new opportunities, it can also appear deeply unsettling. There are changes every day in the way we are learning, communicating, and collaborating. Successful companies have always readjusted to new realities by not just keeping themselves abreast of these changes, but have found ways to ensure that their employees' skills are up-to-date and aligned to the new realities.
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