As the year ends, we look back at three eLearning trends of 2016. What was predicted? What did you think was important? The results may surprise you.

eLearning Trends: Gamification

At the end of 2015, Gamification was the hot trend. We saw analysts predict the continued rise of gamification in 2016. However, our research has shown that associations are lukewarm on the idea of gamification. We believe this is due to skepticism on the part of education directors. After all, objectively, academic research on the topic is limited and because this trend is still relatively new, many are waiting for others to prove the concept before jumping on board.

But some research does exist. Taken from an article on the Wharton University of Pennsylvania website: Joanna Koivisto researcher for the University of Tampere Game Research lab in Finland has discovered that badges are effective tools to increase work activity. “In a long-term two-year study, the University of Tampere team found that patches (reward badges that appear when a task is completed) increased work activity at the firm. ‘In that case, we have a very clear indication that gamification was successful.’”

In that same article on innovation and gamification: Richard Landers, a professor of industrial and organizational psychology at Old Dominion University, has also found positive effects from gamification principles, specifically leaderboards. He found “strong support for leaderboards if designed appropriately in the learning context.” In his study, employees in e-learning programs used leaderboards that rewarded not just learning outcomes, but time and effort. “He noted that the use of the leaderboard caused people to return to the activity and spend more time with it. Spending more time, in turn, led to better learning performance.”

Landers also explains that leaderboards can help with goal setting. “Landers found that ‘by giving someone a leaderboard, they actually strive for the top of it even if you don’t tell them to.’ People will naturally try to compete.”

eLearning Trends Social LearningeLearning Trends: Social Learning

Another trend that was critically important in 2016 per eLearning articles and bloggers was social learning. The ability for learners to share their thoughts, discuss content, and integrate social media into their courses was deemed integral to the new learning standards. Associations seem to moderately agree with this trend.

The goal of social learning is to get learners involved with the content and engaging with their peers. Social tools within the new generation of LMSs encourage group collaboration and discussion. Training managers can now spark discussions and let learners discuss topics and concepts to solve problems collaboratively.

eLearning Trends: Mobile LearningeLearning Trends Mobile Learning

For the past few years there has been an emphasis on mobile learning, especially with the rise of the Bring your own device (BYOD) movement in learning and training. 2016 promised the rise of mobile responsive courses and delivery.

Here, we find, associations agree with this trend. When asked what feature in an LMS is most important to you, 30% said that mobile ready, responsive design was most important, second only to an up-to-date, easy to use interface at 35%.

Per, “In 2017, figures suggest that more than 90% of internet users will access online content through their phones.” Proving the need for mobile delivery of courses. The future of eLearning and online member education is mobile access for all learners anytime, anywhere, on any device.

What trends are important to your association for 2017? Looking for a mobile responsive LMS with a modern interface that’s easy to use? Check out our sneak peek webinar recording for Knowledge Direct 7.


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