Experts have closely studied trends in e-learning, which will continue to have a prominent place in the future. The potential impact of these trends is huge.
In this article, we will give a brief overview of the trends and their significance to eLearning professionals.
#1 The definition of e-learning is a moving target
For example, in 2004, people defined e-learning as: "a broad set of technologies that support learning and performance with respect to the full range of activities in the educational process, from learning content to the individual learner and from teaching and training to assessment."
#2: It’s a new field with no clear boundaries
This is true even in the field of training and education. E-learning is an amalgamation of many different disciplines. In addition to instructional design, it involves computer programming, information technology, multimedia design, animation, graphic design and various other areas.
#3: E-learning is much more than just online training
In fact, there are very few instances where online training alone will provide the solution to a company's training needs. The e-learning market includes such diverse offerings as e-books and digital libraries (online catalogues of text, audio and video files), as well as virtual classrooms and interactive games that allow students to learn through play.
#4: E-learning is a global phenomenon
This is due to the Internet's ability to make information available from anywhere in the world at any time of day or night. Many countries have made it possible for their citizens to access the Internet at a reasonable cost. However, language remains a barrier in many cases due to a lack of translation or human translators who are not always qualified for translating technical information accurately into another language.
#5: The field of e-learning has been growing rapidly since the mid-1990s
We expect the market to continue to grow at a rate of over 20% per year for the next several years. This is due to an increase in technology and also because of the global nature of e-learning, which allows more people to participate in e-learning than traditional classroom training.
#6: E-learning encompasses all levels of education
From kindergarten through college, all students can benefit from e-learning in some way. It's also useful in adult education for professional development and for retraining displaced workers due to downsizing or outsourcing.
Companies can also use e-learning to provide continuing education for their employees as well as by individual learners who want to learn new skills or update their knowledge on various topics.
#7: The barriers between educational media are breaking down
In the past, distance learning mainly comprised correspondence courses delivered via snail mail and videos that we sent through the mail on VHS tapes or DVDs (digital video discs).
Now, with the growth of broadband Internet access, distance learning has become more interactive and less dependent on specific delivery methods such as snail mail or postal service. Distance learning has also expanded to include video conferencing, e-mail, chat rooms and blogs.
#8: It’s an interactive process
This specific trends in e-learning is due to the use of various media such as text, audio, video, animation, graphics and interactive simulations. E-learning can be useful for active learning where we expect the learner to take part actively in the learning process or passive learning where the learner can just sit back and receive information.
We can achieve interactive e-learning through self-assessment quizzes, discussion forums, and other methods that require interaction between the learner and the instructional designer or instructor.
#9: We can tailor it to fit specific needs
Some trends in e-learning allows for a high degree of customization in terms of the design of courses, as well as how we deliver them to learners. This is important because not all learners learn in the same way or at the same pace.
E-learning allows each learner to move at his or her own pace through each stage of a course. In addition, e-learning allows companies to create courses that focus on specific topics rather than trying to cover all aspects of a topic in one course due to time constraints or budget limitations.
#10: People often combine it with other technologies
E-learning is often used in conjunction with other technologies such as smartphones, e-readers and personal digital assistants (PDAs). For example, a company may provide a customized course to employees that include information that is relevant to their specific job functions. We may access the course through the company's intranet or an Internet-based learning management system (LMS).