Trends towards on-screen learning

It is true to say that online distance-learning courses are on the increase. Perhaps in part, or more than that, because of advancements in technology; the tools are becoming ever more readily available and affordable to facilitate sophisticated peer-reviewed online programmes to be developed. See my related post regarding the prototype O-Programme being developed by Microsoft for example.

Is this trend also, in part, due to the human race’s increased mobilisation, creating a need to study anywhere at any time? Also, in a society where we are encouraged to constantly better ourselves and strive towards better roles in employment there is an increased demand for e-learning courses, particularly for professional development.

I undertook some research focused on finding out a bit more about what’s hot in online learning at the moment. I hereby cite a number of industry experts and their opinions and experience on what will be the trends in 2016:

Cyril AndersonInstructional Designer

Cyril sees the hot topics of 2016 being ‘Just in time’ eLearning courses along with those that offer informal learning. Delivered as short, self contained corporate training modules.

In addition Cyril sees the increasing rise of MOOCs as platforms for continuing professional development (CPD). Cyril quotes Udacity and Udemy as companies at the forefront of these movements. I need to spend more time reviewing these two company to see how my practical work aligns with them both.

Interestingly Cyril also states that programs that deliver seamlessly integrated experiences across multi-devices and multi-screens are going to be on-trend. Devices that would be integrated to deliver eLearning will include:

  • Desktop pc’s
  • Tablets and mobile phones
  • Wearable technology, e.g. a watch (augmented reality)
  • In-car entertainment
  • Home entertainment consoles.

I would also mention glasses here as another form of wearable technology that could integrate with other e-Learning devices.


Dan ShafferS4 NetQuest CEO and co-founder

“I expect to see (a) trend toward delivering “just enough” coupled with “just in time” with significantly  more flexibility for deeper dives and/or widening scope; i.e. a lot more intelligent e-learning modules.”

My thoughts on this are: ‘just enough/in time’ is relevant for professional development perhaps and certainly commercially viable but not suitable for general education or indeed deep-learning.


Dipak sees the following as being key to evolving trends in e-learning:
1. Virtual Reality (VR)
2. Video-based learning

3. Mobile Learning
In a recent survey on the E-Learning, 88% of respondents thought they needed or said they absolutely needed their LMS to have mobile learning capabilities for tablet devices.
Only 10% of companies are heavy users of mobile learning functionality.  Expect that to change over the next few months as, not only are companies signaling an increased focus on mobile learning apps, but wider structural changes are happening as well. Almost 2 billion mobile phones are expected to ship in 2015 (compared to just 270 million PCs) and with such market penetration and with people using smart phones more than PCs to access the internet, this can only mean a bigger importance for mobile.
4. Social Media Learning
“Companies are using discussion forums, document sharing and blogs but they aren’t generally using video or micro-blogs—which are more effective—to improve their learning functions.”
5. Individualization
This goes beyond Personal Learning Environments, and into offering multiple paths for individual learners to complete a single training objective…
… Driven by Millennials’ desire for flexibility, and a results-oriented culture looking to make training time as effective as possible, expect 2015 to be the year more employers move away from one-size-fits all videos and recorded presentations, and towards individualized eLearning.
I have not considered the concept of eLearning through social media to date so this is something new to me and something I will look into further in terms of whether I can integrate this into my Practice 1 work. Some of my earlier blogs discuss the concept of individualisation, in particular I am looking at customisation of learning programme designs based on colour preferences.
My final point to note is something for me to really be mindful of going forward. E-learning by definition involves remote and potentially isolated learning. There is much to be said for the value seen in face-to-face collaboration between students and their peers and mentors. I am very keen to successfully design an e-learning concept that blends remote learning with human interaction.

(Accessed 29.12.15)
(Accessed 29.12.15)
(Accessed 01.01.16)



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