By now, I am sure most of us have gotten into the flow of the new year, and we are officially done with the “Monday” of 2017.
Over the last couple of years, we have been seeing a great amount of evolution surrounding the concept of eLearning and 2017 will be no different.

Think you’ve seen it all when it comes to your online courses?
Think again. We’ve put together a list of the most enticing trends and predictions for 2017.

If you’re as much of an online geek and fan of eLearning and the convenience that it provides as we are, you’re sure to be just as excited over what has been predicted to make waves in the industry in 2017.

If you haven’t hopped onto the online learning bandwagon, then this may just be your year to get with the program and realise your full potential in one or more of the exciting online learning channels available.

Here’s a list of what to look out for this year.

#1 Smarter, bigger data

Thanks to the years that eLearning has been building its name as an industry, millions of people have become students on the internet. Trends can be identified by analysing the massive amount of data at our disposal. This data can and will be used to develop a system for learning where the trends of previous learners can be used to analyse the most effective methods.

Over the past few years, so many forms of online learning have come into play, and with this comes all the insightful data they have gathered. All of this data can be used smartly to create more personalised and rewarding experiences for every learner. We can expect to see more and more courses showing different content based on the answers and engagement from the learner. For example, a learner who picked option A as opposed to option B as their answer will see the next part of the course differently to the learner who chose option B. This is an example of the type of personalisation we can start to expect from online learning, and by using the available data smartly, the personalisation opportunities are endless.

#2 Two-Way Communication

We have seen an increasing amount of institutions and companies create learner portals, apps, interactive quizzes, polls, questionnaires and more. All of these are mediums for the lecturer to receive communication from the learner, instead of the learner simply digesting the course content. This 2-way communication provides valuable insight into the needs of modern learners and allows for online education to be molded around these needs. This to and fro communication further expands the learner-base and effectiveness of the course.
In 2017, we should see more courses allow for this type of input from its learners. When learners are able to engage with their course educators at this level, it is not only beneficial for the educator. Lecturers will be able to use this information to improve the course and to gauge the level at which their learners are understanding the subject matter and whether they are benefiting from the content. Many courses now also provide students with the opportunity to see how their fellow students, colleagues or friends are performing in the course compared to themselves, or allow for learners to compare opinions providing an open forum for social learning. This is said to become a large part of eLearning in 2017. Because no two learners are the same, each will have a unique and personal experience by being able to express their thoughts and opinions.

We all want to feel special, don’t we?

#3 Video

Of all the forms of content out there, video has become an unbeatable force to reckon with. It is predicted that by 2019, video will be responsible for 80% of all internet search traffic globally,  and what’s more, it is expected that by 2019 users will share almost one million minutes of video content every second. There is no doubt in the popularity of video content, and this has also translated into online education. You will find newer courses being presented as videos or webinars. We have seen a rapid increase in this in the last year and by the looks of those statistics, in this year educators will find only more innovative ways to make use of videos within their course content.

#4 Microlearning

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, micro-learning is a method used by online educators to help learners take in the information more effectively by presenting the content in smaller bits. The amount of information given is according to the average human attention span as well as the amount of information we can successfully retain at a time.
More of these microlearning courses will appear in this new year after how well it has been received the world over.
Microlearning will not just remain a trend, but possibly a standard as it allows for short focused study sessions. It caters to what our brains are able to handle and provides learners with a sense of accomplishment when they are able to complete a lesson while on a lunch break.

#5 Mobile Learning

In the last 5 years, we have seen a climb in the number of courses offering device flexibility. In the coming years, we are able to expect full responsiveness from online courses across a multitude of training needs. Content and courses will now be optimised to adapt to the device it is being viewed on.
The rise of mobile learning, or mLearning, will also be greatly beneficial to the educators as this will draw more students to their course.

Obviously. Who wants to whip out a laptop when you’re on a 5-minute break?

#6 Learning Apps

The introduction of apps into the online learning industry is probably one of the most fun, flexible and effective means of presenting a course. In this year, we will see even more of an uprise in the use of apps for both formal and informal learning.
Presenting material through a learning app opens up various possibilities that benefit learners. With apps, educators are able to send push notifications as reminders, have a highly engaging course since applications encourage interaction, allow students to create to-do lists and schedules, share their progress and so much more. The sky truly is the limit with what mobile apps can offer in terms of eLearning.
Many corporations, learning institutions and independent educators have caught on to the hype and 2017 will only show more progression into app learning.

What do you need? There’s an app for that.

#7 YouTube

Since being founded in 2005 by 3 previous PayPal employees, YouTube has evolved to become the company we know and love today. With 1,300,000,000 users (source), it’s no doubt that YouTube deserves a spot on this list. With free access to all the content, and 3.25billion hours of video watched every month, YouTube is any online learner’s go-to spot to learn how to do just about anything. YouTube is also growing in popularity among online educators since it provides a platform where beginner lectures can be uploaded. Videos like these are beneficial for both the lecturer and learner. Learners are able to have instant gratification when studying a beginner topic by having free access to the videos, and the lecturer is able to get exposure as well as engagement from possible future students who are willing to pay to learn about more advanced topics.

Thanks, YouTube. You are lit, fam (I think that’s what the kids on YouTube say). No?


#8 Non-Traditional Credentials

Gone are the days where you are only recognised if you have a shiny laminated degree from a gloriously overpriced university. In recent years, companies have started offering new types of credentials to learners such as digital badges for achievements, certificate programs bearing the company’s name as recognition and more.

Most of us are not fortunate enough to live in a country where higher education is provided free of charge making it that much harder to afford the education needed to aim for our dream jobs. For this reason, the recognition and creation of “micro-credentials” afford us the opportunity to strive for further education at much lower costs. Micro-credentials are increasingly being recognised by hiring companies should these micro-credentials bear the name of a reputable company.

In 2017, experts predict, colleges and universities will begin offering more micro-credentials. An example of this would be the option to study a portion of a degree, with the option to complete the full degree at a later stage and most likely at a reduced cost.

#9 Gamification

The gamification of education, something that is stereotypically seen as boring, has made waves worldwide. This one is also much more than a fad. Even though it is nothing new, more companies are now creating a “game-like” experience for learners. The technique has been tried and tested, yielding great results and has been proven to increase learner engagement and retention rates.

Gamification provides learners with constant encouragement by means of instant reward and continuous feedback on all progress made. All this while allowing them to have fun while doing it. This combination has a powerful psychological effect and keeps learners from stopping or becoming discouraged.

Life is already so serious, we might as well make the important stuff fun.

#10 Specialised Online Degrees

This prediction is probably one of my favourites. We are starting to see more specialised degree courses being developed to cater to students’ specific career requirements. Specialised disciplines such as data analytics, cyber security, digital marketing and much more have started to surface as degree courses. Best of all, the majority of these specialised courses are being launched online.

These unique and specific disciplines give individuals the chance to learn what is truly needed for their career or career change. We can expect to start seeing credentials offered such as a bachelor’s degree in real estate instead of needing to study for a more general degree such as marketing or business administration.

Want to be a professional gamer? Food tester? Mattress Comfort Specialist? There will probably be a course for that. Stay tuned.

Let us know what you would like to see as a new development in eLearning, or even what you would like to see right here on our SEO Course.

‘Til next time,
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.

Yours in digital,
iMod Education