4 online training trends to consider in 2016

Business leaders and learners are demanding more from the learning initiatives they commission and consume. Let’s look at four important online training trends you need to consider in 2016.

online training trends

Organizations want to see greater returns from their Learning and Development (L&D) investment, and learners expect high levels of engagement and quality of the online products in which they participate.

Here are four current online training trends that demonstrate this.

1. Bite-sized learning


Bite-sized elearning events are small, self-contained elearning events, which typically run for between 1 and 15 minutes, and are usually focused on one or two tightly defined learning objectives. There are two very good reasons why this trend is gaining popularity.

Firstly, learners like it. One study from the Rapid Learning Institute showed that 94% of learners prefer modules of less than 10 minutes in duration (particularly for soft skill topics), and 65% said that most elearning modules were bloated with too much information.

Secondly, bite-sized modules are flexible. A great example of this flexibility is the JJCV Eye Care Practitioners course, built using  Elucidat’s elearning authoring tool. This course contains a number of accredited 10-minute nuggets, each one allowing time-poor eye care professionals to accumulate Continuing Education and Training (CET) points necessary for their ongoing professional registration. The success of this program would have been difficult to achieve with a more conventional ‘long-program’ approach.

2. Mobile learning


Mobile learning is something that can’t be ignored. Some predictions put smartphones into the hands of 90% of UK adults by 2016, and already show 91% of the US population using smartphones via fast 3G/4G connectivity. This penetration, and the always-on / always-available nature of mobile devices, makes them a great vehicle for bite-sized elearning and performance-support materials.

Sometimes, a workforce doesn’t have desktop or laptop devices to access training. This case study from Utility Warehouse describes how their learning, which was optimized for mobile delivery, reached 46,000 learners, 15 percent of whom accessed it on smartphones and 16 percent on tablet computers.

The sophistication of tools like Elucidat’s authoring platform, that put the power to create mobile learning directly in the hands of Subject Matter Experts, can only accelerate the move towards mobile learning.

3. Gamification


Gamification of a process or system is the application of game-design principles to it, for example the allocation of points, badges, or status gained through perseverance or mastery of a skill. When applied well, gamification motivates participants to exhibit certain desired behaviors.

L&D (and other business units) are increasingly leveraging this psychology to make their initiatives more engaging and effective. Gartner predicted that, by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that have managed innovation processes will gamify them.

An example of gamification you’ll be familiar with is loyalty systems. These work by motivating you to build points and possibly status within the ‘tribe’ (other members) by exhibiting certain behaviors — typically making purchases through particular vendors!

In learning, the behaviors that gamification usually promotes include enthusiastic learner participation and a perseverance to do well, perhaps trying and retrying to better an earlier score. Like our loyalty example, the motivation comes by building points, status, or esteem — but through the participation of learning initiatives rather than by spending money.

Elements of decision making, challenge, and replay-ability are usually parts of gamified learning. Connect with Haji Kamal, by Kinection, is an example of an interactive scenario that challenges the learner to make critical decisions that directly affect the scenario’s outcome. This replay-ability encourages learners to experiment with different choices and to improve with each pass through the learning process.

4. Data analytics


Understanding how your learners interact with your learning initiatives is the first step in ensuring that your learning content is efficient and meets their needs.

For example, imagine that 85 percent of the learners taking a course are passing with a minimum pass mark of 75 percent. As an L&D manager, you might think that is pretty good, and that the course is doing its job. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Imagine that you had more detail than just an overall score. What if you could see that 100 percent of the learners got the same four questions wrong? This should start ringing alarm bells! Are the quiz questions to blame, or is there something ambiguous in the course content? Maybe the course design is making assumptions about prior knowledge that learners don’t actually possess? Whatever the reason, the learners are spending (wasting) time with flawed materials.

Emerging technologies like the xAPI standard (aka Tin Can) and Google Analytics, coupled with ever-more sophisticated analysis and visualization software, enable you to see in detail how learners are using your courses. Imagine the ability to identify that most learners are spending too much time on a simple learning concept. Why is that? Maybe the content is more complicated than it needs to be or there’s a problem with the course navigation? Perhaps a simple change to the content will save hours of learner time and frustration.

It’s only through the capture and close examination of data that these sorts of problems are exposed, so that real efficiencies can be made.

In conclusion

The great news about these innovations is that the tools that enable them are becoming more powerful, more readily available, and easier to use all the time.

There’s no reason why you can’t take these ideas and experiment with them in your organization today.

Next step: Get the little book that every online training provider is talking about!

This playbook will teach you how to take advantage of these online training trends so you can produce and sell more online training.

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold is Customer Success Director at Elucidat. He helps large companies and training providers speed up and simplify their elearning authorin
Steve Penfold
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