Emerging technologies have brought significant transformation in the corporate e-learning industry. New training methodologies combined with technology have gained increased importance among global leading corporations that recognize the strategic advantage of having competent and loyal staffs. Consequently, the concept of e-learning has been evolving during the past decades as an innovative learning solution which has proven to be as effective as traditional learning programs; best suited for millennials as well as other generations.

According to a study by Ambient Insight, the size of the eLearning market was estimated to be over USD 165 Billion in 2015 and is likely to grow by 5% between 2016 and 2023, exceeding USD 240 Billion. The reason behind the huge growth of digital learning solutions is mainly due to the use of new technologies which make learning more accessible and engaging for learners; all this at a fraction of the cost of traditional learning methods. Another main driver is people’s attitude towards learning and self-training for job-related purposes. A survey conducted Trends that will shape Digital Learning in 2017by Deloitte, revealed that the opportunity for career development is the number one priority (after salary) for millennials in the market. According to the Pew Research Center:

  • 73% adults consider themselves lifelong learners
  • 63% of those who are working (or 36% of all adults) are professional learners (that is, they have taken a course or gotten additional training in the past 12 months to improve their job skills or expertise connected to career advancement.)

Based on all these facts, the future of the e-learning industry seems to be a booming and promising one. As the industry continues to evolve, more and more organizations have recognized its advantages and are increasingly opting for e-learning solutions as a means to train and engage their employees. Due to technological developments, e-learning programs are getting more innovative with special features and interesting solutions.

The trends that are likely to shape the e-learning industry in 2017 are:

  1. Personalized e-learning programs

Gone are these days of static learning where all learners are given the same course materials. Today’s learners want a learning experience that fits their personal needs. In other words, learning personalized for them. The advent of digital learning has satisfied this need. For instance: Procurement and Supply Chain Academy provides role-based e-learning solutions based on what the employees need for their specific roles. A gap analysis is carried out prior to assigning the learning program to have an in-depth insight about where the employees need improvement. In this way, they are given a tailor-made learning plan.

Ultimately they can instantly apply what they are learning. This kind of customized learning proves to be more efficient as employees are being trained not just for the sake of doing so but to enhance their skills and knowledge to be more productive. According to the IBM report about ‘The value of training’, every dollar invested in online training results in $30 in productivity. This proves that digital training leads to employee engagement and a higher productivity rate which results in an increased in profitability.

  1. Gamification

Gamification has gained traction over the last few years. Gartner predicted that 40% of global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations by 2015. Gamification in e-learning involves the use of game theory and game mechanics in non-game contexts to create engagement in users for problem-solving. The focus is on motivating the learner to perform better. The level of engagement caused by gamification has a significant impact on the performance of learners. More organizations are currently opting for gamification solutions to upskill their employees.

In fact, the gamification industry is expected to reach $11 billion by 2020 and it has been proven to be one of the best ways to train and engage millennials. 60% of today’s workforce is comprised of millennials who love fun, transparency, competition and addiction to games. In fact 79% of students in a study said that games introduced to their learning environment would make them more productive.

  1. Scenario-based and interactive video

The use of videos in e-learning is a captivating way to train and engage employees in their training and development programs. Scenario-based videos about real life situations allow learners to feel involved in the situation described. In this way, the latter can easily grasp the essence of the topic and apply the knowledge directly to his job. Studies show that 40% of people respond to visual information better than to plain text and are 60,000 times faster to process visual data than text. The Cisco VNI Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020, has revealed that by 2020, videos will be responsible for 80% of internet traffic around the world. Therefore, investing in video learning can prove to be highly beneficial to maximize the performance of learners. Effective video training tends to have a high rate of retention among learners.

  1. Microlearning

Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in short spurts of learning, in bite-sized chunks. This way of learning is growing in popularity and the reason behind this growth is mainly because of the majority of learners who are millennials. By 2015, millennials will make 75% of the workforce. Microlearning proves to be the most effective way to train millennial employees since their average attention span is 90 seconds. Microlearning videos are usually four minutes or less.

These short but content-rich videos allow learners to stay engaged throughout the duration of the video compared to one hour of video learning which proves to be exhausting and less engaging. Microlearning is straight to the point and very intense; this kind of content allows learners to grasp important information in a short span of time, without losing their attention. Besides, they are accessible on multiple devices (smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktops) which make it an ideal fit for just-in-time training.

  1. Mobile Learning

Studies have revealed that 70% learners access their learning content via mobile. This explains the prediction of the growing popularity of mobile learning which will continue to rise in 2017. MarketsandMarkets forecasts the Global mobile learning market to grow from $7.98 billion in 2015 to $37.60 billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 36.3%. North America is expected to be the largest market in terms of market size, while Europe and Asia-Pacific are expected to experience an increase in market traction during the forecast period.

According to a research by Docebo,the latest innovations in mobile learning next-generation location based learning, real time performance and decision support, mobile learning value added services and most recently, augmented reality mobile learning. Again the rise of mobile learning is associated with millennials; 87% of them reveal that their smartphones never leave their sides. For instance, innovative learning solution providers have adapted their learning programs to be mobile friendly through responsive content.

Conclusion

The emergence of new technologies has led to more innovative forms of learning. Digital learning is taking the lead with a higher rate of engagement and distinctiveness. The new era of millennials which will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, find themselves more acquainted to these forms of learning which explains the growing popularity of e-learning solutions. Organizations are increasingly opting for it as part of their training and development programs to create significant business value through increased learning outcome.