Learning should be a constant in anyone’s life, that’s for sure. But the way in which knowledge is delivered, processed and further turned into skills is not constant at all, but on the contrary, it is exposed to the requirements and expectations of an ever changing society. Moreover, during the last year, the eLearning fields turned from being slightly used to being a whole new industry that is growing every year. So, what should we expect from it this year? How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected and impacted this field? What are the new needs of the end users? How do they use eLearning platforms? What are their challenges? What’s the place of eLearning in any organization?
The eLearning industry has exponentially grown starting with the covid-19 pandemic, as everything has moved in a virtual environment, which turned out to be a huge challenge for everyone. Most of the companies haven’t expected such a change and were not ready to train their employees online. Now, two years into the pandemic, organisations have got used to these new requirements and eLearning already exists in most companies.
So, what’s next? According to Julie Dirksen, Learning Strategist and the author of “Design for How People Learn” and Karl Kapp, Ed.D., Professor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University and the author of “The Gamification of Learning,” one of the things that we should all do in 2022 when it comes to learning is to find efficient ways to connect better with the learners.
"Now that we aren’t in the emergency mode about moving everything online, we need to be more thoughtful about how we are constructing online learning experiences. I think it’s always useful to ask ‘What are people missing if none of the learning is face-to-face?’ and ‘How do we accomplish some of those things in online and virtual spaces?’", said Julie Dirksen.
She also talks about the fact that companies that invest in eLearning platforms should know what the learners do at every step of the learning process, in order to have some insights on what should be improved from the perspective of the training process.
"I think the most important LMS and authoring tool features are ones that allow us to interact more with the users. How can we understand what our users are doing in our eLearning? And how can we respond to them? Also, how can they interact with each other?", Julie said.
And we totally agree with this. First of all, LMSs should encourage interaction in every form, as it increases the engagement in the learning process and it motivates learners to gather more and more knowledge. At Knolyx, we also believe that interaction should be present at the level of the learning community, which is way the feature of communities of practice was implemented, to create a safe environment for knowledge exchange and ideas sharing.
Also, learners expect a lot from an eLearning platform and they want to learn more, but in less time, to have access to learning resources anytime, to absorb knowledge faster than ever before, which is a challenge for both the eLearning providers and the instructional designers who need to create content faster and more adapted to the nowadays requirements and learning preferences. Thus, according to Tom McDowall, Chief Learning Geek at Evolve Learning Design, the biggest challenge is for the instructional designers, as he mentioned:
"I’m already seeing an increased desire for rapid deployment of digital content. So, timelines will shrink and IDs/developers will have to play on their project management skills a lot more. I also think there is an openness to modalities not used much before. Video, podcast, email, and HTML pages will see a big uptake – time to dust off those media productions skills."
Thus, the biggest challenges for the eLearning providers is to engage learners, to keep them motivated and to make them understand that learning in an online environment is still learning, and even if it might be harder than traditional trainings at first, it gets better once you discovered how you can make the most of all the learning tools available.
Some (final) thoughts
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