9 trends in e-learning for the coming years

Developments in technology, workplaces, and learning have led to substantial changes in education. The pandemic has accelerated these changes even more.


E-learning is constantly in development too, as it is an effective way to convey knowledge. It is flexible, cost-effective, time-saving, and suitable for tech-savvy millennials and Gen-Z. To make sure that you are able to take advantage of these benefits as much as possible, it is important to stay on top of the trends. We list all of them down below, so you can use them in the development of your training strategies.


1. Mobile learning

Mobility is a vital element in our everyday lives. As the amount of mobile users grows, so does their preference for mobile learning. This is why organisations are starting to include mobile learning in their learning and development strategies more often.


This is not without reason: users consume content wherever and whenever they want to, which is why accessibility and flexibility are causing online courses to shift from ‘mobile ready’ to ‘mobile first,’ as has previously happened to websites. Instead of developing content for computer users first and then adapting it to fit mobile users, the opposite is necessary to guarantee the optimal experience for mobile users.


2. Social learning

During the first years of our lives, we learn everything we can from other people. A baby learns to speak from their parents and others around them. This is what we call social learning, and it is a phenomenon that occurs in the workplace as well, but in the form of teamwork among colleagues. It often happens in informal ways, such as through chatting, forums, and knowledge sessions. The organic nature of social learning makes it accessible, open, and cost-effective.


3. Immersive learning

Immersive learning uses ‘compelling’ technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). 


AR can be seen most often in e-learning, as it uses intriguing images and graphics to strengthen already existing material. The primary goal is to create compelling learning environments that captivate and fascinate the users. For example: an insurance company implemented AR in a training for their team of fire inspectors by covering a photo of a house with images of fire damage, and giving users a moment to train their ability to discover the source of the fire. 


VR uses 360-degree photography which gives the users the feeling that they are actually in a particular situation and interacting with it as well. Together, AR and VR are the bridge between the gap of theory and practice. 


Immersive learning is in the very early stages at the moment, but the initial results are promising. Stanford University, for example, concluded that virtual education increases its effectivity by 76%, and the American franchise Walmart saved training time by preparing their store managers for Black Friday by using VR.


4. Microlearning

Microlearning offers users content that is easy to digest and allows them to remember it as well. This is made possible by using short learning moments (2 to 10 minutes each) instead of long, text-based content, which helps users to achieve a specific goal in their learning process. Your users are therefore able to use every minute of their time effectively. 


You can offer microlearning on every device, including a computer desktop, video, and mobile. This flexibility makes it easier for users to finish a training, which is one of the most important reasons why microlearning is rising quickly in the trends.


5. The importance of soft skills

Nowadays soft skills are as important as hard skills are. Without these skills it is nearly impossible for employees to deliver great performances and find a good balance in their workplace. Skills like problem solving, communication, leadership, and teamwork have been given the priority over hard skills. Soft skills help employees adapt to and deal with the constant changes in the workplace. Curious about skills for the professional of the future? Read this blog.


6. Video-based learning

The use of video has exploded in the last few years, which is partly due to the rise of platforms like YouTube. Research find that 69% of consumers prefer watching a video to any other form of content. Participants of online courses would also rather watch demonstrations, interviews, how-tos, and instructions in video form instead of reading it in text. 


There are many reasons to assume that video is the future of learning. Firstly, video is visually appealing, interactive, realistic, and captivating which helps keep a participant’s attention. Secondly, using video allows you to benefit from other trends, such as microlearning and mobile learning, as well as VR and AR.


7. Big data en Artificial Intelligence

Big data is all about utilising data that is being collected by various systems and organisations, examples are LMS, social media, etc. Artificial Intelligence plays an essential role in this process, as AI-driven models use algorithms to collect data, like the strong and weak points, interests, and skills of a user. Analysing this data allows you to adjust the training to the unique needs of your employees, because it keeps track of the user’s progress, e.g. the mistakes they make. This will give you an insight into an employee’s learning process and the changes that need to be made to make the most out of the learning experience.


8. Gamification

We are familiar with the concept of gamification, but we predict that the trend will keep growing in the foreseeable future. Organisations create stimulating content for their employees through gamification, which then leads to successful training results. Finishing a module can, for example, be visually rewarded by giving out points, badges, or access to a new level. The goal is to motivate users by adding interim rewards and competitive elements.


9. Content curation

An online content curator collects, selects, filters, and presents any relevant content, places it in the correct context, and adds comments to it. 


There are countless of knowledge databases with plenty of information. On the one hand, this works in your users’ favour, because it means that there is more than enough information about any topic they want to learn about. On the other hand, it makes selecting relevant information far more difficult than it is supposed to be. This is where content curation steps in, because it makes it easier for your employees to find information that they need. We foresee a shift in the upcoming years, as content curation becomes the new content development.


Ready for the future

Trends come and go, but the e-learning trends that we mentioned here give us a good indication of the direction in which e-learning will go the upcoming few years. It is essential for progressive organisations to keep track of these new developments. What is possible for your organisation? And when?


Evaluate your training strategy and use trends as a guideline for any adjustments. Could you use some help with this, or are your curious how Hubper’s online learning platform fits into these trends? Our product specialists are always available to talk about your possibilities.