What is next for learning management systems?
Competition among eLearning providers, and specifically learning management systems, will be stronger than ever in 2016. When it comes to learning something new, people of all ages and backgrounds are empowered by the multitude of resources available online. No matter what your need, you’ll find a resource online. If you want to learn something simple like tying a knot on a fishing line, there are hundreds of videos on YouTube. Or, if your need is more complex like learning a new skill, you can choose from thousands of online courses.
At iCohere, we turned to our existing clients, forecasts in technological advancements and learner feedback to predict eLearning trends for 2016. Here’s a look at a few of the most important priorities.
ELearning will become even more on the go and on-demand in 2016 as learners are leaning toward training options that accommodate mobile devices. Organizations offering online learning or professional development will need to meet learner demands to remain competitive.
In the article, Is Your Association Ready for Next Generation eLearning, Consultant Dr. Amanda Batson refers to the increase in mobile demand as next generation eLearning and says, “We are to the point where eLearning moves across platforms. It’s on the go. It can be online but the users determine where they want to participate in the eLearning.”
Personalized, Customizable Content
eLearning is transitioning from a one-course-fits-all approach to a learner-centric approach where the experience is customized to the unique needs of the learner. Learners will seek resources that are tailored to their specific learning needs. Every aspect of eLearning from how the content appears to the learner, to what mode or device they prefer, what supplemental materials they need, how it is delivered, to personalized content, will continue to be more important.
While online learning is more cost-effective in some aspects, there are still significant costs associated with developing high quality eLearning programs. Program developers are seeking ways to reuse the learning assets to improve the return on investment (ROI). What we saw more of in 2015 and expect to advance further in 2016 is a focus on reusable assets. Webinars are being transformed into self-paced online courses. Courses are being updated and organized into full, on-demand online conferences. Content from in-person events is being recorded and repurposed for an eLearning program revenue stream.
More Powerful Engagement Metrics
With the investment organizations are making in developing eLearning programs, we find that leadership is seeking a better sense of ROI and engagement, specifically from the intersection of online courses, webinars and communities. Decision makers want to see more customizable, integrated data (aka “big data”) analysis behind all these programs to ensure the content is meeting learner demand. In addition to data, a clear path to analyzing and benchmarking the competition will be critical.
Longstanding programs can somewhat rely on their past successes and word-of-mouth exposure as part of the marketing component, but a new eLearning program will require a solid marketing campaign to draw new learners and compete with all of the other options. Program designers are seeking ways to integrate online marketing channels such as customizing and personalizing registration landing pages, and using social media and video marketing to draw a larger audience.
Deeper Database Integration
For the association industry, learning management systems will need to include deeper integration capabilities with all the major member database systems. Because of this demand, some of the key database system companies have begun acquiring learning management system software.
As with all technology, the eLearning industry is fast-paced and changes are rapid. While these predictions are a good indicator of what to expect in 2016, we are confident even more will be revealed.
Lance Simon is the VP of Client and Government Solutions with iCohere. iCohere is an All-in-One platform for professional learning and collaboration, supporting virtual conferences, courses, and learning communities.
Written with Jo Lynn Deal.