Post Brexit and Trump, they say after 2016 things will never be the same. But when it comes to the much more vexed question of what are the trends in digital learning, from a content point of view, expect more of the same! To name a few: social, curation, personalised, micro learning, VR, AR, xAPI and apps.
The world of online workplace learning is a funny one. On the one hand, it has this patina of being about fast-paced change, of being cutting edge, of having ‘trends’, being ‘innovative’ etc. But in reality it’s a fundamentally cautious industry when it actually comes to how learning content is designed and delivered; especially when compared with how most people use technology day-to-day, and how they like to consume their content.
In fact I’d go so far as to say our industry lags behind the times – for various reasons I’ll mention shortly. Adapt, for example, is wonderfully democratic in enabling interactive learning content to be consumed on all devices, and yet despite the phenomenally wide use of smartphones, very little Adapt content is actually consumed on ‘mobiles’. It’s not uncommon to hear it said that learners don’t/won’t consume learning content on their phones. But what’s that actually based on?
Apps too are commonplace in our lives, yet - and I may be missing something here - they haven’t taken off yet in workplace learning. Nor video really. When you consider the staggering amount of video content on You Tube and its use in social media, the amount of workplace learning video content is miniscule.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this. It is the way of the world, and there are lots of practical reasons in play; chief of which is the corporate requirement to track and record scores and completion, not to mention the significant investment in learning management systems, or the simple fact that most smart phones are personal and paid for privately.
So in 2017, as we continue to explore the hit list at the top of this blog, I reckon it’ll be more of the same but in a good way! We’ll continue the trend towards the admirable ‘resources not courses’ approach where content is delivered to be consumed as and when it’s required – potentially in smaller chunks than before.
The rise and rise of resources
Although the concept has been around for some years now, our clients now seem to have really bought into it. And encouragingly there also appears to be an appetite for those ‘resources’ to be presented in all sorts of different multimedia formats. So expect more very short films - animations and video, including interactive video. Anything you see on the web, online, is more likely than ever to shape the way we present and deliver learning content.
Expect less emphasis solely on the written word and more emphasis on creative approaches to the use of multimedia, especially what can be achieved cost effectively with self-generated content such as selfie videos, or guerrilla style films, repurposed video or podcasts. These, like web content, are all becoming more ‘mature’ ways of presenting content and therefore more acceptable for corporate learning.
So expect what is written to be less like formal training and closer to informal web copy, along with a continuing trend towards ‘less is more’. There’s still some way to go with this. I have a feeling that all this will take us to a good place for the next chapter towards the end of the year and into 2018, because we, that’s us and our clients, will be in the habit of creating content that’s much more contemporary in terms of media, being digestible, bite-sized, portable, flexible and there when you need it.
It would also be nice to think that a chunk of this content will be curated, but maybe that’s a different discussion.
As you like it
It’s all about learning solutions – delivery and content – that’s less about learning and more about just-in-time information at the point of need, more like resource based performance support.
Nothing we haven’t heard of before! And there you have it. 2017? Much like 2016 I reckon. But, like I said, in a good way!