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Jan 2008

Elearning Predictions 2008

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Shaping the future of learning

If there’s one thing you can predict with absolute certainty in elearning, it’s that there will be quite a few prediction lists doing the rounds in January. We hate to be left out….

We’ve gone back to some of the experts who did such a fine job of predicting e-learning for us in 2007 to see if they can keep their game up for 2008.

For your futuristic pleasure, here are their thoughts. Set a reminder for 31 December and check back to see how they did.

Before they get their lists out in, here are a few from us

  1. Rapid elearning will become the default choice for all organisations looking to deliver effective elearning at speed. As the economy teeters it will become even more important to get more for less from training budgets; the downturn will hit high-priced providers.
  2. Open source LMSs like Moodle will be the first choice for organisations. Nobody will think that big hulking commercial LMSs are a good place to start, or continue.
  3. Elearning will get smaller: from multi-hour monoliths to the one minute message, and from chained to the desktop to a further upsurge in mobile usage. Rapid for the learner as well as the developer.
  4. Sharing is the new winning. Blogs, wikis, social networking and collaboration tools enable and encourage further sharing. Rather than hoarding information and knowledge, the smartest people will continue to share and give it away. The winners will collaborate.

And now from the panel:

Jane Hart: doing it for herself…

  1. Continued rise in interest and demand for open source and free tools
  2. DIY e-learning creators using a larger range of tools to create “short bursts” of e-learning (both informational and instructional) in different formats and using different media
  3. An increase in the use of video in e-learning as it becomes easier to create, host and deliver
  4. More embedding of these “short bursts” of e-learning into the workflow for performance support - really making them “just-in-time” and “on demand”
  5. Self-managed learning (i.e. determining what you learn, when and how) being seen as acceptable for certain groups of employees – who use the tools of their own choice to organise their formal and informal learning rather than having them enforced upon them

Jane Hart runs the Centre for Learning Performance Technologies

Charles Jennings: we’re all creators now…

1. Further move away from focus on learning content, and learning content delivery to provision of services.

2. Increased focus on relationships and relationship management throughout the L&D supply chain. Fewer, stronger partnerships.

3. Increased focus on learning outputs, particularly performance improvement, at the expense of the embedded view of training/learning as the end-point of the process.

4. Move to more co-creation of learning content using Web 2.0 and rapid development tools - Involving users, learning teams in organisations, individual experts, and specialist learning content development companies in equal measure. This will result in L&D organisations forging closer relationships with both their customers and with upstream suppliers - moving relationships from the 'customer-supplier' model to a 'co-creators' model. It will also result in a decline in supplier domination of content creation.

5. Increased focus by L&D professionals on tools that support and promote employee development and productivity in a world of increasing tacit interactions. Use in L&D context of technology supporting collaboration - virtual team environments, wikis, web and video conferencing, and blogs- will grow during 2008. This growth will also support increased co-creation.

6. Further decline in the use of generic eLearning libraries and corresponding increased focus on 'bite-sized' bespoke disposable learning content delivered through Performance Support and other tools.

Charles Jennings is Global Head of Learning at Reuters

Donald Clark - The geeks shall inherit the earth

"I don’t make predictions, and I never will" said Glen Hoddle. That was before he found God (must have been one hell of a pass) and now he’s predicted the return of Christ and an Apocalypse! Standing on the shoulder of this giant I have both given up predicting changes in education and training. It’s become a futile exercise, because nothing changes, apart from the technology.

Like Glen I thank God for technology. Forget all those learning professionals who prattle on about it NOT being about the ‘technology’ but the ‘learning’. I predict that there will be, yet again, no significant shift in education and training away from outdated practice supported by fossilised theories. There will be no change on this front because education and training has now become its own worst enemy, still hopeless and hapless in its attachment to the classroom, course, competences and all the trappings of behaviourism. A training magazine or conference is no different now than it was 20 years ago – same old boring topics and talk – learning styles, coaching, compliance and diversity training, NLP, break-out sessions, Maslow, Gagne, Kirkpatrick. I nearly fell asleep typing that last sentence. In education and training every year is Groundhog Year. 2008 will be no different.

So what about technology? The real change in learning is coming from the deep driver that is the internet and then the wonders of consumer technology. The learning landscape has been transformed by Google (in the widest sense), Wikipedia (wikis in widest sense), iPODS, iPHONES, blackberries, wireless, cheap laptops, huge TVs, games (DX, Wii, Brain Training etc) and social networking. My faith lies with Generation Y and the Millennials. They are moving into the workforce and with their optimistic, media-savvy, empowered view of life, with the help of technology they’ll change the world for themselves. Long live the geeks, for they shall inherit the earth.

Donald Clark is a board member of Ufi and frequent blogger at

Gabe Anderson: slightly biased but that’s ok….

1) "Articulate will dominate." This sentiment was originally noted by Tony Karrer on his blog, then echoed by me on my blog. I'm obviously biased, but I can say based on what I know about our products currently in development and those planned for development that we're going to continue leading the e-learning industry with our innovative authoring tools that are extremely powerful and easy to use. Keep your eyes on us this year; I think you're going to like what you see!

2) Thanks to improved ease of use of e-learning authoring tools and great design blogs like Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid E-Learning Blog, e-learning content will start to look a lot better and stop looking like it was built in the early 1990s.

3) Video and "show me" screen recording will continue to become a key part of training. Many Articulate customers already embed video in the context of their Articulate Presenter courses, so I predict that this trend will only continue in popularity.

4) With the introduction of the iPhone, mobile Web browsing, and the ever-increasing popularity of video sharing sites like YouTube (and Flickr's rumored plans to add video upload), more and more learning will happen on the go. Amazon's e-book reader, Kindle, will help propel the learning on the go trend.

5) We'll see a rise of subject matter experts creating ecommerce membership sites for selling training content. Since we launched Articulate Online in January 2007, one of the most popular questions we get is how to integrate it with an ecommerce site. Many of our customers are not necessarily working in training departments in big companies -- they're experts on a particular topic (from medicine to aviation) who use our tools to create e-learning that they're selling to their customers for recurring revenue.

Gabe Anderson is Director of Customer Support at Articulate

Laura Overton: from traction to action

I am not sure that 2008 will see any really wild changes in learning and technology – I think that perhaps the main shift for 2008 will be the way that L&D professionals use these tools to position themselves as a business partner rather than just a training provider. The pressure continues to increase on L&D professionals to create interventions that really align with the changing business environment. Building credibility as a potential partner to address critical business needs will be important for any L&D professional in 2008 - not only those based in companies but also those who are in our further and higher education institutions. The tools and techniques that started to gain traction in 2007 ( rapid application tools, use of open source tools, the role of informal learning, collaboration etc) will be increasingly important in 2008 as the L&D profession becomes more ‘business savvy’ in the way that they position their offerings to meet the needs of employers. I would look to 2008 to be the year that ‘relevance’, ‘speed’, ‘responsiveness’, ‘business impact’ and ‘efficiency’ become the norm in the vocabulary of L&D professionals rather than the exception.

Laura Overton is the director of e-learning at e-skills UK

You can find some further commentary from industry experts at



Shaping the future of learning

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