With the year’s end drawing near, I wanted to look ahead at some of the key trends that I think we will see more of in 2015. Let me know what you think.
- Virtual Classrooms
Virtual classrooms incorporate all aspects that media can provide – it can include accessibility (mobile, tablet, and computer users can all participate in virtual classrooms), and you have the freedom to use multimedia techniques as well as traditional tools, such as the whiteboard, application sharing, audio, interactive tools, videos, and breakout rooms. It promotes learning and encourages collaboration between users. Synchronous eLearning is usually faster to design and implement than asynchronous eLearning, making this valuable for both organizations using virtual classrooms and users alike. Maximize the potential of virtual classrooms by encouraging users to be active learners, collaborate with others, and overall enhance employee training methods. If employees are actively involved and enjoy the experience, it may accelerate the learning process.
- Video Learning
Video learning is increasingly gaining support in a time where technology reigns. Learners know what to expect from video learning and are able to go at their own pace. Furthermore, it is accessible. There are widespread video recording and editing tools, so that creating content is simple for almost anyone. Smartphones have video creating capabilities, PowerPoint slides can be saved as videos, and editing programs are built into our computers as well as YouTube. The possibilities are endless, and it is becoming easier to produce videos – many are favoring the easygoing animation style, which is not only easy to produce, but elicits positive responses from learners as well. Since video training is so flexible in terms of access and being able to move forward at your own pace, this is an ideal strategy for employee training. This will allow employees to be more independent, see what is expected, and move along in training at whatever point they feel comfortable.
Moreover, there are several developments that are likely to be seen in 2015. With the increased creation of high quality video based courses, there will be a need for increased space to accommodate for videos. Video hosting and usage is inexpensive and many video host companies will continue to impose competitive price pressure on video hosting. More companies are also creating development tools that allow for interactive video based learning content, and tools supporting Learning Analytics. With these new tools being released, interactive video options are more viable than before, further improving upon employee training. Videos can include quizzes, closed captioning and interactive transcripts, and multimedia layering to enhance the learning experience, making it incredibly valuable for employee training.
- Mobile Learning
Mobile Learning has already gained popularity in 2014 and will continue on this track for 2015, as seen with the release of the Enterprise Mobile Store from Qualcomm. It is widely used in companies already. According to American Ambient Insight Report 2011, 39% of businesses use mobile learning, with a predicted growth rate of 29.3% in US organizations (like IBM, Kraft and Pepsi). This increased adoption shows how valuable mobile learning is for employee training.
Mobile learning can improve productivity, provide more dynamic and interactive learning experiences, and promotes ease of access. Users can access training programs from anywhere, at any time. mLearning also allows for multimedia learning, allowing users to read, listen, and watch videos, include gamification and social media. Furthermore, the smaller screen size of phones forces developers to organize training and text into chunks. While this may seem like a downfall, it actually allows learners to internalize material well, as learners tend to remember information in components, rather than long walls of text. This accessibility allows users to check their training frequently and employee training is boosted significantly, as seen by the Maturity Benchmark Study 2012-2013, which observed that 29% of mobile users agree that learners apply their knowledge from training quickly, as compared to the 24% of non-mobile users. Alongside with the fact that IDC predicts that about 1.3 billion workers (or 37.2% of the global workforce) will be using mLearning, that allows them to collaborate with colleagues from whatever location, it is easy to see why mLearning is valuable to employee training.
- Social Learning
Social learning focuses on the collaborative aspect of learning, rather than the traditional individualistic methods usually used. Social learning not only facilitates collaboration, it enhances the fundamental level required from employee training – participation. Social aspects of learning make employees more likely to want to participate in training.
Users can participate in lessons whenever they choose, and since social learning takes place on an online platform, this means that they can engage with users globally. This increases the chance that they will be able to interact with others. Moreover, it allows users to build upon others ideas and leads to more innovative breakthroughs. This is evident in Wikipedia, which relies on social learning and participation. Social media can also be used to ask and answer questions, and overall, extend employee training beyond a formal setting, allowing users to interact with training processes more frequently and internalize it better. It promotes collaboration, improvement in social interaction, flexible and elicits enthusiasm in users, making it a highly valuable strategy.
- Big Data
Big Data allows companies to keep track of learning processes and gauge what is working in employee training and what isn’t. Big Data can be incorporated with cloud-based platforms, allowing for immediate feedback and real-time updates. Many users can access it and decide on steps to improve employee training. Moreover, numbers in eLearning are increasing as time passes, and it is becoming difficult to process data sets traditionally.
Big Data can process this data while simultaneously collecting important data, such as statistics on completion time and rate. It allows companies to track how often employees click on tasks and go over the material, track group patterns, which help to personalize courses, based on where users spent time and what they found easy/hard. Crafting a good training manual template is one of the most important steps. This compilation of data allows for organizations to receive instant feedback and improve employee training where it is needed, making it a valuable strategy.