Summary: As we enter 2022, organizations are rethinking how they conduct business and how they can equip their learners with the requisite knowledge and skills to stay competitive. This article will look at how organizations can do that and what the key eLearning trends are for 2022.
eLearning Trends For 2022
When the pandemic first broke out, everybody hoped that it would be over soon and that it would be business as usual within a few months, if not weeks. However, our worst fears came true as COVID-19 ravaged the entire globe and probably became the biggest pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918.
Smart organizations always see opportunity at times of adversity. After the initial few weeks, organizations started going digital to a great extent. Initially, it was about how business was conducted. Most organizations asked their employees to work from home or remotely. So, organizations began to think about how to train and equip their employees in order to maintain solid business continuity.
With the world entering the post-pandemic phase, we must look forward to the new era with optimism and renewed hope. However, can we ever go back to the pre-pandemic normal? Some experts believe that the old normal was not normal, as the emphasis was too much on one mode of training or learning. So, we must now look at a mix or what we call a hybrid model for work and learning.
For ease of understanding, we shall review the eLearning trends to watch out for in 2022 under two headings:
- Organization driven trends
- Learner driven trends
Organization Led Or Driven Trends
Let’s face the fact. Learning analytics influences eLearning trends. We know that the future is all about the information we have, and the more there is, the better the insights will get, and thereby, decisions will also be driven accordingly. With a distributed workforce setting to rule the stage, learning teams should rely on learning analytics to make decisions. The future of learning and its transformation starts with learning analytics.
Information and data have touched terabytes and are still growing. It would be unwise to deny that intel will play a significant role in strategic decisions. AI-infused analytics clubbed with learning platforms elevates the game to create a whole new learning framework and learning ecosystem.
The world is moving into a space where knowledge, skills, and attributes that people need to co-exist and thrive in any organization will revolve around competency frameworks. To add to this, a skills matrix also helps visualize data, which can be used to define processes to identify, assess, and develop skills to make informed business decisions.
Human-Centered Learning Experiences
One of the biggest trends that we predict will shape the learning space is human-centered design and learning experiences .
Well, what do we mean by human-centered design? For years, training was a one-dimensional transactional experience. Organizations set up training calendars and scheduled training time that was not centered around learner needs. It was about mandatory exercises that had to be carried out. It was about pushing training through so that learners would begrudgingly take them to meet the numbers. This is a very mild assessment of how training was seen by most organizations earlier.
The pandemic, however, changed all that. Organizations began to look at employees as valuable assets rather than resources or cogs in a wheel. Organizations realized that people are what drives an organization to success. This has led to honest introspection of how training was conducted or how employees interacted.
This has also led to new conversations and new ways of designing training programs by what is known as human-centered design. The human element of empathy, emotion, and sense of belonging are key terms driving organizations today to adopt a well-rounded philosophy to training. Learning resources are linked to organizational goals, which is great news for both organizations and learners. We see this trend becoming a major driving force in 2022 and beyond.
Learning Experience Platforms
As part of human-centered learning experiences, organizations are now big time into Learning Experience Platforms or LXPs. Technology is being used to help people get better learning experiences through hyper-personalization and just-in-time learning. Organizations are now leveraging LXPs to get real-time data on the learner behaviors, preferences, and needs they can use to tailor better learning experiences. The idea is to foster deep learning and better participation from learners, as LXPs provide that. LXPs help build communities of learners who can then exchange ideas or even get answers to pressing queries through interaction with Subject Matter Experts. No one has all the answers. Thus a community portal integrated with LXPs can help learners get the required support through social interaction. Forums, chats, and dashboards are parts of LXPs that enable this.
LXPs also allow learners to receive curated content. Organizations are increasingly looking to provide curated content to their learners. The idea is to have learning accessible to the entire organization. LXPs are bound to grow further and add many more learner-friendly features in the years to come. What makes learning experiences exciting is that custom learning paths can be created pertaining to the learner’s profile and career progression needs.
In the last few years, we have seen tremendous growth in the development of Artificial Intelligence in automating various mundane activities, be it responding to customer queries or automating certain tasks. Artificial Intelligence has taken giant strides.
Can the use of AI in learning be far behind? Well, L&D has taken cues and AI is used for better learning and query resolution. A significant trend has been the use of machine learning to take AI to the next level. Machine learning allows the creation of new algorithms that can predict user behavior.
AI can be used to make learning more holistic and empathy-driven. There has been an increased focus on the fact that different learners have different needs, and personalized experiences must be provided to learn better. AI through bots is creating that space. AI will help personalize learning experiences, interpret the data or the reports generated for the courses taken, and make better recommendations. It will help identify the key skills learners need to master, which they can apply to their job.
You can consider using AI to improve and personalize your learning experiences or helping learners choose what they want to learn. You can also use AI to create intelligent learning assistants that provide just-in-time tips during the learning events, such as online courses or live webinars. Technology can make information accessible to everyone in an organization at the right time.
Virtual Training For Remote Employees
There is a lot of talk of the hybrid working model, where many employees choose to work from home. Given this, virtual training will continue to grow or be a mainstay of training in 2022.
Virtual training is the go-to mode for remote employees or employees spread across the globe to access best-in-class training from expert facilitators and faculty.
Virtual training has its advantages, mainly:
- Can help connect people spread across geographies
- Can be interactive, as apps and games can be integrated into the sessions (Kahoot comes to mind)
- Provides tangible results through quick polls and quizzes
- Can be used to engage audiences better
We predict that virtual training will continue to be a strong trend in 2022 and beyond.
Microlearning platforms have grown in the last year and will continue to grow as a strong tool for learners to access impactful bite-sized learning . Several microlearning platforms now aim to help learners learn subjects quickly and effectively. While some use assessment as their core strategy, others use courses and gamification to make learning stick . The emphasis has been on performance, helping organizations reap rich rewards.
One can easily create, publish, and roll out courses using a microlearning platform. You can use rightly spaced repetitions, gamification, intuitive reports, and analytics for immediate feedback, remediation, and much more.
You can implement microlearning platforms in 2022 and beyond for your frontline staff, sales teams, or customer-facing workforce. Microlearning platforms are easy to deploy and can help you provide actionable data points to get more out of microlearning interventions. In other words, it’s about tracking and reporting learning knowledge to enhance the overall learning experiences.
Learner Driven Trends
Learners today are mobile and agile. Should learning stay far behind? Learners use their mobile devices or smart devices for performing a variety of tasks. From shopping for groceries to paying bills, playing games, or watching Netflix, learners are at their phones for at least 4-6 hours a day.
Given this fact, learners are demanding better learning experiences. Long training sessions don’t interest them. Digital learning experiences built as lectures bore them and make them drop off quickly. With reduced attention spans, learners need a far more exciting and engaging medium than learning provided traditionally to them.
This is where learning must be thought of as a mobile-first delivery. Organizations have to realize the power of the mobile-first strategy and tailor their learning experiences to be mobile-friendly. When delivered via mobile, microlearning creates the right experience for the learners.
Microlearning can be used as one of the primary modes of training delivery for some learning programs or just before an eLearning or VILT session, or a few days after the formal training as a reinforcement of key learnings to help learners remember the concepts well. With this reinforcement, the learners are subtly encouraged to apply the concepts to their job. The famous Pavlov research supports this. With microlearning becoming a part of the continuous learning cycle, learners pay better attention to the subject at hand.
Microlearning will continue to be one of the top learning strategies during 2022 and the years to come.
Virtual Reality And Mixed Reality Learning Experiences
Learners are demanding better learning experiences all the time. What better than Virtual Reality, which takes learners into a different world altogether? Virtual Reality helps learners immerse themselves deeply into learning, and that’s why it’s a popular trend.
One of the most important factors for successful learner engagement is the immersiveness and stickiness factor. Virtual Reality provides that. To cite a recent example, during the 2021 Olympics, a variety of VR-based experiences were provided to the public. This included people experiencing the playing style of various athletes on their smartphones. The experience was thrilling, to say the least, as people saw the mascots of athletes playing right in their living room.
In a nutshell, organizations will try to implement such VR experiences to teach various subjects to their learners. Based on the increased adoptions and good business cases, the use of VR will continue to grow in 2022, and even stronger in the coming years.
Learners are demanding off-the-shelf or catalog courses to improve skills in various areas. While they surf YouTube and the likes of Udemy to learn some new skills or subjects, they must get optimally designed catalog content from their organizations that will help them advance their knowledge and skills in specific areas.
As more organizations go digital, the demand for catalog courses has gone up. Many new players are vying for their share in the catalog courses business pie. The primary advantage of catalog courses is that they are on varied subjects and ready to use or deploy without much effort.
You can use catalog courses to reach out to many people and teach them skills that will help them have the right ammunition in the new world. An electronic catalog of learning resources helps learners access information at their fingertips. We are moving into a world where catalogs and content libraries will be digital.
Continuous Learning Journeys
Formal training is not sufficient to impart knowledge and skills. Why is this so? People tend to forget or lose the information they learn after a few days, sometimes in a few weeks. This is known as the forgetting curve. The curve shows how quickly we forget information over a period when there is no attempt to retain it. Learners need to constantly learn new tasks and remember them as well. Not just remember but understand them deeply and apply them in the proper context.
This is where organizations augment their learning interventions with either microlearning nuggets or games or videos before or after formal training sessions. Be it classroom training, face-to-face, virtual, or eLearning. The idea is to empower learners with the right dosage of learning that is not overly long and is useful in propping up their short-term and long-term memory of the concept.
The core idea is to have process and technology blended to create individual learning plans. You can use continuous learning journeys more in your training interventions in 2022 to make employees learn and apply essential concepts and skills. As continuous learning journeys address the forgetting curve, use them wisely at the right time to get learners up and ready for better application of learning.
Many organizations know that the internet and their knowledge bases have a massive repository of content and information. They also know that users would prefer content that is the most relevant to the subject they want to learn. For this, organizations are adopting content curation.
However, content curation must be done effectively or rather smartly. Smarter content curation helps find the right learning content for the learners. Learners can use content curation to create their unique learning paths. Teams can use content curation to identify the available resources on the internet rather than recreating them. Content curation will become more sophisticated and will turn into one of the best ways to create high learner engagement.
We foresee these trends as the preferred learning modes in the coming year. Learning communities, learning societies, learning forums, etc., are gaining prominence. Technology merged with the advent of these new segments would impact individual and organizational goals and learning objectives.
Whether they are learning technology trends or learning content trends, these trends will continue to impact the way learners learn and organizations benefit from these modalities and interventions. While learners will be able to apply their learning to their job better and retain the learning, organizations will save several manhours in training if these tools and methodologies are implemented effectively. Organizations must utilize these to make progress in their quest for becoming more agile and adaptive learning organizations.
We have also released an eBook, eLearning Trends To Watch Out For In 2022, which has more details on each trend that we discussed in this article.
At Tesseract Learning, our learning and visual architects constantly innovate and reinvent their approaches to design, develop, and deliver effective mobile learning courses and modules. We understand your needs and recommend the right strategy to create impactful learning solutions to help your employees learn in the flow of work. To learn more about eLearning trends, contact us or write to me at email@example.com.