With 2017 behind the corner top eLearning experts share their thoughts on the changes that will transform the way we teach and learn next year.
Augmented and virtual realities, artificial intelligence, blockchain sharing architecture, differentiated instruction, in-context consumption training and much more…2
"The rise of the cloud technology, lower costs and extended enterprise learning has opened the door to more than 650 new learning platforms in the global learning technology market in the last 5-8 years.
These new learning technology providers are not trying to be the biggest but rather the best providers in a particular niche.The new providers offer free trials, public pricing and features such as user focused interface, social learning, gamification, adaptive learning, micro learning, ecommerce and mobile responsiveness.
On the horizon, augmented and virtual reality will be added to the learning toolkit. The new feature sets and ways to deliver learning to users when they need it is driving innovation in the corporate, academic, association and continuing education sectors in the learning technology market.
The result is the rapid expansion of learning technology into organizations of any size in every industry and region worldwide."3
"In 2017, we will make headway within this recent fourth phase of e-learning related the customization and personalization of e-learning.
Tensions will mount, however, between the computer scientists who promote artificially intelligence ideas and solutions toward such personalization of content and courses.
We are also entering an age where mentors, tutors, experts, colleagues, and instructors will appear instantaneously on a mobile device to augment or enhance the learning process not replace the instructor.
In 2017, educators will also begin to understand that the three megatrends related to learning technology today:(1) the technologies for engagement; (2) the technologies for pervasive access; and (3) the technologies for the personalization and customization of learning, all impact people around the world in different ways."5
Professor at Indiana University teaching psychology and technology courses and President of CourseShare.
He has authored several widely used technology books, including The World Is Open, Empowering Online Learning, The Handbook of Blended Learning, Electronic Collaborators and TEC-VARIETY.6
"While emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality will continue to grow in 2017, I predict a transformational trend in the corporate sector will be a strategic one: Extended Enterprise Learning.
Businesses rely on people beyond their own payroll, and the role of e-learning will increasingly be to reach out to these people as part of the bigger team.
Some companies are already pushing further by using e-learning as a marketing device by educating their customers."7
Ryan Tracey is the author of the E-learning Provocateur blog, a former ELearning magazine editorial board member and an eLearning Manager in the Australian financial services industry.
He has over 14 years of experience in the eLearning field and focuses on adult learning, informal learning and social media.8
"I believe that we will continue to see the idea of formal eLearning falling by the wayside, to be replaced by self-directed platforms for personal growth.
MOOCs were really transformative in the sense that they gave access to anyone (mostly) high-quality learning anywhere in the world.
Many colleges and universities have made courses available for free so anyone can consume. I believe we will continue to see growth in that type of eLearning but I think we will see a decline in the formality of these spaces.
The definition of eLearning must also change to include these informal spaces like social media, blogs and self guided courses like those used to teach anyone coding skills."9
"Some might turn to devices, or a hot new app, or a big idea like Blockchain.
I remain ever committed to the idea that it is not the technology but what thoughtful educators do with it to give students a deeper learning experience which includes a real purpose and audience for students work that will define (e)-learning in 2017 and beyond."11
Meenoo Rami is a national board certified teacher who taught students English in Philadelphia for ten years, at the Science Leadership Academy and in other public schools in the city. She has shared her classroom practice at various national and regional conferences including NCTE, ISTE, ASCD, ILA, EduCon, and the National Writing Project’s Urban Sites Conference.
The founder of #engchat.12
"My area of focus has always been K-12 classrooms, and I think we will see some exciting changes and developments for eLearning in this space during 2017.
One of the biggest shifts I'm seeing is in integration across apps and platforms, with an eye towards improving student and teacher experience.
There are major challenges for many classrooms when trying to get all their different apps and resources working together, and this often hinders learning and leads to frustration and refusal to work with new technology.
We're starting to see more edtech resources address this issue, and my hope is that by the end of 2017 applications that don't integrate seamlessly across multiple platforms will be the exception and not the norm. Teachers should not have to spend precious time troubleshooting how to get resources to work within the systems they already have in place."13
Mike Karlin is the founder and editor of the EdTech Roundup, a blog which serves to help teachers and schools find technology resources to meet their needs.
He is currently a doctoral student and associate instructor at Indiana University. Mike also spent 7 years as a K-12 classroom teacher and dual role teacher and technology leader. He is deeply passionate about supporting teachers in their technology integration practices.14
"I believe that the four technologies that are on the cusp of changing the way we teach and offer academic credentials are the following:
Ray is a Professor Emeritus of Communication with three dozen years of teaching experience on the Urbana and Springfield campuses. As founder of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, Ray is dedicated to faculty development and pedagogical support of the online initiative. Ray is the director of the national UPCEA Center for Online Leadership.
"As this pendulum continues to swing back and forth, our independence on a single tool will continue to diminish. It is more obvious now than it ever was that there is no one single tool or application that fits every class.
Classes that demand differentiated instruction demand differentiated applications. Hopefully, this will lead to professional development practices that continue to create differentiated instructors. "17
Jeff is a highly respected educational consultant. He has presented at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) as well as other nationally recognized conferences, and was one of the founding organizers of edcampNJ.
He is the creator of TeacherCast.net and TeacherCast University and is a speaker, writer, broadcaster, consultant and educational media specialist.18
"If we’re talking about true transformation in ELearning, we have to bring up the movement towards in-context consumption training.
Basically, the classroom is becoming a thing of the past! Opposed to completion training where new employees learn ‘everything’ up front and then have to recall that information however long after it was first learned, in-context consumption training allows new employees to learn as they go and learn by doing.Case studies are showing that this method improves engagement and retention immensely while reducing time-to-competency.
I expect to see a huge shift towards this style of training in 2017 because companies are noticing that it is so effective."19
"As I think forward to 2017 it's exciting to think about what is down the pipeline. I predict that virtual reality and augmented reality will become embraced by more educators as they see the potential for these amazing tools.
When I visit schools and work with teachers across the country, I see a shift taking place from quantity to quality as teachers thoughtfully curate technology tools for their classroom."21
Monica Burns is an Curriculum and EdTech Consultant, Apple Distinguished Educator and Founder of ClassTechTips.com. In addition to being named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2013, Monica is an Amazon Education Teacher Innovator, Book Creator Ambassador and Nearpod Pionear for her use of engaging creation and formative assessment tools.22
"As I look ahead to the new year, there are six areas that I believe will transform eLearning in 2017.
First to improve eLearning in the coming year, are the developments in cloud computing and SAAS (the application layer).
Second is simply the evolution of ideas and the adoption of new and different pedagogies. I believe we've finally stopped moving the lecture classroom to the virtual world and are seeing an increase in student-centered courses. Students are excited to have more options with how they engage with the curriculum, while being encouraged to interact with the content.
The combination of technological innovation and changes in learning theory allows for the most important aspect of eLearning, which is the ability to individualize and personalize student learning. This will continue to be a critical driver in 2017.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly developing and we’ve already started to see the introduction of chatbots into classes.23
The fifth important factor for eLearning is a good instructor. In the coming year, more focus will be on instructors making important connections with their learners.
It might sound like a contradiction to tout the advances of AI chatbots in eLearning while also saying human instructors are important but there’s an important difference. AI chatbots take care of the routine, fact-based tasks (ex FAQs) that can now free-up the teacher to truly teach and work with individuals. Good teachers who are flexible, innovative, creative and can connect and inspire students will be difficult to be replaced by AI.
The last item I believe will transform eLearning in the coming year are certifications earned for successfully completing online courses. Whether an eLearning course is a MOOC or a micro-course, I think we’ll see greater recognition for the value of the learning experience as represented by earning a certificate. More institutions will include them in degree programs.24
In conclusion, eLearning continues to grow in exciting ways that are being embraced by a wider audience and enhanced with innovative technological advances. Elearning will continue to make an impact on education.
In summary, the items I believe will transform eLearning in 2017 are:
If you have a thought or question regarding my list of six items, let me know, I’d enjoy hearing from you!"25
"In the coming year, I expect you will see a further shift away from the importance of the device. As more schools move to the cloud for their resources, increases in SaaS, and Learning Management Systems take greater prominence the tool you use (Mac, PC, smartphone) will matter less and less. As long as you have consistent access to the Internet you’ll have what you need.
I also see a large push towards coding and STEM in schools with a particular focus on girls. The information based economy and the push toward entrepreneurship will take center stage in discussions about educational value and effectiveness. This tied to the maker movement and design thinking projects, more and more schools will add formal coding and STEM learning to their academic programs. Special interest will be paid to girls to encourage greater balance and an increase in female participation in computer science and STEM learning. I expect a number of targeted programs for girls in these areas."27
Matt Harris, Ed.D. and I am international educator with deep passion around Educational Technology (EdTech).
He works as an administrator in international schools and is an international EdTech consultant, speaker, and author. He has been working on projects around sharing of international educational technology ideas and resources, use of data in international schools, and developing a framework for effective EdTech use in international education.28
"In helping elearning companies to increase their visibility and expand into new markets, looking for where the demand lies, and is growing, is key. Concepts and technologies likely to transform elearning in 2017 and beyond based on growth in Google searches over the last 2 years include ‘Personalized Learning’ (+125%), ‘Cloud Learning’ (+45%) and ‘Virtual Reality Training’ (+200%) - the latter of which is piggy-backing tech developments in the gaming industry.
That’s not to say there isn’t huge demand for big topics like ‘Gamification’, ‘Social Learning’ and ‘MOOCs’ that have been much-discussed over recent years. It’s just that their search demand is not growing, which suggests their effect won’t be ‘transformational’ in 2017 - they’ll simply continue to be a big part of the elearning discussion."29
"As the world becomes increasingly plugged-in and eLearning becomes more common, we’re going to see sharing across platforms become easier, which will create more complex eLearning standards.
2017 will bring us increased acceptance of xAPI, until it eventually replaces SCORM as the eLearning compliance standard. We’ll find more and more programs that allow admins to neatly package up their course content and move it between learning management systems, LRSs, and host websites.
Lessons are more cross-platform now than ever before, as people think outside the box and host their content on multiple LMSs, or choose not to use an LMS at all in favor of modified web portals. Content needs to move with people. As 2017 progresses eLearning will become more movable or it will get left behind."31