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Trends for the Future of E-Learning

Posted June 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

1341348_84869156.jpgHave you ever wished for you very own crystal ball?  I’ll admit, its a dream that I hold near and dear to my humble heart.  Doesn’t have to be big, just something that I can carry around in my pocket to let me know what’s coming….and what I can do about it!

I mean just think about how handy that would be.  Want an inside look at tomorrow’s weather?  No problem!  How about a clear picture of the morning commute for the next 6 weeks?  Piece of cake!  Truly the uses are endless and that is before we even get to the over-the-top craziness of lotto numbers and sports scores!

I also want a crystal ball for another reason.  The reality is that my profession is changing and evolving at an astoundingly rapid rate.  Today’s E-Learning is not what is was 5 years ago….its not even what it was one year ago!   The future is coming and its time that we as an industry prepare for it.

And I count myself among that group!

So today we are going to talk about the future.  More so we are going to talk about trends in E-Learning and how we as an industry can embrace the future and the changes that it is destined to bring.  I know that it can be daunting, remember I’m standing right beside you on this one.  But it can also be exciting.  And once we have learned to harness the power of these new tools and approaches I feel that we will be able to succeed with our E-Learning initiatives like never before.

Let’s go find out more….shall we?

1105361_73037873.jpg1:  Apps Take Over the World!

Who doesn’t love a good App?  Andorid…Apple…Blackberry, the formats are varied, but there are a few key characteristics that all good apps hold near and dear.   First an app is generally created to do one specific thing…..and they do it well!  Most of the time its not about the flash or the bells and whistles, its about delivering a solid, easy to use product that gets the job done in record time.

This, in short, is why these tiny little applications have become so crazy popular.  That and the fact that they are cheap to buy, easy to make and instantly accessible to millions of people stretched over every imaginable corner of the world.

I mean, who ever thought that you would reach for an app before you turned on the TV or grabbed your laptop?  Personally I spent several years not understanding the fascination….that is until I got my very own iPad and became hooked with the rest of the world.  Now if I want the weather?  There’s an app for that!  How about a new recipe to try for the night…app for that too.

So why not E-Learning?

Apps are the wave of the future and integrating this technology into E-Learning can only serve to make our initiatives stronger and more effective.  Soon there will be no question mark.  Soon it will be, “E-Learning?  There’s an app for that!

2 – In the future, E-Learning will be more agile.

What do I mean by agile?  I mean that we will be prepared and encouraged to react much faster to the needs, wants and questions of our participants.  The learning will be about them….not us.

Last week we talked about social learning and how this new platform allowed us to connect to our end users like never before.  Questions can be asked, answered and viewed in the blink of an eye.  Results are instantly available and feedback is delivered in less time than it takes to type it out.  All of these things are happening right now and they are working to change the face of E-Learning as a whole.

Gone are the days of months long planning processes for a single initiative and in their place we find sleeker options that are more direct and streamlined.  Initiatives that can be targeted to the individual and not to a nameless sea of faces that we will never connect with.

This is what I mean by agile and this is what I feel that the future holds for E-Learning.

1342412_10200694.jpg3.  No more Top Down learning Dictatorship.

In the past learning was dictated by the top and the (hopefully!) absorbed as it trickled down the chain.

Actually, trickle might be the wrong word because I often liken the flow of information to a waterfall.  As in everything moves down at a rapid rate, but there is often no way to get anything back up to the top.

I am pleased to say that this trend is changing….and its changing fast.  With the implementation of new strategies and tools we are being connected to our users like never before.  We can engage with them, learn from them and react to them in ways that I know I never thought would be possible.

Why does this matter?

Because it allows us to meet our participants where they are and change our approaches to meet their needs.  We don’t want to be waterfalls, people tend to drown in those.  We want to be open roads where traffic, and information, can move freely in both directions.

At the end of the day our little E-Learning world is changing.  It’s growing and evolving in new and exciting ways that I never thought would be possible.  And I’m excited!  I’m excited about what’s to come and I’m excited about what I  can achieve with the new options available to me.  But the question is you.  What you are going to do about the future of E-Learning?  Run and hide your head in a hole?  Or embrace the possibilities!

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