Trends Within The eLearning Sector
Within the eLearning and Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace of 2023 and beyond, we can see a number of learning trends in 2023 which seek to shape the future of learning for us all. The global LMS market is set to almost triple over the next 7 years to $40.95 billion in the year 2029. This article will explore trends and directions that are set to disrupt long-established learning traditions and rules. Here are a few learning trends in 2023, at various stages of maturity, that look to be gaining momentum within the market.
Learning Trends For 2023
One new trend that has become more popular and looks like it will continue to grow in usage across organizations is the idea of microlearning. Microlearning was developed to combat the issues of learner fatigue, cognitive overload, and increasingly limited attention spans.
Indeed, some studies have found that the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds. Microlearning is simply categorized as learning that delivers short chunks of information that the end user can consume at their leisure, and these can take the form of videos, games, images, quizzes, tests, and infographics, usually with a very specific learning outcome or goal.
A recent research report found that many professionals considered microlearning to be any learning that takes less than 13 minutes to consume, with segments of between 2 to 5 minutes as most favorable. Another common frustration which microlearning seeks to tackle is the requirement for end users to sift through a vast amount of information within an entire course, just to find one key piece of data. The advantages of microlearning include:
- Mobile devices
While microlearning can be delivered via the usual devices such as PCs and tablets, due to the short nature of the information being delivered it can be an ideal format for mobile devices, allowing end users to benefit from learning “on the go.”
- Rapid development
Due to the smaller size and length of content, microlearning allows organizations to very quickly iterate and deliver material to their target audience. This allows them to provide more relevant content that meets the immediate needs of the learners. It also means that end users experience a shorter wait time for content and can start training on new topics quickly.
- Increased engagement and retention
The small blocks of content delivered via microlearning allow end users to not feel overwhelmed, and can increase the retention of information. Learning is experienced as manageable and focused.
2. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
As technology has matured so has the application of some advances into the area of learning. In particular, gaming has offered significant contributions to learning technology. Indeed, the revenue in the video games segment is projected to reach $221 billion in 2023. Some of these advances have bled into learning via Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). The Virtual Reality market was valued at $21.83 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from 2022 to 2030.
Virtual Reality refers to the creation of a 3D simulated environment that enables end users to interact with a virtual environment which replicates reality. Augmented Reality is slightly different, in that it simply adds to your current vision. An example with this would be using smart glasses, where additional images and information can be added to your vision to provide a more detailed view of your current environment. By now we have all seen from movies such as The Matrix and Avatar just how far this type of technology could take us, and headset devices such as Oculus Meta Quest seek to support these technologies. Most good LMS providers now support these technologies. The benefits of VR and AR for end users are the following:
- Increased engagement
The immersive nature of VR and AR forces the end user into an environment. For example, Microsoft HoloLens has developed a way for medical students to learn about the human body, whereby students can flow through the bloodstream and even walk inside the components of the human body. Immersive learning boosts excitement for end users and creates an eagerness to engage with a course or learning plan.
- Support for SEND learning
SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. By leveraging VR and AR, organizations can develop personalized learning environments that align to students’ specific learning contexts and meet their individual needs.
- Social skills and collaboration
VR and AR also allows end users to learn with their colleagues in pairs or as a team. This type of collaborative learning can also support team building, as well as bring an entire group up to speed on a topic at the same time.
No matter what our age, we all like games, don’t we? They foster two concepts that organizations are keen to imbed within their learning strategies: participation and fun. Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. According to Gartner, gamification is “the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.”
Some example of gamification elements would be badges, whereby symbols are used to symbolize achievements. Also, points can show progress toward certain goals and are commonly used within the context of reward cards and video games. For organizations with multiple teams, leaderboards can be leveraged to encourage competition and show which team or individual is furthest along.
The education gamification market grew from $93 million in 2015 to nearly $1.5 billion by 2020. The benefits of gamification in learning for organizations include:
- Forming positive learning habits
We have all heard about people being addicted to video games. Well, with the adoption of gamification within learning end users tend to experience the same or similar feelings. When our brain wants to reward us, it releases dopamine into our bodies, so when we win a game or achieve something even in the context of learning we tend to feel good. For organizations trying to encourage learning this is an attractive outcome.
- Instant Feedback
When end users are exposed to gamification within a learning context, they will likely receive some form of feedback, and this could be in the form of the previously mentioned leaderboards or points system. This encourages end users to keep going via positive reinforcement. In this context a “Pavlov’s dog” (hit the button, get a treat) type of reaction is developed.
These learning trends in 2023, and others, will certainly be of great influence in deciding the direction in which the eLearning and LMS marketplace will be moving forward. Have you found success with these or other up-and-coming trends?