Elearning software is a must for any forward-thinking company these days: but what does the future hold for the LMS?
As the working world adapts to a post-Covid landscape, we’ve spotted definite signs that some trends in online learning are here to stay.
Read on for our run-down of top LMS features we’re going to be seeing a lot more of in the future.
Video and Interaction
The last couple of difficult years has taught us the value of connectivity, even if we’re spread out across different locations. Remote working is now an accepted business reality, but face-to-face interaction is still critical for strong business relationships. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw video conferencing and classroom Zooms becoming the norm. Moving forward, we predict that online training via Learning Management Systems is going to feature a whole lot more video and live streaming as standard. Webinars and group learning or module support with video chat features mean learning from and with others is a valuable experience that can be shared company-wide.
Virtual Reality and Simulations
Related to shared experience learning via video connectivity is another moving image option: the possibility to train employees via simulations or Virtual Reality scenarios. The quality and sophistication of this software is improving all the time, and the option to practice new skills in a way that doesn’t jeopardise business operations is ideal. The future of Learning Management Systems is likely to include this kind of interface more frequently, meaning complex tasks can be taught in a safe and enjoyable online space.
Self-paced eLearning and Microlearning Sessions
Microlearning has been an LMS buzzword for some time now, but we believe this type of eLearning format is here to stay. Breaking modules up into bite-size chunks works to vastly improve user engagement.
These shorter sessions enable learners to quickly brush up on existing skills, provide an introduction to new topics without being overwhelming, and additionally offer folks an opportunity to test out their interest in different areas of your business. Supporting your teams along the career path of their choosing helps retain skilled and motivated staff members, who will in turn help your business thrive. In a similar vein, allowing learners to opt for self-paced learning helps them absorb new information at a rate they feel comfortable with, which means that the whole user experience is likely to be a more positive one. Another benefit to microlearning is that trainees can tackle manageable slices of course material more frequently, or complete training during quieter work hours rather than having to attend to studies during their own downtime.
Learner generated-content is an often overlooked aspect of eLearning, but the hive mind is a wealth of valuable information! The future of LMS design is likely to include more ways for learners to share their expertise, and we’re not just talking Subject Matter Experts sharing self-designed courses, but more routes for employees to assist others by offering tips and support. A Learning Management System is a powerful tool to bring your employees together as a team, and the skills they collectively hold can be collected and disseminated by your LMS. Engaging, up-to-date and relatable training materials are always the most successful type, and it’s your learners who can help you build your library.
This social aspect of eLearning is likely to grow exponentially in the coming years, especially given that social media is an everyday tool. Increased compatibility with social media plug-ins means that learners will be able to share their achievements, recommend courses and partake in online training collectively. Learning from and with others in the online space has been a popular trend in eLearning, and we see no sign of it disappearing anytime soon. It’s not for everyone, as some learners prefer to work solo, but largely, folks seem to view some element of social connection as they train as a positive and encouraging part of their journey.
Games and Gamification
We also expect to see an increasing focus on fun online training experiences in the future, and gamification is at the heart of this. Gamification isn’t a particularly new trend in online training, but we do think we’ll be seeing more of it across the board in the future.
Ultimately, when something is enjoyable to learn, and presented in a game-like format, (be it a quiz or an animated puzzle) learners tend to retain more of the lesson and are more likely to return for more.
Imaginative storylines, eye-catching graphics and educational entertainment are likely to become more prominent as LMS technology moves forward. Learning shouldn’t be a dull struggle, and so we foresee more creativity and quick-fire immersive experiences in the coming year when it comes to online course presentation.
Multi-platform Learning and Devices
With remote working now an accepted part of corporate life, the importance of multi-device compatibility is absolutely essential for eLearning. While the LMS was originally created with the desktop computer in mind, the future now belongs to laptops, tablets and smartphones. This is likely to shape course and module delivery in terms of platform and content, and largely for the better. Mobile devices are on the whole, smaller in size than desktop computers, which means that screen time is naturally reduced. This kind of learning path is actually a positive direction for LMS design and means that more attractive microlearning, more social media and more gamification will be on the cards in the future.
Next up, let’s talk about smartphones. These devices seem to be rising to the top of the pile for learning online, given that everyone has one. Ease of access is a crucial part of eLearning and the smartphone is the device that everyone is familiar with. We reach for them to solve problems or entertain ourselves and so it’s only natural that Learning Management Systems should universally link with them to offer courses.
Videos have emerged as a particularly popular and effective tool for learning as we mentioned earlier, and so we’re expecting to see mobile compatibility in this area skyrocket. Subtitles, playback control and entertaining content that can be viewed in a few minutes are the kinds of features to which learners respond positively.
Artificial Intelligence is a vibrant, growing sector in software development and LMSs aren’t getting left behind in this regard. We expect to see even more AI technology integrated with online learning frameworks soon – and for good reason. Tailoring online learning to individual ability is essential for positive eLearning outcomes.
Smart Learning Management Systems that use AI to suggest relevant courses and modules to employees as they progress, provide both a level of automation for LMS administrators and direct, timely engagement with learners. AI can be used to grade and reward learners or direct them to troubleshooting workshops too. Another aspect of Artificial Intelligence as part and parcel of an LMS is that it can reinforce skillsets in a variety of ways, automatically guiding learners through a series of multi-format modules that educate them on a topic without becoming repetitive.
And lastly, your LMS should be helping you and your workforce, rather than the other way around. We think that we’re going to see a far more automated future when it comes to LMS features; and not just in the AI realm. For example, more automated dashboard tools will mean fewer repetitive tasks for LMS administrators. This already includes options such as automatic email reminders, but increasingly offers extra ways to optimise course material. For instance, courses can automatically be translated into different languages if required, and onboarding packages of essentials for new employees are easily generated.
Robust Learning Management Systems already offer data collection tools, but it seems to be the case that developers are creating more ways to automatically create a wider range of data reports. The ability to auto-generate, and disseminate a variety of information on how your workforce is doing with their training is key to eLearning success. More automation when it comes to analytics, creating certification that goes straight out to learners, and the targeting of relevant courses to each of your departments seems very much to be a growing trend.