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6 E-learning trends to watch for in 2015

There's no doubt about it – e-learning is on the rise. There are more online learning options available than ever and traditional classroom formats are willing to incorporate new technologies into their curricula. Just like any other learning type, e-learning is susceptible to trends and fashions. What's in store for this innovative learning method in 2015? Here are the top six trends to observe this year.

1. Big Data

Among the many sectors benefiting from big data analysis, we'll find e-learning as well. Since processed data is becoming increasingly prevalent, learning centers will use big data analytics to get the hang of user-generated data and deliver meaningful conclusions.

This will allow learning providers to better understand the learning process, help track learner and group patterns, perform a thorough feedback analysis, offer full course personalization and, in essence, help to compile a comprehensive ROI report for learning by means of several sources of information. Not bad, is it?

2. M-learning

Together with the global rise of mobile use will come an increased interest in m-learning. Some industry experts suggest that mobile learning will dominate the e-learning market. Even if this prognosis sounds extreme, remember that mobile is expected to dominate many other areas too. Maybe there's a ring of truth to this prediction after all.

With the rise of m-learning, eager learners will find knowledge more accessible than ever and benefit from contextual learning achieved through micro-location technologies (QR codes, GPS and other) that will put learning into a context, allowing for a better use of augmented reality.

3. Personalization

Following the many insights achieved through big data, we will see e-learning becoming personalized and catering to the needs of individuals rather than groups. Pedagogy, learning environments and curricula will be tailored to motivate and inspire learners to achieve better results.

In 2015, e-learning will be more about adjusting the pace of instruction, letting learners to choose their own leaning path, leveraging student interests and adjusting the content presentation by choosing text, images or videos.

4. Gamification

Gamification is the major trend that we're still waiting to explode on the e-learning scene. Experts agree that applying game mechanisms onto non-gaming contexts brings great results in motivating people to achieve their goals.

Gamification will be more important than ever in e-learning, mostly due to the fact that it improves engagement with learning material to a smashing 90% recall rate – if learners assume an active role in knowledge reception, they boost their chances at remembering more of it.

5. Augmented Learning

Augmented learning is based on environments adapting to the learner, a solution for which the market is predicted to grow rapidly, reaching a smashing 200 million users in just three years! 2015 will pave the way to an increased use of augmented reality in e-learning.

Users will be able to enter augmented environments by means of QR codes or technologies like Apple Watch or Google Glass. This kind of learning will engage learners with action-based functionalities in real life by means of GPS tracking and with courses developed by Oculus Rift.

6. Automation

Experts predict that 2015 will be the year of growing automation in content creation and processing. Providers will use more automated solutions to create new courses and learning materials, saving both time and money spent in this effort.

Things like tests, quizzes and exercises will be generated by tools able to scan course content. Courses will be optimized to each user by automatically matching content to user's preferences, skills and level. Automated tools will provide algorithmic solutions for creating course content as well.

2015 will be an interesting year for e-learning – it might bring us a few surprises and a potential revolution


Author: Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers.

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Comment by Norma-Jean Nielsen on March 15, 2015 at 1:50pm

I appreciate your overview.  Thank you.  

Comment by Michel Boustani on March 11, 2015 at 5:27pm

Hi Kelly

Great article, I liked it, simple and insightful.

I have been in the e-learning industry since its early baby steps, I mean through computers and the rise of dedicated networks.

I do agree that technologies are and will help education and pedagogical specialists to challenge themselves for delivering amazing learning material. Yet it remains that the tools are so seductive that at times they tend to "dictate" the manner and eventually the learning model.

When I coached instructional designers and pedagogical advisors, I used to let them meditate on the following:

I you can create learning material with a board, some papers, pencil and a piece of chalk, then you can safely and properly use any technology!


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