Online Learning and eLearning Trends for 2021

online elearning trends 2021

Written by Topodium Group

Transforming Journeys, Inspiring Possibilities. Topodium Group is the transformational ecosystem where creative marketing, training and consultancy, and innovative technology work in synchronicity to power the sport, health and wellbeing industries. Locations in the UK (Basingstoke), USA (Denver) and SA (Johannesburg).

April 29, 2021

With so much change and disruption in the current business landscape, we look at a number of online learning and eLearning trends to watch out for in 2021 to help support your employee learning and skill development.

Workplace training is arguably one of the most important focuses in a flourishing and successful business. It allows employees to understand necessary practises, build positive habits, and gain knowledge across topics such as workplace culture and vital health and safety requirements.

The idea of training has evolved rapidly since the days of simple reading and recalling. With the acceleration of technology and digital skills across many industries, there is a growing demand in online and eLearning training platforms that fit the requirements of evolving practices.

The recent pandemic has set a new precedent and need for relearning and adapting. Many businesses have had to find new ways of conducting business, especially with almost an entire workforce working remotely and building new digital enhanced processes.

In some cases, working remotely has improved employee productivity and now many businesses are considering the benefits of remote working as a long term solution, rather than a survival tactic.

The need to find new ways of communicating and strategising in innovative ways has been expedited, resulting in the resurgence of online training and eLearning. Connecting employees across geographic locations and organisational structures is now more important than ever before.

The World Economic Forum estimates that 50% of employees will need to be re-skilled by 2025.

The question for many business owners and leaders is how can eLearning address the complex factors that go into successful employee training?

From meeting the needs of a diverse working population, to communicating and rolling out eLearning effectively across a remote workforce, to not compromising on content or quality, to maintaining engagement and building a culture of shared-learning practice – there’s a lot to think about!

The answer and solution often lies in what the future holds; looking ahead and predicting trends that will enable, facilitate and empower eLearning capabilities and enhanced learning outcomes.

Focus on Interactive Content

There are a range of different learning styles, but around 65% of people identify as visual learners which means they respond well to multimedia content such as videos, photography, illustrations, infographics, maps and charts. This type of content can help learners make sense of text-based eLearning content and will help maintain levels of concentration.

The benefits of interactive content is that it offers a higher engagement rate; due to the nature of the content itself. Whilst the content is dictated by the creator; it still allows the learner to be in the driving seat and develop a sense of autonomy with their own learning.

Interactive learning content that incorporates Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, or Mixed Reality scenarios presents an opportunity for employees to test and explore their emotional reactions to certain scenarios. 

Interactive technologies tend to be more appealing and offer interesting ways of learning information. Learners are likely to be more motivated to attend, be open to new and challenging topics, and engage in the process if the training requires playing a video game as opposed to giving a one-minute elevator pitch in an awkward Zoom training session.

It’s easier for employees to become engaged and motivated if the training is interactive and gives the employee an opportunity to become creative with their learning process.

eLearning and Online Training for Gen-Z

With Gen- Z hitting the workforce, it’s important to look at how they respond to workplace training. Online training and eLearning links closely to the behavioural patterns of Gen-Z, often coined as ‘true digital natives.’ They have grown up within the fast-paced development of technology and can adapt to all its different forms with minimal difficulty.

Gen-Z’s are natural information seekers, with stronger virtual communication skills, technical literacy and online collaborative skills. They have adopted habits such as ‘snack-media’, meaning they can split their attention and hop from platform to platform as experts in multi-screening.

Any content displayed on an eLearning platform has to be clear, succinct and highly visual. It also needs to be accessible across multiple platforms; both web and mobile.

Generation Z employees don’t only come from an environment of frequent social interaction through social media. They also value community and the opportunity to co-create the culture of the company they choose to work for.

When planning your training, make sure that you create frequent opportunities for both on-the-job and formal social training. This creates opportunities for Generation Z employees to problem-solve, brainstorm, and form relationships with employees from other generation cohorts, such as Millennials, Baby Boomers and Generation X.

Adaptive eLearning

Adaptive eLearning is fast becoming the future of employee training, and holds numerous benefits. It allows you to adapt the content for a specific learner. It can also allow for one-to-one instruction, with focused feedback on the individual. A personalised approach is what helps learners achieve the same outcome, but also creates a greater time efficiency.

By collecting data as the learner progress through modules, adaptive eLearning utilises data that is then used to help personalise goals, learner content, and curate an effective learner path. To meet the needs of the learners this data is also stored and used to adapt or regulate the training – is it effective? Does the training need to be refined? etc.

Adaptive eLearning in corporate training helps learners focus on areas of weakness with efficiency.

MicroLearning and BiteSize Content

MircoLearning is small amounts of information that can lead to the development of a big skill. It provides a succinct focus on a specific area of training content, normally with the goal of answering a question or providing guidance on a problem. This bitesize content is perhaps one of the less daunting ways to approach workplace training.

It’s a fast paced way of presenting and absorbing content, with some modules lasting a length of only five minutes. This links back to the goal of creating better retention for learners and one of the many benefits of online training. It also streamlines some of the elements of training that often fall victim to information overload, providing information as and when it’s required.

MicroLearning also offers variety – something which has been proven to create active retention and active participation. Modules can include short video tutorials, games, podcasts and presentations. It also is mobile-friendly, making the content accessible at the point of need.

Bitesize content is often favoured most by Gen-Z learners. Its medium allows you to present your content in direct blasts, leaving no room for tangents or irrelevant information.

Gamification and Game-Based eLearning

Gamification and game-based eLearning offers multiple benefits to your training content. This trend covers the inclusion of game design elements to motivate and engage the learner, allowing them again to become active participants in their training. It also gives the user opportunity for accountability in their own learning goals and achievements.

The eLearning experience can be transformed by gamification with the inclusion of points systems, achievement badges, progress trackers and quests, allowing the learner to seek out information.

This is one of the more creative and engaging options for online training. Games are essentially used as eLearning activities to give learners the opportunity to acquire new knowledge or skills sets in a fun and engaging way.

All eLearning games typically have rules and specific objectives and learners run the risk of ‘losing’ when they participate. Another important distinction between gamification and game-based eLearning is that in a game-based eLearning strategy the content is designed to fit into the confines of the game.

Combat the Forgetting-Curve

Unlike an old analog computer, our brain doesn’t retain information in 0’s and 1’s. Our brain uses over 26 complex systems to ‘code’ and store information. However, as humans we tend to only remember so much when it comes to learning – people tend to forget or ‘misplace’ the information learned after just a few days or weeks. This is the Forgetting-Curve.

To address this, it’s important that we create a continuous learning journey for employees. This learning journey extends beyond formal training sessions, and can include bitesize or microlearning modules, which help employees retain information and reinforce learning.

Continuous learning journeys are useful when new learning is of a priority, for example a new product is launched or a significant change to business operations. Often this can also involve a practical ‘doing’ element, so the new learning becomes habitualised. The more we are exposed to the eLearning topic, the more likely we are to remember and recall.

Video-Based eLearning

The concept of video-based eLearning is no longer seen as an optional resource with online training. Now, it is often viewed as essential, or even as a basic need for training. The reasons for this is that videos are often more compelling and demanding of focus and attention. It addresses a multitude of different learning styles from visual to auditory, and even kinaesthetic.

It can also be one of the more cost effective ways to present online corporate training, as it eliminates the expenditure of an in-person training session.

The content can be fully shareable and scalable, providing training ‘on-the go’. Another plus to this style of content creation; it can problem-solve and provide instructions for specific elements of training, which supports the trends of micro-learning.

There are many opportunities to create creative and engaging content through video. You can implement animation, infographics or even interactive quiz elements which can encourage collaboration. Video-based eLearning is another trend in a long line of versatile training content that can hold the key to better performance and retention for its users.

Collaborative eLearning

One of the most rewarding forms of learning which is seeing a rise in popularity is collaborative or social learning.

Collaborative learning is what it sounds – sharing your skills and learning within your teams, organisations and networks. It provides a greater opportunity to utilise your in-house skill and enable others to learn from each other in a safe, supportive environment.

This collaboration can take the form of Slack channels, weekly mentoring calls, informal hangouts and sharing sessions, forums and focused learning hours. The learning is out in the open; a shared experience which is transparent and allows everyone to support each other, collectively creating enhanced understanding and support.

This form of eLearning can be cost-effective, easy to maintain, and gain huge buy-in from employees. There is also an opportunity for business owners to make sure learning is focused on specific outcomes which will add value to the business in the more immediate.

eLearning Platforms

There are many different options when it comes to creating and presenting your online training content. As experts in training and digital software design, at Topodium Group we have formulated our own eLearning platform that can create insightful, adaptable and creative online training to suit your business needs.

iLO is our cloud-based content management system, which enables you to unlock your teams true potential with an interface that creates a distraction-free environment, making employee learning simple form both the user and administrator.

Through iLO your online training can be transformed with a customised learner experience. iLO’s assessment feature provides users with a sense of satisfaction and reward through our development of a wide range of quiz styles; from simple multiple-answer questions to the implementation of multimedia assets.

If you believe that your current online training is outdated for your business needs or current workforce, get in touch with us to find out more.

Summary

With business needs and workplace culture constantly changing, the inclusion of online training is becoming a necessity rather than an option. The benefits of this format of training are hard to argue with.

The fact that is the most cost-effective way of providing training, and can be fully scalable to the needs of your employee progression, is a win win! These online learning and eLearning trends offer a variance that traditional teaching formats cannot. By investing in online training you are also investing time and consideration into your employees development.

Development and learning strategies are always evolving, with technology offering numerous exciting opportunities to grow. Providing online training in an eLearning context is a sure-fire way to provide your employees with the best type of development, combined with rewarding and enriching experiences.

You May Also Like…