It’s strange how there is so much consensus among educators and Instructional Designers regarding the most effective forms of learning. The problems stem from the fact that the experts are rarely the ones who implement the teaching: that’s traditionally been left to corporate bureaucrats and, in the public sector, politicians. A such, effective methods of better learning such as chunking strategy, spaced repetition, reinforcement and microlearning, infrequently get the reach that they should. So what is the future of learning and are these issues being addressed?
Things are starting to change and the more-informed L&D professionals recognise that effective training and learning require methodologies like reinforcement after the initial learning; having instructional designers connected to the courses they create so they can monitor effectiveness and make adjustments where necessary; using agile learning systems which allow fresh content and updates to be quickly and easily added to courses; enabling personalised learning so that learners can learn at their own pace; enabling learning from peers who know their jobs better than anyone; using authoring tools and Learning Management Systems that fully integrate with one another; using microlearning; employing gamification and prizing.
So which technologies will deliver these methodologies in the near future of learning?
Future of Learning – 3 top technologies that will deliver better learning
Agile integrated AuthoringTools and Learning Management Systems
Many traditional eLearning systems have a chasm-like gap between content authoring and the LMS that delivers it. Content is generally created using different Authoring Tool by people in different teams within (or external too) one’s organisation before it’s passed to an LMS integrator for delivery to learners. The problem here is that course designers rarely see how effective their course is and any changes require direct communication between authors and those managing the LMS. Any updates can take weeks or even months and, in reality, can take much longer such are the logistical issues involved. Change requests often get left in the to-do basked for a very long time. Courses become outdated quickly and user engagement suffers.
With a more agile learning system, especially a microlearning-based system, any changes can be rapidly authored and delivered to an entire userbase in just a few minutes. So why sit learners in front of an out-date-course with completion rates under 20 per cent when they could be engaged with more modern technology?
Much of this sounds like common sense and not so futuristic at all, however, eLearning companies that embrace this agile methodology are still very new and represent the current bleeding edge of L&D.
Mobile-focused LearningManagement Systems
Mobile devices like smartphones are effectively ubiquitous nowadays so it makes sense to deliver eLearning directly to them rather than sit someone down in front of a computer at a set time. While most eLearning systems function on mobile devices, they are invariably clunky and offer a poor user experience which hampers engagement and detrimentally affects learning. When a course has been designed to operate on a specific mobile LMS, its interactive functions become intuitive and subsequently more engaging and subsequently more effective. Furthermore, by using Apps in major app stores, content can be delivered directly to a known environment where one can guarantee it will appear and perform as intended. Any updates can be pushed out remotely via the cloud and notifications sent to say they have appeared.
Whether it’s to deliver new learning or reinforce existing learning and stave off the forgetting curve, implementing microlearning through mobile learning will enhance all existing learning methodologies.
Augmented Reality and Virtual reality
Despite being slightly further away from mainstream adoption, both AR and VR training is happening now. Augmented reality, for instance, is being used by Microsoft and Epson with their Hololens and Moverio systems which overlay information onto a live environment via special headsets and glasses. Meanwhile, Virtual Reality systems such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive enable participants to embed themselves into a completely synthetic environment (potentially with other, distant participants) and collaborate in training sessions that directly resemble real-world encounters.
AR headsets are already dropping in price while VR systems either require (increasingly portable) powerful PCs or mobile-phone based systems such as Google Daydream and Samsung’s Gear VR plus the recently-announced Odyssey+.
However, courseware will remain expensive and time-consuming to create for the foreseeable future.
Whatever your organisation adopts, you can expect course completion rates to rocket and knowledge retention to become dramatically more effective.