Latest Positive Trends In E-Learning

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How do we define brilliant?  Is it the product with the most amazing capabilities?   Is it how we think of ourselves when we figure out Snap Chat?  Or when we come to realize that our boss is a nincompoop and we should be running the entire company?

These are the latest trends.  No, not your boss is an terrible human being (maybe they are).  Rather, the latest positive and wonderful trends in the industry. 

Be happy!

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Vibe Trend

LMS Space is exploding – in a good way.

Perhaps you read a post on the LinkedIn wall, noting that the industry is in a downward spiral.  Yes, the naysayers are out again in full force.  When will it ever end? Likely, never.  But, that is a negative vibe and erroneous. 

Let’s visit reality. 

  • Over 1,300 vendors in the industry (inc. all subsets of the LMS space)
  • Major increase in the number of WordPress LMS templates
  • Significant increase in the number of VCs and Private Equity firms seeking out LMS vendors to invest in and/or acquire
  • Still a high rate of newbies (customers) who have never had an LMS and now want one
  • Seeing a plus rate of folks switching from one vendor to another (plus means above average – beyond normal)
  • Vendors boosting in total sales as a whole
  • New range of gross sales average by LMS vendors (3M-15M), previously it was (2M-10M).  There are more vendors crossing the threshold of 30M in gross sales, than ever before.  But, the number above 100M remains steady.

So I ask you Greg (shout out to National Lampoon Animal House), is this showing any sign of downward spiral? 

Not. Even. Close.

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Vibe Trend

VR content – we want it.

Talk about super blast off, VR content is way ahead that many people thought it would be at this time.  The challenges of course (no pun intended) is how to view it in your LMS, how the LMS tracks it (right now, very minimally – due to no course standards),  and what you should be using to see it. 

Quick note – at the end of it all, Mixed Reality will dominate the industry – not just ours, but consumer too.   That said, right now it is VR – and there are a lot of folks in the e-learning space – potential customers and vendors who are seeking it out.

Here are some takeaways

  • Uptick in the number of custom development shops who can build VR content/courses.   Tip:  Ask to see one piece of VR content/course they did for a customer.  Just because they have an example, doesn’t mean it has been sold to someone.  
  • Significant increase in the number of companies – users/customers/potential clients seeking VR content/courses.   The question though is what folks are willing to pay to receive such content.  Tip:  Expect higher than usual prices compared to say what you might be for a course.  As with any type of content it depends on how robust you want it.  The content you should be seeking is interactive, not just 360 video.
  • Speaking of which, increase in 360 video as VR content.   You can do this yourself, hence the increase.  The cost to you is minimal depending on the 360 camera (they shoot video and images).   
  • Slight uptick in number of LMS vendors who state you can view VR content/courses in their LMS.  Tip:  The challenge is how to view it.  I mean your LMS is in VR, so there are a couple of routes to go. Best way: Chrome WebVR – it is now in many of the smartphone headsets including Gear, Daydream, Cardboard, HTC Vive as well as other headsets such as Oculus Rift and PlayStation. Works in Microsoft HoloLens (Mixed Reality).

I say slight uptick because about three months ago, only a couple of vendors offered the capability. 

The 23 dollar question is how many courseware vendors out in the market will start offering VR courses/content that are non-proprietary.  I know of one vendor already who is in build mode, and is claiming to be building AR content too. Build mode and actual live mode are two different items.

I do anticipate that there will be vendors out there, by the end of the year, offering VR content for purchase.  How good it is is another question.

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Vibe Trend

Deep Learning is on a roll. 

If you have never heard the term deep learning before, here are the basics.

  • Using an algorithm, the system is able to identify the appropriate or right courses/content for the learner. This is based on what the learner is currently taking and/or completed.  Could be viewing documents/files of whatever, videos, courses and other types of content. 
  • Down the road it will be able to create the learning path for the learner, regardless if they are a customer or an employee.
  • Possibilities of what it can do are endless. 
  • Vendors are now starting to include other triggers such as how many times the person logs into the system,  skill sets in their profile, ranking of skill sets (i.e. they are strong in accounting, weak in leadership) and other sets of information.
  • One vendor is trying to incorporate their gamification piece as part of the deep learning process. Another is working on the social.
  • One vendor is already tying it into the assessment piece.  It is outputting a mixed result – so still work in progress.

As a result of these variables tied into the algorithm, not only would you be able to see recommended courses/content, but even social, gamification and so on. 

If you think about it, any type of variable could be included into the algorithm, enabling more accurate data to be identified and provided, as well as the ability to narrow the scope in terms of the learner and what they need to build upon either their skill sets, leadership growth, personal and professional development knowledge. 

For fans of big data, the usage of deep learning in a system will generate a higher rate of accuracy – of course everything ties back to that algorithm.

  • Major increase in the number of vendors adding deep learning to their system.  And for folks who think these are the newest vendors in the space, sorry, that is off base.  What I am seeing are vendors who started out 15 years ago all the way up to two years ago.

But this is booming.  How much?  Based on my research

  • More vendors than those who have a native app and or on/off synch for mobile
  • More vendors than those who have added API to their systems
  • More vendors than those who have included an LRS
  • More vendors than those who have included content curation and/or ask an expert/mentor (which is also on a solid uptick) and/or having SMS notifications, custom domain and a few other items.  

In other words it is freaking hot.  Ouch, Ouch. 

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Vibe Trend

Video, Micro-Learning

No real surprise here.  But there is a major increase in the people who want to add video courses and/or content – as in micro-learning courses into their LMS.  They are seeking this stuff out. 

On the micro-learning side – talk about superman strength here.  You can’t swat a fly without hearing people saying they want to add micro-learning courses into their system, find micro-learning courses/content to their LMS (incl. subsets), learn how to build micro-learning courses, massive marketing push and buzz about micro-learning and micro-learning webinars and presentations. 

Tip:  You can easily build a micro-learning course in any authoring tool.  And you could have built this type of course, since 1998 with the authoring tools back then.

I’ve discussed in the past a lot about video, so feel free to read previous posts, but it is extremely strong.  One item and since this is about positive vibes, so it isn’t necessarily positive, but lukewarm is that a micro-learning course should be a real life scenario or offer a TOC.  Most of what I have seen including stuff with courseware vendors is linear – like you click and watch the whole thing and cannot jump around. 

Thus the course is reactive and not pro-active.  You want the latter, not the former.  On the positive side, you quickly come to realize that your learners will not watch the whole thing, thus validating the average time of watching a video is two to three minutes (based on research).  So, that is a plus, uh for them, I guess.

On another positive note there is a decrease in the length of courses people are publishing.  The days of a 40 hours course are disappearing.  As a member of the Bermuda Triangle Group, I say bravo.  (not a member of this group. Not sure it even exists, just like the Triangle itself).

Bottom Line

These are just a few of the positive trends in the industry.  I’ve seen an increase in the number of vendors using the term “elearning platform” (the accurate usage of the word is actually e-learning, but I digress), rather than saying an LMS, but equally seeing a movement of vendors, new in the space, using the term “LMS” as it should be.

There is nothing wrong by the way, of using the term LMS.  Why folks see it as a bogeyman is beyond me. 

Then again, the bogeyman is a big naysayer and these trends across various e-learning areas says something that the bogeyman cannot.

Happiness isn’t around the corner.

It’s already here.

E-Learning 24/7

Upcoming Webinar – Presenting one on the latest learning technology and how it will play into the LMS space – as in a next generation system (which is what you want). The webinar is sponsored by Docebo.  The session is May 16th. Sign up today – it’s free and I promise it will be riveting – better than Guardians of the Galaxy Two (in my humble opinion).   Link: Buying an LMS that won’t be outdated 

Upcoming Presentation:  The correct criteria for your LMS RFP, which is at ATD, May 23rd in Atlanta, GA.  Ooh, this one is going to be great. Expect the same approach I have in my blog posts – right to the point, no nonsense.  I’ll tell you the items and approach you need to get the results. 

Plus, we will work on one together – that’s right, you will start to develop your ideas and strategy right in the session.  As an added bonus, you will receive after the session (I will need your business card), my latest RFP template (not posted anywhere).  Select this baby for your schedule at ATD.  May 23rd, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Promo last item:  Recently recognized as the leading expert in the field of immersive learning (VR/AR/MR), by my peers (a great honor and I thank you for that), I offer a service to create a strategy, develop a program to deliver success with VR/AR/MR. From identifying the best devices (headsets) to use, to establishing an approach that works.

I handle it all for you. Including who to use (if you want) for custom development, best practices for creating your own content, and much more. 

If you are saying yes to “VR” why do it yourself, when you can hire an expert to get you where you need to go.  I should add that I am a proud member of VRARA, and the co-chair for the VRARA training committee.  Contact me to learn more.  Contact: [email protected]

And lastly, next week, I will be publishing on this blog my debut LMS Quadrant. I will include details, takeaways regarding the Quadrant on the blog.    Feel free to download and share. If you plan to use it in some presentation, report, whatever, I do ask for a simple credit. Otherwise, enjoy it.