2015 In Review: Top eLearning Trends of the Year


The learning and development technology industry evolves every year. Like many industries, ours is impacted by technological advances that allow for greater creativity, more powerful solutions, and deeper data analysis. Every year, we watch as some trends remain strong, some fade out of fashion and others ignite a craze that might just be “the next big thing.”

At the close of each year, our team reflects on emerging trends we’ve observed, and what we think may take hold in the next 12 months. Let us share what we’ve been chatting about during 2015. Of course, we’d love for you to join the discussion and leave your thoughts on the last year in the comments below!

This time last year, what did we expect to see in 2015?

How well did we predict major trends for 2015? Let’s review and find out.

Ongoing Coaching and Mentoring via Learning Campaigns - It’s well-documented that, in order for information to really stick and change behaviors, it needs to be taught more than once. It requires follow-up and ongoing coaching. We’ve experienced growth in performance support and have worked with clients to develop coaching and mentoring tools to make sure participants are still learning after the initial training.

Personalized Learning Experiences - As eLearning technology advances, it’s become unnecessary to make everyone sit through the same training courses. Training curricula can be customized for the individual user based on role, geography, experience, and other criteria.

eLearning Will Grow in Developing Markets - Analysis from Ambient Insight suggests the regions that will see the most growth in eLearning adoption over the next five years is Africa and Eastern Europe, but notable growth is occurring worldwide outside of North America, where the market has matured.

Big Data & Robust Reporting - In working with our SaaS customers, we built some of the most powerful reports we’ve ever designed. Beyond knowing that a participant completed a training and successfully answered some quiz questions, we’re now able to track KPIs and determine whether training is impacting business performance. Brandon Hall Group’s recent webinars covered extensively the importance of measuring training’s impact on performance, and shined a light on how few organizations are doing it well. So, while we saw forward motion in this area in 2015, there remains a lot of room for adoption and growth.

Ongoing Growth in Mobile Adoption and Custom Apps - Arguably the biggest trend in 2015, our dev team has taken to a “mobile-first” approach to building eLearning solutions for clients. Our customers have come to expect solutions to work on mobile devices of all sizes.

When polled, what did our employees say were the biggest trends of 2015?

Wearables Start to Penetrate the Market - While we can’t be certain how soon wearable devices will take root in learning & development, the possibilities are endless. Already, smartwatch wearers are receiving SMS and email messages on their wrist. Imagine if performance support, training reminders or quiz questions could be delivered on a watch, embedding knowledge items even more seamlessly into the workflow? Speaking of...

Embedding Learning in the Daily Workflow - With ever-improving technology solutions, we think we’ll see organizations looking to move a greater percentage of learning from a classroom to the daily workflow through desktop, mobile, and, eventually, wearable devices. Training content can have the greatest impact when it’s helping people complete a task in real time. Similarly...

Continued Migration From ILT to eLearning - On-the-job training and performance support is most powerful when delivered electronically. eLearning makes it easier to revisit training, send reminders, distribute new or updated content and allow participants to only access the training the most need. Recent insight from Brandon Hall Groupindicated instructor-led training remains the most popular modality, but we’re expecting that to shift in the new year.

Industry-Specific Growth - Some industries move faster than others, so we’ll continue to see eLearning and learning technology advancements gain traction at different rates depending on industry. We’re seeing an increase in the franchise and retail industries and expect that to continue.

Connecting Learning to Results - Organizational leaders are finally starting to ask, “How do we know the training program actually worked?” Greater emphasis is being placed on learning analytics and connecting training to business results. Are salespeople selling more after completing a training? Are maintenance teams responding to equipment downtime faster? Armed with results-oriented data, training teams can make the right adjustments to training content.

Stay tuned for our next post. We’ve dusted off our crystal ball to anticipate what will be the trends to watch in 2016.



If you're interested, check out ExpandShare's eLearning Services to see how your program can be an epic success.

Will Holland