Towards Smarter L&D – eLearning Predictions for 2020

As we’re setting our sights on 2020, we can reflect on how the field of L&D developed in 2019. However, it’s also important to keep an eye on the future, and the things that are around the corner. Whereas learning technologies are advancing at a great pace, the field of L&D is undergoing a philosophical shift too. Without further a do, here are our 2020 eLearning predictions and thoughts for the new year.

Learning technology “stacks” become more fragmented

One thing that we’ve witnessed over the past year is the growing shift away from conventional LMS systems. Legacy systems have not been particularly learner-centric, and that has become a challenge. Therefore, we are seeing the new category of Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) emerge. However, it seems that this space is going to move into a massive gray area, whereas LMSs are getting more LXP-like features and vice versa.

However, it’s likely that in the midst of this shift, organisations have realised that one product may not rule them all. These big systems and platforms have traditionally tried to do “a bit of everything”. Yet, we are learning to appreciate tools for specific uses that work well for just that task. For instance, there might be a great tool for a particular type of learning, e.g. social learning for leadership, but you’ll certainly need more tools alongside it. Hence, one of our 2020 eLearning predictions is that we’ll see more variety in technology. Should this prediction materialise, it’s important to make sure your learning technology is well integrated.

Move towards more human-centred learning experiences

While the past couple of decades have seen a big push for digitalisation, we might have been a bit too fast at times. It’s unfortunately easy to forget the learner itself. As an eLearning prediction for 2020, it seems likely that we are starting to re-evaluate how we approach the whole concept. Whereas learner-centric design and methods are getting a lift, we’ll also look to see a focus on fitness for purpose. After all, we are not learning for learning’s sake at the workplace, but to do our jobs better.

For the future, we hope to not be judged by the quantity, but rather the quality of content and experiences. As we reflect back, we can say that less is often more when it comes to learning. And we should live by that. Also, if we wish to build great experiences for our learners, we need to build empathy. Along with other design thinking methods, empathy helps us to focus on the human, the learner – the individual.

Increased focus on evaluation, measurement and analytics

Finally, one field that is rising constantly, is the field of learning analytics. For another eLearning prediction for 2020, it seems evident that this trend is only growing stronger. L&D has been in a difficult position for quite a while. A lot of great work is being done, but credibly proving that the work is worthwhile has proven to be a challenge. With the emergence of tools like xAPI and AI, we have reached technical capability.

However, an area we still need to spend time on is the methods. Unfortunately, the way we evaluate learning in organisations is often simply lacklustre. Feedback forms, “happy sheets” and assessment that only tests immediate recall doesn’t quite cut it from a methodological point of view. On the other hand, it’s not even enough to do that. As learning transfer is actually the important part, that’s what we should assess. Corporate learning only produced results if it gets people to change their behaviours in a way that positively supports the business. And what this means is that L&D is going to have to dive much deeper into the business in 2020!

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