Cloud, mLearning and gamification — 3 e-learning trends explained

It’s the time of year for trends. Terms like gamification, mLearning and the cloud keep popping up as key e-learning forecasts for 2016. Some of these terms may be a little convoluted so here are our simplified explanations - decoded and grounded for real business application.

1. The cloud and e-learning

The ‘cloud’ can be a rather ‘fluffy’ term! In simple terms, the cloud enables data to be stored and accessed over the internet instead of on localised computer hard drives.

Real life application

Some of the benefits of using the cloud are:

  • Cost savings, scalability and flexibility
  • Synchronised e-learning data that multiple people can tap into from anywhere
  • It becomes easier to increase capacity or add capabilities without heavy investment in new infrastructure, personnel or software
  • A greener alternative with reduced travel requirements and printed material

Further reading

Cloud Computing. You need to run your business in the cloud — where do you start?

2. mLearning

This trend is fuelled by the ever increasing use of mobile technologies all over the world. It involves learning through personal electronic devices. Through mLearning technologies, learners are able to tap into learning material anytime, anywhere.

Real life application

A great infographic by the The Association for Talent Development includes these interesting facts:

  • 25% of global internet page views come from mobile devices
  • The average smartphone is more powerful than the PCs that took two astronauts to the moon in 1969!
  • There are more mobile devices than people on earth

How does this information influence the direction you ought to take your e-learning? It certainly means that your e-learning material absolutely must be mobile friendly.

Further reading

Mobile learning: transforming education, engaging students and improving outcomes (Centre for Technology Innovation at Brookings)

3. Gamification

Gamification involves using game dynamics in the learning process. It taps into common human traits like the desire to win, achieve and gain status. Incorporating game dynamics into learning motivates learners to achieve their goals and significantly improves recall rates.

In fact, 79% of corporate learners and university students said they would be more productive and motivated in their learning environment was more like a game (eLearning Industry infographic).

Real life application

  • The use of stories with real places, characters and narratives
  • Game mechanics enhance the learning process through rewards, for example:
    • Beat the clock
    • 3 in a row correct
    • High meter readings (e.g customer satisfaction)
  • Integrated scoring for a sense of competition and lots of learning opportunities with bonuses, rewards and leaderboards
  • Progression maps to show the learner what's left to achieve

Further reading

Gamification, games and learning: what managers and practitioners need to know (The eLearning Guild Research)

And so, as 2015 comes to a close we hope you can integrate these three trends into your plans for e-learning in 2016. Happy new year!