Online Training Trends for 2020
The e-Learning market is booming! Not only has the recent and ongoing evolution of world-renowned frameworks like ITIL and DevOps demanded new heights of speed and agile thinking from course developers, but the advent of new technology has raised serious questions about the future of the online training industry as a whole. E-Learning is, undoubtedly, the present and future of corporate training – and it shows no signs of slowing down.
In this environment, many top E-Learning companies are striving to improve their operations. More importantly, the market is constantly growing, with more students than ever looking into how corporate certification could help them take the next steps in their careers. Corporate customers, too, are looking for answers on how recent developments in the industry could impact the viability of investing in online training.
As we begin a new year, let’s take the time to consider exactly what direction the e-Learning industry may take in 2020!
More and More Free Content
The world’s most popular standards and frameworks are utilized by hundreds of thousands of practitioners. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that, when it comes to high-profile practitioners, influence is almost as important as experience. Whether for the purpose of advertising training courses, building up personal brands, or simply helping out fellow students, these practitioners are creating a great deal of online content, most of it free-to-access.
This can be a great way for practitioner communities to share ideas, or for students to gain practical insight into complex subject matter. It can be particularly helpful with recently-updated standards such as ITIL and DevOps, which have seen legions of users discussing how to start applying new developments in practice.
Free content is, naturally, taking on a variety of forms across the online world, including blogs, vlogs, webinars, whitepapers, and more. Providing them with a variety of formats to explore can be a great way to keep learners engaged, to say nothing of raising the profile of web pages and social media posts.
That is not to say that students will be learning solely from free resources moving forward. It will still be essential for them to get a firm grasp of the basics from well-structured training courses. It is also worth keeping in mind that, with standards like DevOps and PMP, completing certified training is a prerequisite for sitting the associated exams.
In the world of corporate training, two things are essential to success: streamlining access and keeping students engaged. A large proportion of students who pursue corporate training are in full-time employment. More often than not, training must be able to fit around the schedule of the student, rather than vice versa, and companies must make it easy for students to return to where they left off. At the same time, training providers must ensure that students have assets which can keep them interested whenever they study.
Companies like Good e-Learning offer platforms built around both of these priorities. The Learning Ecosystem, along with the GEL mobile app, guarantees that students can access course content anywhere, any time. The platforms also prioritize engagement, allowing students to track their progress, communicate with team members, and deliver feedback, all while having GEL’s course assets at their fingertips. Not only can this help students to structure their training and stay invested, but it also makes it easier for businesses to gauge the payoffs of their training investments.
In all fairness, such platforms are becoming the norm for virtual assets across a countless number of industries. Users expect these levels of access, engagement, and clarity almost as a given. For the sake of giving customers exactly what they not only need but also expect, the number of engagement platforms in the e-learning industry is sure to increase.
There is a great deal of semantics involved in online training, as is the case with most online assets. Customers often struggle to understand the tangible benefits of what trainers have to offer. These can include how common management issues are solved, as well as the meanings behind terms like ‘enterprise architecture’ or ‘agile project management’ (which are often treated as being self-evident by marketers).
As standards like PRINCE2, ITIL, and DevOps grow in popularity, it is becoming easier than ever for customers to penetrate this marketing miasma. Students and training investors are finding it easier to gauge the tangible impact of different courses, and KPIs are more strictly defined.
This also applies to the benefits of studying for individuals. When students have to worry about paying for their own courses, brass-tacks benefits such as career advancement and pay rises become far more crucial selling points. Just as IT has ceased to be impressive in and of itself, top-tier training course providers are now having to work harder to sell themselves. There is no shortage of competition, and if you cannot convey exactly how your courses can help clients with specific problems, you may struggle to grow your brand.
These days, business and technology are evolving faster than ever before. This is not only true for developments in hardware, but also for streamlined worldwide communication, which ensures developments can have an almost instantaneous impact on corporate and stakeholder expectations. This also applies to corporate standards and frameworks, with many prospective students left worrying that their training will quickly become outdated.
To get around this, many framework designers like AXELOS have been focusing on practitioner communities. These active and certified users often have to factor in technological and business developments into their own work. As such, they are invaluable sources of information for less experienced users and their companies.
Often, these groups will move much faster than the framework owners themselves. AXELOS factored this into the development of ITIL 4, referring to the community and even selling it as a feature that could prevent ITIL 4 from becoming outdated. Similarly, security has been a hot-button issue in the famously organic DevOps community, with ‘DevSecOps’ now emphasizing security considerations throughout the methodology.
Immersive, but Irrelevant
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are becoming big names in corporate training. Or, at least, they are attractive as high-concept ideas. Ever since the 1990s, we seem to have had it in our minds that, one day, virtual reality will transform our lives. Sadly, with E-Learning, this day simply hasn’t come yet.
While VR and AR seem innovative, they are not yet financially feasible for most potential customers. The headsets themselves are hardly cheap, but the real cost comes from the fact that most simulations will fail to reflect the specific requirements of users. Building an entire simulation from the ground up is incredibly expensive, especially when compared to using other popular digital mediums.
That said, 2020 is sure to see at least some positive movement in this sphere. More and more firms are offering pre-made simulation templates which can be customized with company-specific text and audio. This is a cheaper option, to be sure, but not one that will necessarily be more engaging or cost-effective than digital courses.
It also goes without saying that, even with headsets and custom-built simulations, the best way to gain actionable insight on corporate standards and frameworks will always be to apply them in real life.
While there are some claiming that YouTube is on the way out, there is no denying that videos have become a far more widely used and accessible medium in recent years. Everyone from international corporations to startups, to individual influencers are creating videos to sell their brands and ideas.
At the same time, training companies are also making use of video content. This can provide a welcome break for students used to doing nothing but reading endless slides in order to prepare for their exams. Videos are also an ideal solution for exposing students to tutors and subject matter experts without having to book seminars or one-on-one sessions (which, despite sounding ideal, can be both expensive and awkward to arrange).
Instructional videos, practice demos, and even live video webinars with polls and discussions are all becoming far more common in the online training industry. Trainers are also making their material more accessible, even to non-paying students. With both the usefulness and visibility this can bring, creating videos is certain to become a far more common practice moving into the new year.