Welcome to the belated 2018 edition of Learning Design – related trends.
As we look at these trends, there are clear influences of technology and learner demand, e.g. how learners want to learn. Technology and learner demand do not only strongly influence the forms and ways that learning takes place, but also impact the possibilities and potential of what learning can be. Technology is developing at such a fast pace, organically influencing our working, learning and playing habits. This habit development happens gradually over time, and one day, we realise we have now formed new habits and needs. As learning experience designers, we need to understand these needs and be prepared and equipped to take on the learning design challenges in the new context.
Looking back at 2017
First, let’s look back at 2017 and see which trends were predicted.
The below articles provide an overview of the technology and learning trends predicted for 2017. In summary, we can see footprints from technology trends in the learning and education field. These tech trends include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), machine learning, big data, and everything on-demand.
Learning trends predicted for 2017 continue progressing. These include contextualised learning, learning data analytics, video-based learning, microlearning, on-demand learning, social eLearning, mobile learning, and gamification in learning.
2018 trends don’t include any true newcomer but more of the development of last year trends. These trends have a lot to do with making the learning process more contextualised and practical, more personalised and self-directed, more social, more demand-based, and more creative.
Among the trends that you will read about in the curated set of links in this article, the two noteworthy game changers with transformative powers for years to come are AI and AR/VR. These two trends have continued to develop onwards and upwards and become the “talk of the town” in many professional areas. In 2018, technologies like machine learning, humanised big data, augmented reality and virtual reality have a significant impact on what we can do when creating learning experiences.
AI in Learning
The use of AI in Learning is not a new topic. The International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education has existed since the early 90s. However, current and upcoming breakthroughs have great power in transforming education. AI will help support learning through:
- Customisation of content curation and aggregation
- Personalisation of learning paths to meet learners’ needs effectively
- Analysis of learning materials and activities for continuous improvement of training programs.
AR/VR in Learning
AR/VR technologies help with creating a more realistic and thus engaging learning environment. This trend is going strong, including making possible for educators to create the VR environment themselves. That’s when we know one day soon AR/VR learning will become ubiquitous like eLearning now. There are more opportunities for creating learning by doing programs or creating a more realistic learning environment for learning high-risk tasks, e.g. flying an airplane, doing a surgery.
Links on 2018 trends
5 digital learning trends for 2018 and beyond: These include:
- Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): These technologies can be used to transform existing learning formats such as simulation or branching scenario content into more immersive experiences.
- Content curation, making use of high-quality existing resources
- Microlearning, to deliver just-in-time learning
- Social learning
- Open platforms that allow us to integrate additional functionality.
eLearning trends and predictions for 2018: The author wrote about three tracks of trends:
- What will continue to offer value: mLearning, digitization of ILT to blended or fully online with the support of mentoring and coaching, social learning and curation platforms and performance support tools, microlearning, performance support tools, gamification, social learning, mobile learning apps, video-based learning with interactivities, next-gen LMS and LCMS with personalised learning paths and offline learning, rapid and completely responsive eLearning tools, informal learning, and just-in-time Performance Support Tools
- Coming of age: an increase in adoption of personalisation, curation, learning portals which are learner-centric and built for a specific need and provide a high degree of control to the learners, highly personalised learning paths, and sophisticated learning analytics
- Emerging or maturing: watch out for: AI in learning, AR/VR for Immersive learning, and Big data reporting and analytics.
Top Learning Trends to Watch – 2018: Self-directed learning (pull vs. push) ->”more independent learning paths that are influenced and supported by collaboration”, AI (through content curation and aggregation, machine learning -> recommend relevant courses and analytics to improve training), microlearning (suitable for mobile learning and learning on the go), enablement – targeted learning “to enable employees to do their best work”.
10 trends changing global higher education: A summary of British Council’s report on 10 trends in global higher education, including shifting global demographics, expansion of education for all, national internationalisation strategies, decreased funding for higher education, more demand for collaboration between industry and higher education, educational technology, demand for specific workplace-ready skills, brand and value of an institution, impact of English, and focus on the student experience.
Horizon report: This report “focuses on the future of technology in higher education”. Time-to-adoption horizon as following:
- One year or less: adaptive learning technologies, mobile learning
- Two to three years: the Internet of Things, Next-Generation LMS
- Four to five years: Artificial Intelligence, Natural User Interface.
4 exciting trends that will define the 2018 education industry: maker spaces becoming popular in K-12 schools in the U.S. and China, edtech moving from selling physical products to selling services, STEAM education (incorporating arts with STEM education), awareness of play-based curriculum to help students learn STEM.
10 eLearning Trends that Promise to Make 2019 a Powerful Year for Education: Gamification, microlearning, informal learning, real-world training through the online platform (e.g. simulations), webinar (e.g. webinar bootcamp to include lecture, guest speakers, online discussions, and games, varied activities), coaching and mentorship programs, augmented reality (cheaper than VR) superimposed image and text, social learning, digital textbooks, serious games (where people can do more than just play, e.g. build businesses and economies)
10 Workplace Trends You’ll See in 2018: From these trends, we can reflect on how learning trends are emerging to support workplace trends, e.g. learning credentials for non-traditional training from a plethora of online course providers from free to low cost, upskilling and retraining current workers, and AI becoming “embedded in the workplace”.
Top 10 Tech Trends for 2018: This article reflected on the accurate predictions for 2017, including Data-as-a- Service, Connected Living, the AI Personal Assistance Race, Cognitive is the New Smart, and the Industrial IOT Ecosystem play. Trends predicted for 2018 include the Trillion-Dollar Sprint, the innovation tug-of-war between technology companies and government organisations, the quantum leap – experimentation of quantum computing to “outperform traditional supercomputers”, flying cars, “fears over tech companies eavesdropping on consumer conversations”, debunking the fabricated news, enterprise embracing the rise of behavioral science, Brand youth as politics undergoes generational shift, managing global natural disaster strategies, and moving beyond platform-only business models.
Eight Technology Trends Ready for Exploitation in 2018: AI about to go mainstream, Apps becoming essential for boosting customer convenience and employee productivity, wearable technology, big data, Internet of Things (brought on by Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant), advanced robotics, drones, and VR.
The State of UX in 2018: An article that I would read and reread this year.
- UX roles are evolving – “need to be more strategic about the features, screens, and experiences they design”
- A shift from UX design to product design -> the need to understand more about business
- Designing for the age of immediacy
- Bringing diversity to design – design for inclusion
- Storytelling and writing in design (UX writing)
- Redesigning the design process and apply it to our work environment -> “Design your process first, before designing your product”
- A shift to collaborative design tools – e.g. live sketching, file management, and knowledge transfer
- Branding beyond the pixels – i.e. the visible interfaces – branding can take other forms – e.g. voice, personality, action;
- Every designer is an influencer – through different channels including the comeback the good old newsletter and the rising of YouTube design channels
- AI and the big Why.
6 Design Predictions for 2018 (that might actually happen): some interesting predictions though not all I agree with, especially the 4th and the last one: A return to skeuomorphism, slow demise of WordPress, the year of AR, the end of online advertising, flamboyant and responsive lettering, abandoning of AI in 2018
10 inspirational graphic design trends for 2018: There are many inspirational examples here.
- “minimalism and simplification will stick around, but expect to see some old favourites to return with modern, updated looks” -> flat 2.0 or semi-flat design
- Responsive logos
- Gradients/color transitions,
- More depth with semi-flat design
- Dashing duotones, palettes and patterns inspired by the 80’s and 90’s
- Animations and GIFs – e.g. micro-interaction, interactive GIF logos, cinemagraph
- Bold typography and the return of serifs
- Custom graphic art and illustration
- Authentic photography
- Highly-detailed vintage – food and beverages industry.
What Can Learning Experience Designers Do?
It is easy to get caught up and want to implement the latest technologies in your program, but let’s always start from the question: what do we want learners to be able to know and do and why, and then select the most suitable means/technologies/learning strategies available to achieve that. Learning designers in this age will also be required to update his/her toolbox with new design methods, with knowledge from other design disciplines, such as UX design, graphic design, multimedia design, and education leadership and policy.
- Decide to consciously ask yourself in your learning project whether any of these new technologies will be helpful for your purpose
- Learn more about these
- Evaluate carefully the implications of new technologies used and their effectiveness, the appropriateness, and the cost associated with implementation, e.g. certain high-risk tasks and procedures are candidates for using AR, VR technologies
- Contextualise learning experience for learners
- Provide the opportunity for learners to provide feedback and input to their learning experience
- Build bite-size learning nuggets where applicable
- Find out what and how learning analytics can be used to improve learners’ experience
- Update our toolbox with design methods such as design thinking
- Be flexible and agile in the face of rapid change.