As a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) technology provider, the Learning Technologies show has always been a key event for us at eXact learning solutions. We have been attending for well over a decade, in that time the functionality needs of our clients have changed dramatically, along with our technology and elearning trends.
With the show being timed close to the beginning of the year it allows us to focus on the year ahead and is a great reminder of what elearning technology trends the L&D world is interested in. The show acts as a fantastic grand-scale forum for hearing about the concerns, challenges and amazing innovations in the elearning industry.
So, what did we take away from the LT20 show? There were a few central technology themes that we kept hearing from our conversations and presentations that were given.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This must have been the most common term and trend we heard at the event. Everyone is interested in it or investing in it in some way or another. One article wouldn’t even scratch the surface of the many amazing efficiencies and improvements that can be made with the application of AI in learning technology. For us, it is deeply satisfying to see the improvement in organisational metrics that AI can bring where it has been applied to our technology. One example is in ‘automatic translations’, where our clients have achieved significant improvements in speed, cost, time and resourcing, with high-accuracy results on a large scale. (See our article in Learning Technologies Magazine for more details.)
Undoubtedly, artificial intelligence is an area that will increasingly be important in the elearning world and, is an area to be followed closely. We continue to research how we might incorporate it into our technology solution, as our Head of Professional Services explained recently at another Learning Technology event.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Hailed last year by Forbes magazine as ‘THE Learning Aid of the 21st Century’, there were certainly evidence of its interest at the LT20 show as a discussion point, and there was a great session on this elearning trend at the show, which discussed various ways in which VR tools could be used for elearning by organisations. The session comprised a fascinating panel discussion, focusing on its use at Lloyds Banking Group. Forbes refers to research that suggests retention levels improve post VR activity. That is something that every L&D team might wish to take notice of. Clearly this is a growth area and one to watch closely, with a report citing a forecast that Virtual Reality use in the Education market alone is expected to reach over US$13,000 million by 2026.
Informal learning or ‘self-directed’ learning
The topic of self-directed learning appeared in the conference programme. Clearly L&D teams can have challenges in encouraging teams to engage in learning, and it is arguably a perennial topic that learning professionals might struggle with. A panel session on Day One discussed how this has been tackled at the NHS (the 5th biggest workforce, in number, in the world) and Unilever Plc, a global employer. The session discussed how technology can help support those team members who might otherwise find informal learning tricky. Informal learning platforms can be very successful in encouraging and motivating learners, particularly with their collaborative functionality features.
We are discovering that our con-X informal learning extension to our LCMS really can meet the needs of global organisations in supporting their sales enablement. con-X’s features that are very suited to the needs of a largely remote-based, mobile, competitive workforce who enjoy the ‘point-of-need’ knowledge delivery functionality. In addition, the ability to ‘crowd-source’ product-based information sharing and answers (along with the gamification features that allow users to rate and vote on moderated content) really supports user engagement with the technology and content. This all happens while the user gains personalised and pertinent knowledge. In fact, scholarly studies have been undertaken on the learning gains from more ‘social’-based learning methods.
Most L&D professionals will accept that you cannot say whether or not something is working well for you, or is a success if you cannot measure ‘it’. One of the sessions at the event ‘Learning to love data and analytics’ discussed the value of analysing your learning with data, and applying the results using xAPI. We know first-hand how useful it is for our clients to access this information from our Learning Record Store (LRS).
In an e-learning Guild Report (2019) on xAPI, among survey respondents, it was found that amongst the ‘non-adopters’ of the technology, only 12% suggested that ‘xAPI is not yet ready for implementation’. However, two-thirds of the non-adopters expected to implement ‘within the next 3 years’. This makes it pretty clear that there is a great deal of interest and the lively conference session made it clear that xAPI can provide huge potential for L&D professionals, and is extremely effective in aiding successful learning delivery.
Summing up elearning trends
So, those were our key takeaways from the most popular topics we heard about. There were many more, but it would be impossible to distil them all here. We continue to be excited and invigorated about the state of the industry and the challenge of developing our ‘all-in-one’ LCMS technology to provide L&D teams with the tools for transformative learning globally.
To find out more about con-X, our AI developments or to arrange a free demo of our LCMS then get in touch.