E-learning: What’s Coming in 2011

The domain of e-, virtual classrooms and remote training has advanced more than anyone could have imagined, just over the past decade. Remember the first experiments in “”? The very first remote training courses were little more than text on a screen that could be accessed from an FTP site or an intranet, offering the benefit of a remotely-accessed text, but not much more than that.

Today, e-learning has taken a whole new direction, creating a virtual environment that can be the functional equivalent of a live classroom, complete with multimedia, interactive environments, classroom forums, student tracking, and even electronic quizzes and tests. It is possible to provide just about any type of corporate training through an e-learning environment. In the academic world, if you’re ambitious, you can get an entire fully legitimate college degree online without ever setting foot inside a classroom. What’s next? Let’s take a look at what we can expect in the coming years in the world of online learning.

  1. More learning on-the-go. Ever since Apple came out with their SDK, there has been an explosion of mobile apps, and today everybody’s a wannabe mobile app developer. The ease with which mobile apps are developed means there are not only more apps, there is more demand for them—and mobile learning will be no exception. The smartphone is becoming more like a second computer, and people who are constantly out of the office will rely more on these devices to keep up to date through on-demand mobile training.
  2. E-learning gives businesses a closer connection to their remote workers. Remote working, teleworking, telecommuting an outsourcing are here to stay, and companies are relying on it more and more as the telecommunications and collaboration technologies that make it happen continue to mature. It is often speculated however, that remote workers are at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping up with office policies and new procedures, and as a result, are also at a disadvantage for upward mobility. Remote e-learning will take on a greater role in closing this gap, bringing remote workers into a level of parity with in-house staff.
  3. E-learning won’t diminish despite shrinking corporate budgets. It will however, continue to change. Rather than large, all-encompassing, hours-long training courses, companies will focus more on shorter, modular learning units that can be delivered on-demand.
  4. More employees will benefit from the e-learning model. In the past, corporate training was often geared towards certain sub-sections of staff, especially middle management and sales. The ease with which e-learning can be deployed (not to mention the low cost) will bring more employees into the e-learning fold—resulting in a better educated staff and better employee retention.
  5. E-learning facilitates outsourcing. The outsourcing trend, long ago acknowledged as an inevitability—as well as key to a modern corporation’s fiscal success—will get a boost from e-learning. Third-party service providers will take greater advantage of their partnerships with their clients, to take advantage of remote, modular learning units that are provided. This will give the outsourcing agency’s employees an opportunity to better understand their customers’ product lines and special requirements, and as a result, the lines between the outsourcing agency and the client will become a little less rigid.

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