Online Learning and Training Trends for 2017

The following are the dominant trends in the eLearning space for 2017, summarized from a review of articles by major contributors including;  World Economic Forum,, Forbes, and

eLearning Adoption

“Last year, the e-learning market was worth an enormous $167 billion. It’s been estimated that this will grow to $255 billion by 2017. Its growing financial value is matched only by the swelling numbers of students choosing to follow an online course.” (World Economic Forum)

“More than 70% of chief academic officers at universities and colleges now believe online learning is critical to their long-term strategy.” (Forbes)

“There is a current shortage of strong, young leaders with the skills needed to develop companies. This has led to a downturn in engagement, issues with turnover and lack of business growth. Taking on energetic, new members of staff should now be a priority for all businesses, yet management can still struggle to build lasting relationships and rather than giving employees the opportunity to grow, they avoid change for fear of where it will lead.” (

The Mobile Learning Trend

A mobile consumer report by Google and Ipsos MediaCT found that 80% of users won’t leave home without their smartphone. This level of market penetration coupled with a global digitisation effort reinforcing the indispensibility of mobile devices necessitates the consideration of mobile learning in every learning and development strategy.

Mobile learning is not simply eLearning on a mobile device. The eLearning material for mobile learning is specifically developed for mobile devices while the proper course content conversion demands skillful instructional design that is compatible with mobile devices. eLearning has become a fiercely consumer driven industry and the developers of eLearning content focus on prioritizing the learner’s needs.

The world has never been more mobile, but many companies are yet to fully embrace these mobile learning solutions. Around ten percent of businesses use mobile web-based solutions, eight percent use apps and five percent use web-based sites for working. As businesses look to improve adaptation, reach and engagement of users and staff a fully thought out mobile strategy is key.

The Big Data Trend

There are growing demands for eLearning to demonstrate its effectiveness and quantitatively prove the worth of learning strategies to stakeholders with accurate statistics and in-depth information. As well as demonstrating the effectiveness of digital learning, the increased adoption of big data will allow eLearning administrators to personalise learning content, provide timely motivation and test the effectiveness of various learning theories and strategies.

Sources of big data include learning management system metrics on learner performance, learner feedback and assessment results, social media statistics, web analytics and workplace evaluations.

The Social Media Trend

In today’s social world, it is critical that businesses begin embracing social media tools as part of their core strategy. Social media platforms allow you to interact with your online learners and facilitate collaborative online learning.

Many businesses still lack the insight and knowledge as to how best to use these tools for staff training and development. A study has shown that 59 percent of companies included social media in their development plans and only 24 percent believe it to be effective.

The Concept of Online Research

Open educational resources are easily accessible documents and media, often written by the world’s best authorities on any subject and sector. This will transform the role of the traditional educator as all of this knowledge can be used wisely, creatively and effectively to support learning and training objectives.

Learner participation in knowledge building is the new comparative advantage for those who want to stand out in the education field. Knowledge is easily accessible and we also need to let our students/learners create knowledge autonomously.

The Microlearning Trend

In a world that is perennially in haste, microlearning is the trend that is catching up the fastest. This eLearning trend involves mini bytes of learning content made available to the learner or user to incorporate in a busy daily schedule without much difficulty. Microlearning utilizes video clips, single page documents, focused articles, specific, small chunks of data or lessons and other such innovative and concise training resources that do not burden the learner with too much cognitive reading.

Contact Simon Houlding by email.

Simon Houlding was Vice-President of Professional Development for InfoMine Inc. He founded Edumine in 2000, and was responsible for this InfoMine division which provides learning and training programs to the global mining industry until 31 October 2017. He is a professional engineer and author.

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