2020 marked the breakthrough year for eLearning not only in terms of revenue, but also in terms of adding functionality to LMSs, learning management systems, in response to the growing demand for distance learning and education. Which of the new features introduced in 2020 will continue to expand in 2021, and what are the trends for the years ahead?
1. Video conferencing capabilities
Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meets dominated the early hours of the crackdown, when millions of people were forced to work remotely. If any corporate LMS lacked meeting software, they had to quickly run for cover, adding integrations that would allow them to deliver courses via video conferencing, conduct remote meetings or live training sessions. Given that some form of travel restrictions will continue to be in place in 2021 and possibly 2022, it's very likely that video conferencing will continue to be part of the work routine for companies. Therefore, LMSs and web meeting platforms will not simply be integrated, but new functionality will be created to customize and harmonize video conferencing platforms with corporate training objectives.
2. Chatbots and personalization
The use of chatbots, as virtual assistants that can not only answer learner questions but also play a purposeful role in personalizing online courses, is set to become more widespread. Chatbots save educators time by offering students answers to practical questions at the point of need. The challenge for LMSs is to delve deeper into how students interact with the chatbot, leveraging artificial intelligence to learn from each student's behavior and offer an increasingly personalized solution.
3. Interactive video and microleraning
While waiting for augmented and virtual reality to become available to everyone, eLearning professionals are looking to make course content even more engaging by leveraging various immersive learning tools. Interactive videos, where you can use more hotspot and drag-and-drop functions, are the most accessible tools and that's why they will be increasingly present in the content library of an LMS. Videos are an effective and fun tool to immerse students in a realistic situation. Content in a nutshell, so-called microlearning, will continue to be the foundation of any LMS that wants to address immediate training needs.
4. Blended learning and data analysis
Various surveys by companies and the media agree on one fact: remote working will continue even after the end of the pandemic. The survey conducted by Confindustria Digitale, for example, indicates that 82% of respondents are willing to work remotely even after the emergency phase. The trend seems to be for a hybrid solution, with part of the work done in the office and part at home. Corporate training will follow the same trend, and an LMS can only strengthen the tools for blended learning: chat, apps, webinars, virtual classrooms, real classes, synchronous and asynchronous training. The real challenge for an LMS is to take full advantage of reporting, to analyze student activities, performance and preferences both online and offline. The goal is always to make eLearning more effective and engaging.
The trends for an LMS in the coming years? Personalization, artificial intelligence, immersive learning and blended learning.
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