4 Advancements In Elearning Development You Need To Know Now

4 Advancements In Elearning Development You Need To Know Now

When we look into the future we can see that exciting things are on the horizon in the world of online training. Software and strategies are changing based on new developments in technology. So, how will it affect your elearning development as an independent learning professional or trainer?


With any opportunity there are those who will board the ship in time and those who will stay on the pier.

Here’s what to expect within the next few years.

1) A New Engine Under The Hood

HTML5 is the latest update to the primary language of the web and is supported to varying degrees by most modern browsers. Previously, and still to some point today, elearning courses are published to the Adobe Flash format or in HTML4. While Flash does provide the ability to create very interactive, rich courses, it isn’t supported in the variety of tablets and smartphones that use HTML5 to render the web. HTML4 is still widespread but has its limitations in terms of interactivity.

Many authoring tool vendors have woken up to this fact and the quality of the HTML5 output is getting better and better. There’s some time still before this becomes a deal breaker though. That being said, from this point forward courses should be designed with mobile in mind, even if they’re still rendered in Flash but are able to be exported down the line once the authoring tool supports it well enough.

2) A New Communications Standard

The Tin Can API is positioning itself to replace the venerable SCORM API as the standard in which courses are able to communicate with learning management systems (LMS). Now with any new standard, the adoption rate has the potential to move very slowly depending upon how many trainers and multimedia authoring tools support it. On the plus side, the Tin Can API has a number of modern features that SCORM does not support. Some of the ones to look forward to include:

  • Offline browser support
  • Native mobile applications
  • Ability to track games and simulation
  • Tracking learning plans and goals

Note that the Tin Can API’s initial release is scheduled for April 2013. A number of LMS providers have announced support for the Tin Can API even now in its incomplete state. It might be awhile yet before we see the impact it has on the industry and it’s probably best to take a “wait and see” approach for the short term. As with other innovations, it may take a few months, if not years, before it supplants SCORM as the standard.

3) The Shift From Paper To Digital

As stunning a prospect as it is, the world is moving beyond print. This has been seen in everything from the newspaper, magazine, and even the airline industries. It might seem unbelievable but Amazon.com is now selling more ebooks than paperback and hardcover books combined. Also, NewsWeek has discontinued its weekly magazine publication after 80 years and have shifted to an all-digital format in 2013.

The training industry is also being affected — in a good way! The rise of mobile learning is a direct reflection of this. Online training can breathe new life into old manuals by taking lengthy, dry material and transforming it into vibrant, engaging elearning. There’s a lot of potential for a trainer to make spectacular courses.

4) The Shape of Things to Come

What does the future hold for the training industry at large? More and more companies are realizing that online training not only benefits them financially but also can train learners more effectively. If you’ve already made the transition it’s only going to get better. According to a report by research firm Ambient Insight

“The worldwide market for Self-paced eLearning reached $35.6 billion in 2011. The five-year compound annual growth rate is 7.6% and revenues will reach $51.5 billion by 2016. Five-year revenue forecasts are provided for 85 countries in this report.”

Things are definitely poised to change over the course of the next few years for the online training industry — and we’re looking forward to it!

What do you see for the future of online training? Let us know in the comments below or connect with us on Twitter of Facebook. If you’d like a broader view of where things are headed in 2013, read our free ebook ‘Navigating the Training Industry in 2013’.

Image by Xray Delta One

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