What 2014 Has In Store For Online Training In The Workplace

What 2014 Has In Store For Online Training In The Workplace

It’s that time of year again! No, we’re referring to the holidays. Rather it’s the time of year when we take a look forward to see where we think the next twelve months will go. It’s been an exciting year for training. Some things caught us off guard and some things just didn’t pan out as expected. Here’s what we think it going to shake things up in 2014 for etraining.

    1. More Exclusively Cloud-Based LMSs

      The LMS or Learning Management System is the training management software that not only helps you deliver online training courses to your employees but also monitor their performance. Traditionally, an LMS license was purchased from a vender and the software was installed on an internal company server. Any updates to the software would then have to be vetted by the IT department. As a consequence, access was often restricted to within the company internal network and sometimes updates would take longer than usual to roll out.

      Today, the majority of the LMSs on the market are cloud-based; meaning that they are hosted on the vendor’s servers and available through a web browser. The vendor is responsible for not only hosting the software on their servers but any updates. Like any software that is available via a web browser, employees are able to access it more readily outside of the confines of the office network.

    2. Tin Can API Gaining Inroads

      In order for etraining and an LMS to communicate, they need to speak the same language. Currently this is being handled by a communications protocol called SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model). SCORM has working well for over 10 years now reporting course time, course completion, course pass/fail, and individual scores.

      However, with more of an emphasis on actual performance gains from etraining, information is needed to back it up. The Tin Can API helps to fill that gap. In addition to the reporting features that SCORM has, the Tin Can API also offers:

      • Reporting of multiple scores

      • More detailed test results

      • No LMS required or internet browser required

      • Use mobile apps for learning

      • Track serious games

      • Track simulations

      • Track informal learning

      • Track real-world performance

      • Track offline learning

      • Track interactive learning

      • Track adaptive learning

      • Track blended learning

      • Track long-term learning

      • Track team-based learning

      In short, it provides the solid foundation for training well into the future by looking at how people are using their devices right now.

      Unfortunately, like any exciting new standard, it will take some time before mass adoption. SCORM itself took several years before it was commonplace.

    3. App-Based Mobile Learning

      In 2013, mobile learning meant courses created on a course authoring tool and then published in HTML5 format so that it could be viewed on smartphones and tablets. We’ll see more of mobile learning in 2014 as the tools that create the online training courses become more refined and the courses that they publish will run more smoothly on a variety of devices.

      The fact of the matter is, when it comes to tablets and smartphones, apps are where it’s at. The first thing a person does when they get a new smartphone or tablet is to immediately head to the Apple or Android app store and start downloading apps to provide additional functionality and features to their devices. Natives apps almost always provide a better experience than their web-based counterparts because they can run offline.

      The good news is that the Tin Can API allows custom built apps to take part in training by communicating results back to the Learning Record Store (LRS). Additionally, learning can be done offline and results transmitted back to the LRS once connectivity is restored.

    4. More Interactive Courses / Gamification

      Etraining courses are going to be far more interactive in 2014 as performance gains are already being seen from courses that employ this technique.

      We’re in a transitional period where a lot of organizations may have implemented etraining but done so in way that isn’t compelling. This has resulted in poor knowledge retention, dismal completion rates, and poor employee performance. As organizations become more aware the best ways that skills can be transferred, we’re seeing more and more custom training solutions that a solid instructional design foundation that contains interactive and gamification elements.

The most interesting thing with any list is to see where we year in one years time from now. One thing I can guarantee is that etraining is moving past its awkward teenage years of “presentation-style” learning and truly coming into its own. The courses are getting better because actual performance gains are now being scrutinized. It’s going to be an exciting year.

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