A trip back in time: How we were speaking about eLearning 5 years ago

Hannah Waddams | 02/26/2018

The Omniplex eLearning blog turns five this year, so I thought it was a great time to look back through the archives and see what we what we were blogging about five years ago.

Inactive or interactive

Stumbling across our blog post ‘Inactive or interactive: The secret to eLearning content development’ from 2013 was a really interesting read. Particularly the following quote:

“The goal is not to win audience through fancy multimedia effects, but to stimulate reflection. The rich interactive options available to us today need to support the process, not stifle it.”

This quote caught my attention for two reasons. Firstly, because it’s oh so true - how many times have you seen interactions in eLearning courses with no real purpose? But secondly because I was sure I’d read it before. And that’s probably because we gave almost the same advice in our blog ‘8 mistakes you may be making with your eLearning design’ last year.

So, what’s changed?

Simply put, not much. It is as important today, as it was five years ago, to make sure interactions add value to your eLearning. And if they don’t? Leave them out.

Although the job of the eLearning developer is harder; we now have even more interactions to play with – and when they can be really fun, like the dial interaction in Storyline, it’s even harder to leave them out.

Accessibility, accessibility, accessibility!

At Learning Technologies 2018, Helen Tyson, Senior Trainer here at Omniplex hosted a seminar on ‘Reducing visual stress in eLearning: Accessibility in Articulate Storyline’ and I can’t help but wonder if she got her inspiration from a 2014 blog of ours. 

In this blog we discussed the key tips to encourage and engage dyslexic students such as using readable fonts, adjusting column widths, proper graphics and avoiding blinking text – which will also help bring clarity to a page.

So, what’s changed?

The principles in this blog stand as true today as they did when it was first published. eLearning can be a great avenue for engaging learners with visual stress or dyslexia, but it is paramount that courses are created with accessibility in mind.

However, the tools we use to create eLearning have come on a long way since then, and we can quickly and easily make our courses more accessible. To learn how to do this, check out our blog post, here.

Social learning 

Since 2013, we have been advising our readers that humans are social learners by design and encouraging our readers to embrace social learning to help their organisation work smarter and faster. 

So, what’s changed with social learning in the past five years?

The principles of social learning are still the same and refer back to Charles Jenning’s 70:20:10 framework. Jenning’s framework for learning crystallised the anecdotal theories that we learn best when we do so from our experiences and interactions with othersThe difference is that we now have learning management systems that are readily available to help you implement social learning throughout your organisation. For example, Docebo is a huge advocate of social learning, shown through its ‘Learn, Coach and Share’ platform. Learn, Coach and Share encourages social learning, whilst also facilitating more traditional forms of learning: 

  • Learn allows organisations to organise, track and distribute online courses for formal learning with an easy-to-use Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Coach lets learners ask questions and get answers from SME’s (subject matter experts). Giving learners the power to get the information they need, when they need it.
  • Share captures user generated knowledge from the experts in organisations, validates it through peer-review and shares it across teams.

Plus, according to a recent Brandon Hall Group study, 73% of the surveyed companies expect to increase their focus on social learning, so social learning is definitely in the forefront of the minds of L&D professionals in 2018. Is it about time you introduced social learning to your learning strategy?

So, what’s changed in the last five years?

You might have read this post thinking so what has changed in the world of eLearning in the last five years? And the answer is so much.

The tools we use to create eLearning have greatly improved. This time five years ago we were creating our courses on Articulate Storyline 2. Now, we have a whole host of tools to develop with in Articulate 360, including Storyline, Studio and Rise. 

What’s more, responsive design has increased in importance, and is less of a ‘nice-to-have’ and more of a ‘must-have’ than it was five years ago. However, unlike responsive websites, where content still makes sense if it switches from three columns to one column, we need to put a bit more thought into responsive learning. For example, slide-based eLearning wouldn’t make sense if two objects, for example characters in a conversation, suddenly moved or disappeared when viewing on a smaller screen. That’s where responsive authoring tools, like Rise, step in.

The increase in responsive learning is largely based on the fact our learners have changed significantly in the last five years. Our youngest learners are digital natives and expect a lot from their eLearning courses. They will expect to access their courses on any device, anywhere – and as eLearning developers, we need to cater to that.

Aside from new device types, technology has also provided so many avenues for eLearning, from user generated video content to virtual reality. Our friends at Articulate predict that interactive video will take off in 2018. Using tools like Storyline 360, developers can add hotspots, layers, and triggers to turn a passive video into an interactive experience. You can see interactive video in action in this great example on the eLearning Heroes Community.

Finally, L&D professionals are now demanding more from their eLearning tools. According to Docebo’s whitepaper on eLearning trends for 2018, people are switching their learning management systems as they’re searching for improved user and administrative experience, more reporting functionalities and further integrations. Putting pressure on eLearning solutions providers to meet their needs and exceed expectations.

So, new technology and tools, digital native learners and tougher demands on eLearning tools have changed eLearning in the past five years. Coupling this with our improved understanding of what works in eLearning, and the acceptance of eLearning within organisations, means we’ve come a long way in the past five years. 

So, how do you think eLearning has changed in the past five years? Let us know @OmniplexeLearn or drop us an email to learning@omniplex.co we’d love to know your thoughts!

Is your eLearning in need of a refresh? At Omniplex we have a whole team of eLearning specialists ready to help you refresh your eLearning. Interested? Get in touch.

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Hannah Waddams

Hannah is a marketing executive here at Omniplex

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