Do you know what your customers expect from your online training? If you haven’t been paying attention to consumer trends in other areas, chances are you are missing out on some of the new expectations your learners are bringing to your classes.
Online learning has been around for a long time — the term “elearning” itself is now 15 years old — but it’s never been a static field. Scheduling a webinar or posting a downloadable slideshow or screencast may not cut it anymore.
Even if you knew, without a doubt, what your customers thought about online training a few years ago, it’s a good idea to check in again and to research the wants, needs and expectations of elearners in 2016. Here are some of the elearning trends we’re seeing.
Elearners are becoming mlearners
According to market research, mobile learning is on the upswing. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Education showed mobile learning via smartphones is gaining mainstream acceptance in 2015, and a recent report by Ambient Insight shows the growth rate for the U.S. consumer elearning is at -4.4 percent, while the demand for mobile learning in the same sector is at 9.6 percent.
This is called product substitution, and it happens almost all the time in the elearning market as new products are introduced and the old products saturate the market.
Right now, it’s important for elearners to be able to take courses on the go. According to a recent Euromonitor International report, consumers want to buy products and services that save them time. That extends to elearning and helps to explain the rise of mobile learning.
Learners are interested in getting more knowledge in less time; they also expect to be able to access your LMS from multiple devices, and because they’re learning around the clock, they also expect your help desk and support services to be available at the same time.
Education on-demand is the default
Years ago, offering on-demand courses to your customers or channel partners was a perk. On-demand, self-paced training was an alternative to live training, or augmented it.
That’s no longer the case. Now learners expect to be able to access training whenever they need it, and in fact may equate online learning with self-paced on-demand courses.
“Your video will begin shortly.”
Your learners see video wherever they go online — not just on Youtube, but embedded in social media, newspaper articles and even in comment sections. It’s only natural that they’ll also expect to see videos in your online courses.
It wasn’t always this way; as recently as two years ago, elearners were accustomed to training made up primarily of PowerPoint presentations. But they’ve grown less accepting of presentations as course content and are more interested in learning by watching videos with people in them than they are in looking at an impersonal presentation.
Fortunately, thanks to devices that make it easy to take high quality, creating videos for course content is simple.To learn more about making videos for your course, read our guide to easy video creation tools.
The typical vision of online learning is for each student to work on their own without much interaction with peers or with the instructor. But learners don’t necessarily want to take their courses in isolation anymore.
According to the Euromonitor report, consumers love sharing; they are constantly sharing their opinions about things they buy, experiences they have and the courses they take. In fact, Gartner shows that social learning platforms are gaining acceptance.
While some edtech companies may not be thrilled by the fact that students want to share reviews of their courses, learners will be online sharing opinions regardless. Some organizations are taking ownership of this practice, making it easier for learners to share their feelings about courses and scheduling feedback sessions on social media platforms.
Related reading: 7 Tools Driving Social Media Success for Online Educators
Online training is always changing
It’s important that you, as an online training provider, are willing to grow and change with the market.
By keeping an ear to the ground and your eyes on the changes in the online learning industry, you’ll be able to serve your learners with the training they need and expect.