In this article, WBT Systems takes a look at how these trends could impact on learning programs in the year ahead, and explores how TopClass LMS meets your current and future mobile learning needs.
Trend 1: Farewell Flash. Hello HTML5
HTML5 has without doubt taken over from Flash as the bedrock of all new eLearning content development. HTML5 is supported across all devices and browser types (unlike legacy Flash-based content). The TopClass LMS is a fully-fledged HTML5 Web Application that can serve up all of your HTML5 eLearning content on demand.
If you do have legacy Flash content, you are probably well aware that the migration from Flash to HTML5 content can be expensive, and time-consuming. If your content only has a relatively short learning half-life left you may well want to consider leaving it as is until it runs to a natural end. You won't be forced to convert all your content to HTML5 overnight as there is still some browser support - but this will fade away over time. The TopClass LMS will also serve up all of your legacy Flash based courses if required of course.
Trend 2: Big Data Applications
More and more organisations are utilizing their data as a competitive source of advantage. Harnessing learning related data can lead to real insights, allowing you to identify gaps in performance and any associated learning opportunities. Your LMS needs to be able to collect, organize and present this data in a unified and cohesive manner.
TopClass has a fully built-in reports and analytics engine. It also utilizes Data Dashboards, Visual Charting and Contextual Analytics throughout.
Trend 3: Responsive Design
A Responsive Design:
"provides an optimal viewing and interaction experience —easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling— across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)"
Users should be provided with an enhanced learning experience that has been designed to respond to their learning device of choice. In fact, your Responsive Learning Management System should be designed with mobile first in mind. This approach plans for the small screen first.
Take a look at the article "Why You Need A Responsive Learning Management System" for further details on why a Responsive Design is so important.
Trend 4: Wearable Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT)
The growing prevalence of wearable technologies, e.g. smart watches and IoT devices, opens up the ability to create new user Learning Experiences. Future possibilities include designing user-centered, contextual apps to complement and harness the LMS data we have at our disposal. E.g. Notifications sent to smart watches, to prompt when courses are about to begin, certificates are overdue etc.
The move to create new learning solutions for wearables and other emerging technologies must come with a caveat: that the learning solution addresses an actual learning need. For example, the limited screen real-estate available to smart watches means that standard eLearning stalwarts such as video, image rich content etc. may not be suitable.
With new technologies must come new learning design patterns. These new learning patterns will require research and validation to ensure that they actually solve real learning issues (or enhance existing solutions). Without proper research we run the risk of making false assumptions about what is actually of value.
Trend 5: 'Moment of Need' Mobile Support
As Christopher Pappas points out in his article:
"employees need access to reference materials, such as tutorials and manuals, outside of the online training environment. This allows them to do their job effectively and carry out vital tasks without having to step away from their work stations. This is why “moment of need” mobile support is a major trend for 2016 and beyond."
This Moment of Need Support is enabled in a variety of different ways. TopClass provides Discussion Forums, rich and easy-to-use Catalog Browse and Search capabilities, and as mentioned above a Responsive and Mobile-first design approach to facilitate this provision of support to front-line users. In this way, the LMS acts as a Performance Support Tool for end-users.
Trend 6: Geo-Location
Being HTML5 compliant opens up the capability to integrate Geo-Location support. As with wearable technology support however, Geo-Location support should only be used where it contributes to, or enhances the overall Learning Experience.
For example, if a user is using a compatible mobile device with location support, it may appear to make sense to default them to the nearest location for Instructor-Led or Conference Learning events. However instead of requiring the nearest location to their current position, the user may be searching from a remote location, on behalf of a colleague, or for the least expensive option instead. In order to prevent usability issues, we need to firstly understand the user's context. Just because technology allows you to utilize a feature, doesn't mean that you necessarily always should.
Christopher Pappas also points out in his article that "geo-location must usually be paired with localization" if you are catering to international markets. The TopClass LMS provides the capability for full localisation support and is shipped with a number of the most commonly used languages.
So it is clear that mobile learning trends could make a big impact in 2016, but that careful consideration should be given to each trend when developing education programs for delivery through your LMS, to make sure they are relevant and benefit your learners. TopClass LMS has you covered from every angle if you are ready to explore these trends - request a demo to see how you can mobilize your learning programs in 2016!