It’s December, it’s almost the end of the year and it’s time to talk about the 2016 e-learning trends. We always love to greet the new year with a bang, both literally and figuratively. So, to get you straight to the point – I’m here to point out, what I deem, will be the ed tech trends for the next year.

Just to get things going, here’s a recap of 2015. First, mobile learning. Sure, there were lots of devices released in 2014 and the years before, but 2015 was the mobile age. It was the age where almost everyone owned a smartphone – whether it was Android, Apple or Windows Phone. There are those who are already replacing their full-blown laptops with a more portable tablet. And learning platforms are starting to get mobile developers to publish mobile apps and have them updated on a regular basis. Second, the introduction of gamification. Initially thought by some experts and even teachers as a gimmick, gamification quickly caught the interest of the ed tech world, because the best way to teach students is to play games. And mixing up gaming with learning makes the latter even more fun. And lastly, cloud integration. Yeah, the cloud. For those in the know, learning integration in the cloud isn’t just about using online cloud storage solutions here and there – it also involves the technical aspects of cloud computing such as learning platforms being offered as SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service),  and the ability to access such platforms on any platform, and more importantly, 24/7 collaboration.

So this is what happened in 2015. Now let’s see what are the top e-learning trends for 2016. Here we go…

Cloud classroom

In 2015, cloud integration was the norm and most learning resources were already starting to be cloud-integrated. Next year will take integration a step further. Cloud classrooms will become the norm. Students will be able to access their classroom on the cloud through a unified learning platform system where, if the school is willing, students are not required to be in the class physically. Students and teachers can just log in the platform, and from there they can start sharing desktop screens, collaboratively work on a class document, and so on. They can do webinars and voice/video calls, and the only sole purpose of the classroom will be to physically present school output.

The Internet of Things

The IoT is increasingly becoming a trend these days, and why wouldn’t it? The possibilities are endless. Imagine applications that leverage the power of IoT such as wearables that use telemetry to track students in order to increase safety and security. IT students can also leverage the power of IoT to code and develops apps for low-powered devices. But more importantly, IoT will connect the classroom to the cloud. Embedding internet connectivity to everyday devices will soon become the norm, bridging the physical and virtual world.

Augmented learning

If you look for “2016 e-learning trends” on Google or Bing, augmented learning is always mentioned. More and more companies are working to introduce AR (augmented reality) devices for mass consumption, and Microsoft’s HoloLens is becoming a hot topic because of its endless possibilities for learning – from virtual surgeries for medicine students, to virtual buildings for architects. And let’s not forget about Google Glass and while Google ditched producing the prototype model, they are still committed to develop the consumer model.

BYOD

BYOD was already partially implemented in some schools these past few years, but 2016 will see more and more schools playing catch with the implementation. The advantages obviously outweigh the drawbacks. Practically speaking, students no longer have to carry heavy books and notebooks to schools – all they’d have to do bring is their personal tablet or laptop to school. But it’s not just about that. Classrooms will finally become cloud-centric. Flipped classrooms will be the norm. Students and teachers will both have quick and easy access to their learning materials because they’re saved to a common repository – the cloud. Real-time collaboration will become an actual reality. The possibilities are endless.

Personalized learning

Traditionally, only teachers had the say in the learning design and process – students had no say, and they were only expected to study and pass the subject. But that was just too cruel. What about the slow learners? What about those who work too fast or too slow? Personalized learning changes that style by making the learning process more student-centric. Students work at their own pace. They also take part in the learning design so the lessons are tailor-fit based on learner needs.

2016 will be a big year in e-learning. More schools will become cloud-oriented. There’ll be more collaboration between teachers and students. And the best part is we are part of the change.

Of course, to be a part of change, don’t forget to leave your feedback below 😉

Author: Enzo Froilan

Enzo is a marketing consultant by profession and a passionate e-learning blogger. He’s also a Microsoft Education Ambassador and an advocate for education, so his articles discuss e-learning not just from the insights of a student but also a from a teacher’s perspective, by leveraging his experience to deliver helpful posts.