The global LMS market is on an ascendant pace, being set to reach a whooping USD 11.34 billion by 2020! That’s quite a number, right? The only way to tell if this forecast will become true is to wait another five years. Curiosity and time don’t always play nice with each other, do they?

Until then, we’ll try our own fortune-teller abilities and suggest a few ideas that we think will shape the e-learning landscape in 2016. We only have to wait 13 months to see how we managed, after all.

Let’s see what will be the dominating trends in the e-learning market in 2016:

1. Personalized learning

The learner-centered approach will only expand in 2016, with online courses addressing the needs, preferences and requirements of individuals rather than groups. Learners will have greater control over their learning experience, from setting the pace of instruction and choosing their own learning paths, to getting personalized and various content based on their interests and abilities.

It goes without saying that they should be able to access all learning materials in their own language.

Learning will be a much more enjoyable experience with custom options that are tailored for each individual learner, which will lead to higher engagement rates and of course better results.

2. Mobile learning

With growing figures for the ownership of mobile devices and with digital-savvy millennials taking on the workforce, it will be no surprise that m-learning will continue to expand in the corporate training arena in 2016.

Accessing learning materials whenever and wherever is convenient for learners and efficient for their organizations, as mobile devices are the perfect tools for just in time learning. The continued use of mobile learning will only improve productivity and increase revenue for companies.

3. Social learning

It’s no surprise that learners catch on faster to information when socializing. More and more companies are now using social media tools — sometimes integrated within their LMS — for easy and fast communication. Learners can ask questions, share their concerns and give advice to others on course modules or team projects, therefore creating a community of practice. And all this happens in platforms that resemble their favorite social networks, thus making their experience more entertaining and familiar.

Social learning will be a powerful tool for engaging learners and will continue to have great results because it encourages them to share their knowledge and experiences with others.

4. Gamification

Although gamification probably won’t be the buzzword for 2016, it can’t be overlooked. It gained some serious traction in the last few years and it is on the fast track to becoming an industry standard for e-learning.

Gamification tools like points, badges, levels, leaderboards and rewards increase engagement and create a fun, competitive spirit between learners. It is also a great way to encourage specific behaviors, provide immediate gratification, and track learners’ progress.

5. Video is on the rise

With all the technological advancements and the use of smartphones, video content is blooming and it will continue to do so in 2016. The omnipresent text will meet videos in the form of interactive transcripts. Learners will therefore be able to search for keywords that appear in a video and jump to the part they are most interested in without having to manually look for it.

Videos will also offer a great way of tracking progress. Instructors will have access to a lot of powerful information such as how many times a user opened a video, how much time was spent actively on the page, what keywords they searched for, if they paused it, if there were some parts of the video replayed, thus allowing instructors to later make improvements.

6. A bigger adoption of the cloud

The fear of sharing sensitive corporate data on a public server is constantly being shut down by technological advancements in IT security. Cloud-based LMSs are actually harder to get hacked due to their powerful and constantly updated security protocols.

Moving to the cloud is very advantageous and more and more companies will continue to adopt Saas LMSs in 2016, mostly due to their speed of implementation and substantial savings in terms of operational expenses.

7. Augmented learning

Maybe augmented learning will not see it’s highest peak in 2016, but things will certainly get more close to it next year. Augmented reality devices are here to stay and they will only improve in the near-future. Google Glass or Oculus Rift will support learning by providing additional information about your content. Their popularity in e-learning is only an assumption at the moment, but the potential uses are enthralling.

So there you have it, the top 7 e-learning trends for 2016. We know this can’t possibly be an exhaustive list, so please add your own predictions in the comments section below.

Author: Livia M

Livia is the lead online voice of MATRIX by CYPHER LEARNING. She writes about workplace learning and L&D strategies for businesses, as well as other training and e-learning related subjects.