I’ve spent the last month looking in my crystal ball, trying to determine what 2016 holds for the world of eLearning. Everything points to another year of big growth and opportunity. That growth and opportunity is all about maximizing the options today and tomorrow’s technology provides.

In 2016, I see three big areas of focus for eLearning: mobile, the cloud, and big data.


Remember when you didn’t have access to the World Wide Web at your fingertips? Yeah, me neither. For today’s smartphone-toting learner, training happens wherever they have access to Wi-Fi. As a training and development professional, it’s exciting! This mobile technology means knowledge is accessible at any time and from anywhere. With mobile, the learning environment expands and opens up opportunities to create on-the-job learning like never before. Mobile creates amazing opportunities for eLearning to expand its reach and incorporate new ways of engaging with learners via experiential content they can access on a mobile device.

Crystal ball says: In 2016, every aspect of your eLearning design needs to address the mobile user.


Just a few years ago the folks in IT security and risk assessment were pretty nervous about this thing called “the cloud”. Now at the end of 2015, it seems like the fears have (mostly) subsided and all parts of the business are embracing what this network of servers has to offer. The impact of the cloud for eLearning includes where and how learning is created, where it’s stored, how it’s delivered, how it’s tracked. The cloud has quickly become an integral part of eLearning development and delivery; that will only continue in 2016.

Crystal ball says: In the upcoming year, look for – and leverage – everything the cloud has to offer when it comes to the design and delivery of your eLearning content.

Big Data

Every year we’re collecting and processing more data. For eLearning, the focus in 2016 should be on how to analyze and use the collected data we’ve collected in order to improve our content. Yes, we know that someone has or hasn’t completed a course. We know that they answered 82% of the questions correctly, and we’ve identified which team hasn’t yet met their compliance training requirement for the year. But what else can the data tell us – about how learners learn, about how they interact (or don’t) with the content, about how the training delivers a return on investment?

Crystal ball says: As you begin your projects for 2016, keep big data in mind. Determine what you want to discover, and then determine what data you need in order to do so.

If you’re making any eLearning-related goals this year (of course you are!), be sure that using the opportunities that mobile, the cloud and big data offer is at the top of your list.

LizSheffieldBioLiz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.


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