When Elearning! magazine asked Tridib Roy Chowdhury questions about the future of e-learning, here’s what he had to say. Chowdhury is senior director and general manager, Adobe.
What will e-learning be like five years from now?
The demarcation between learning and e-learning will blur to the point that we will look at this question purely through the lens of learning. In five years, technology will go beyond enabling an alternate method of learning delivery, to increasingly allow organizations to measure and track the effectiveness of learning in the context of business objectives.
I think two considerations will drive the adoption, penetration and importance of learning.
The first is the effectiveness of learning, which will become more important as better analytics help ensure alignment of learning goals with institutional goals. CXOs need to understand how the achievement of individual KPIs — and organizational business objectives — is influenced by learning.
The second consideration is the learner experience. As technology-based delivery of learning becomes mainstream, the content and environment in which learning content is consumed will become critical. “Own place, own time” is important, but surviving learner isolation requires creating a socially active and collaborative learning environment. Any learning platform will need to facilitate personalized navigation, curation and aggregation and present the learner with a unified experience across his or her unique media landscape.
Is m-learning impacting the nature of e-learning?
It is true that m-learning is still in its infancy, but that’s set to change with falling prices of devices and bandwidth; continued increase in the power, screen size and capability of devices; and sustained penetration of mobile devices across the world. Interest in m-learning will grow, and mobility will become a key part of the learner experience.
Tools that facilitate responsive content creation will help address the platform and screen size problems, reduce the time and cost of mobile content creation, and allow the experimentation with m-learning to progress more rapidly. As it does, we will see the development of mobile instructional design, and a “mobile-first” approach to design. Content consumption will expand to more in-place physically immersive settings. As prices for devices drop and developers understand how to author content for these devices, we will see augmented reality making an impact.
What are the biggest challenges facing e-learning authors today?
1) Mobile authoring across multiple learner devices.
2) Course beta-testing backing with data, not anecdotes, testing not only the learning process and course structure but also learning behavior.
3) Creative skill challenges, which sometimes reduce the impact of an otherwise well-structured content.
4) To balance the power-versus-ease equilibrium. With in-product communication services, built-in video tutorials, and both peer and expert support easily accessible via online forums, power has never been accompanied by so much ease.
How can e-learning content creators counter the shifting gaze of their learners?
Web analytics is helping provide marketers with excellent data support to track the efficacy of their marketing spends. As I mentioned earlier, I fully believe that will become the expectation from learning analytics also. But the comparison ends there.
I think it will become commonplace to start a learning process on one device in the workplace, continue it on another one in the subway, and finish it on a third device at home. But I don’t see any competition for attention, as learning is a much more deliberate action than looking at an ad on a website.
The challenge for authors is to ensure that content is device-sensitive and is able to meet learning objectives across multiple devices.