2022 is ending, and it is time to stop and think about what will happen in the coming year. Below, we present a series of trends that we believe will mark 2023. This information can be used to gather ideas to propose the next training plan and also to establish improvements at the level of ICT infrastructure, methodologies or content creation processes.
For ease of reading, we have divided the trends into two categories: at the technology level and at the methodological level. Go for it!
Artificial intelligence applied to e-Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already a tangible reality that we can use with surprising results in just a few clicks, beginning to offer exciting solutions at very affordable prices. The most curious thing is that we are already interacting with various artificial bits of intelligence in our day-to-day lives without even realizing it.
In the field of e-learning specifically, this will be the year for the implementation of solutions that will help us create multimedia content with the help of AI: video creation, image creation, music or soundtrack creation, voiceovers through neural voices… endless possibilities that can help us create original content for our projects in a few minutes, starting from scratch.
And we will also have within our reach solutions that will help us interact and personalize learning through the intelligent exploitation of data: chatbots (or learn bots ) and improved virtual assistants, adaptive learning technologies, advanced student behaviour prediction systems… In short, systems can learn from their interactions with each user, offering them a more personalized experience and generating patterns aimed at optimizing the educational experience and improving the efficiency of training programs.
What a novelty! TRUE? After decades of using LMS and authoring tools that allow us to do almost whatever we want without knowing how to code, it turns out that in 2023 this is a trend. You are right! That’s how it is. And it is not so much for novelty but for empowering our possibilities. And it is that creation without code is being taken to new scenarios and opening new ways to our creativity without having to depend on programmers to develop content.
From the possibility of creating multimedia content with just a few clicks (including the AI tools in the previous point) to the increasing possibilities offered by tools with drag-and-drop templates through hybrid platforms such as Figma, which allow us to work with designs in a friendly way (and as a team) and then provide us with the code so that we can quickly implement it in the interface of our platform or content.
The magic applied to e-learning and a balm for people with a creative profile, who can optimize their efforts and carry out their work more efficiently, not to mention the amount of economic resources that can be saved from the budget dedicated to training, while the programming and IT staff can dedicate their time to other equally necessary tasks.
Web 3.0. it is a reality that is already here. If the web 2.0. It has allowed us to collaborate and interact online, overcoming the barriers of web 1.0. (primitive web, in which the user had a passive role and limited himself to see the information published by other people or organizations), web 3.0. It is a new model of Internet use whose objective is to create a more intelligent, interconnected, personalized and open network.
Web 3.0. it comes hand in hand with other more specific technological disruptions, such as artificial intelligence (yes, again), Big Data or blockchain (not to be confused with Bitcoin), as well as other developing technologies, which mainly have two factors in common: being focused on data analysis and based on models of comprehension and processing thereof by machines.
Web 3.0. It will take a few years (a decade is expected) to settle definitively. Still, its first practical applications are already beginning to be seen in our field: artificial intelligence applied to e-learning, xAPI standard (to the detriment of SCORM ) for open processing of large quantities of data, blockchain applied to certificates and digital signatures, advanced identity verification systems… and let’s not lose sight of the use of NFTs in e-learning (but that is another story and must be told another time).
Yes, that’s right, another classic in trends: the metaverse. But it is that, even though in 2022 it has been named in almost more negative than positive news, this trend is still here and little by little, it will stabilize.
Beyond Meta (the old Facebook), the metaverse is a technology that has been used for years in e-learning, but little by little, we will see how it becomes more common and affordable. What is needed for this? For starters, less heavy hardware and cheaper devices, but also some standardization, since most manufacturers are deciding to take the battle by their side.
But this year, we will continue to see great advances in this regard and, without a doubt, there will be large companies that will act as early adopters of this technology, so we must keep track of it closely and gradually implement it, even if it is from small brushstrokes in our projects.
An easy way to start is to create your avatar. I liked this initiative: Union Avatars. Curiously, it focuses on this idea of a sure standardization and uses some technologies in its approach: NFT, Web 3 Ecosystem, blockchain, metaverse… Do they sound familiar? It’s not that the planets are aligning; everything we discuss has different faces of the same (future) reality.
Let’s leave the more technical side of the matter and focus now on the pedagogical and methodological part of what will come in 2023 in e-learning.
Hybrid learning plans
Hybrid learning, mixed model or blended learning, is not a revolution. Still, it will be a trend in 2023, and it is something to consider in those training plans that want to offer each person an enriching and complete experience.
It consists of alternating online and offline training actions, putting the best of both worlds in the hands of the training experience. This model has always been considered the most effective for learning. This year, which will be the first with “full normality” after the coronavirus crisis, it seems essential to return to face-to-face contact in training actions.
The flipped classroom methodology or inverted classes in hybrid learning is worth considering. And you can also carry out extended e-learning experiences, which leave the LMS but use electronic devices (for example, a face-to-face tour of a company’s facilities through an audio guide located in an mp3, as in museums! !).
The personalization of learning will increase more and more since it is a way to optimize the experience at a pedagogical level, which, little by little, is becoming technically possible with the flowering of web 3.0. and the exploitation of data.
Thus, we will find more personalized learning environments focused on our specific training needs, and that will even learn to guide us better the more we interact with the platform and the content.
Also, being more achievable and realistic in the short term, there is the possibility of promoting Planned Learning Itineraries, which mix online and offline training experiences. These planned trips are a strategic resource that usually guarantees a good return on investment in training, as they are highly thought-out plans for each specific profile based on demographic characteristics, the functions of the position held and even the performance of each person. And they can be technically implemented in a relatively simple way through filters or automatic enrollment rules.in training and courses, based on user profile fields (e.g., automatically enrol María in these courses because she belongs to the commercial area of the company, and also in these courses because she is under 30 years of age… and in these others, because she has a medium level of English; resulting in a personalized Itinerary for María).
Under this Anglo-Saxon expression hides something that should be done but is only sometimes done: measuring tangibly and entirely that the learning outcomes have been met. That is to say, adequately assess that the person who has carried out the training has acquired the knowledge, skills and abilities for which the course or the Learning Itinerary they have completed was designed.
The measurement of these learning results is often relegated to a generic or evaluation test in which only a tiny part of the content covered in training is applied. A strategic approach to evaluation goes somewhat deeper, where it is measured, through one or several evaluation activities, whether the expected learning outcomes have been achieved. It is like an internal audit process of each training activity or a seal of quality that each specific person has achieved the results assumed for having carried out the training.
As we have said, it means approaching the evaluation in a strategic and planned way and using different evaluation methods beyond the automatic correction tests: simulations, case studies, problem-solving… even offline.
If until recently, the trend was micro-learning, now we are talking about nano-learning: short, clear and concise training experiences lasting between 2 and 5 minutes. They are experiences focused on focusing on the content for brief periods, avoiding distractions and favouring concentration. In turn, it is a flexible and appropriate methodology in contexts where multitasking “eats up” a large part of our day, leaving (short) spare time for training. And it is also a methodology quite adapted to the new social context and generations Y and Z (and possibly Alpha).
Not all learning can or should be adapted to this methodology. Still, it is a good choice for specific training courses, such as certain soft skills or gradual and escalated training in mastering software. Some call them “training bursts, ” which can be very useful if used strategically and appropriately.
Extra ball: sustainability as a trend
Finally, we must recognize one of the most significant technological trends, not for fashion or a value issue, but out of pure necessity. Since as several experts predict: “The future will be sustainable, or it will not be”.
It is necessary to stop and think about the environmental costs that our training actions entail (not only the economic ones) and act accordingly. And also, think about the small actions in our power to carry out online and face-to-face training as sustainably as possible, without prejudice to quality.
Some actions that are in our hands, speaking of online training, would be: the use of sustainable hosting, reduction of source code in online pills, reduction of the weight of multimedia elements, evaluation of the carbon footprint generated in our training and implementation of actions for compensation, use of hardware and cloud services moved with energy obtained from renewable sources, use heavy elements (such as videos) only if it is really necessary, etc.
In short, a lot to think about on the subject, but we wanted to give it the specific weight it has in this article. So that if little by little we are taking measures in this regard, those that are in our power, we will ensure that over time our training is not only suitable for our students and our organization but also the planet.
Looking to the future, starting from the roots
As we have seen, the future is exciting, and a hectic year 2023 awaits us and is surely full of surprises. You can also see that the reference to the movie “Back to the Future” in the article’s header image is not accidental. And it is that many of the trends we have seen are old acquaintances, which are presented again with a leading role, returning to the important place they must occupy in our planning.
Looking to the future, taking into account the roots is not nostalgia or a brake on innovation; it is to grow and evolve in an orderly, natural and responsible way. And, besides, it is already known that fashions are cyclical…