Adobe announced its decision not to support, update, and distribute Flash Player from 2020. Flash will be phased out by 2020, organizations across the elearning industry are gearing up for d-day when Flash published content will be blocked on all browsers and HTML5 will be the new standard on the web. Read further to understand the impact on elearning through this 2 part series of articles. Here’s the link to the second part.

The reasons for this decision include:

  • Incompatibility of Flash with mobile devices – does not allow resizing to fit a mobile or tablet screen
  • Poor security of the information sent or received
  • Heavy usage of the device’s power and performance

All the browsers will stop supporting Flash content by 2020 and there would be a need to look out for alternative technologies to develop courses. As organizations are constantly looking at the concept of anytime, anywhere learning on any device, HTML is the popular alternative, it provides functionalities that are more stable and scalable compared to Flash content.

As the entire web is now moving from Flash content to HTML5, which is more supportive of the modern devices and platforms, and an open system, what happens to all the content built on Flash? What happens to the courses published as Flash output? 

There’s no reason to panic. There are various solutions you can avail to convert your Flash content as well as Flash published courses to HTML5.

Before that let’s delve on how HTML5 is a more optimal solution than Flash for modern elearning

  1. Security: HTML5 is more secure than Flash, HTML5 is not a plugin like Flash, and security updates are agile and done on the browser itself, all of this makes HTML5 more secure and apt for modern elearning.
  2. Compatibility: HTML5 is an open web markup language recognized by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and incorporated in all modern-day browsers. Courses built on HTML5 will render smoothly on all current browsers.
  3. Multi Device Access: Learners these days own multiple devices and they want to access content on all of them, without hassle. Flash content is created to work on PCs, HTML5 content works seamlessly across platforms and devices.
  4. Hardware Efficiency: As compared to Flash content, platforms and devices consume less than half the battery power and chip capacity when rendering HTML content. This is what we need as we use elearning in greater volume and use our devices for a wide range of applications.
  5. Added Advantages: HTML5 allows creation of mobile based quick bites of lessons. It supports interactivity and gamified learning to a higher degree.

By 2020, Flash will be obsolete, which mandates elearning providers to transition to HTML5 and convert their existing content to the open system from Flash. Like we said, there’s nothing to panic as it’s not a Herculean task, but the sooner we get onto it the better and easier it will be.

Keep watching this space for more details on the process and methodologies followed during the migration and conversion of your content from Flash to HTML5.

Write back to us for queries and feedback @ corpmarketing@impelsys.com

Elearning Trends 2018

The global elearning market is a continually shifting landscape, facts like increase in the number of edtech startups every year, geographical expansion of the market and predictions that the elearning industry will cross USD 200 bn mark in a couple of years point towards the mass acceptance of online learning in modern education systems. Year 2017 saw an increasing number of local colleges embracing online learning to complement their learning programmes, and there were other prevailing trends and technologies that shaped the future of the industry. The trends predicted to move the parts and gears of the industry for 2018 broadly follow those from the previous year. Also there is an inclination towards some new concepts that might have an impact on the industry.

Bite-sized Learning

Microlearning is not new for 2018, the practice was there in the education industry for many years and was popularized and given a new form by enabling technologies in last couple of years. However, the trend finds top spot in the current year as well, the reason being the acceptance of its impact in online learning programs as a powerful aid in imparting short but meaningful bites of lessons. Elearning providers worldwide have embraced the utility of microlearning and now most of them are providing 3-15 minutes long bites of lessons that learners can access and learn during the short breaks of their usual routine, at work, at home or while on commute. Almost all of the microlearning lessons are accessed on mobile devices.

Mobility

Mobility, though on the list for more than a year now, still has a swathe of unexplored territories in online learning world. With almost everyone of us carrying a smartphone, anything that reaches and is accessible on our devices has a bigger possibility of consumption than on a PC. Elearning providers when designing courses have to think mobile first, as most of the modern learners love to do things on-the-go. Microlearning lessons, elearning games and video lessons, which are becoming significant contributors to any elearning program are best consumed on mobile devices.

Games that Teach Lessons

Gamification is not a new word for the industry, however it remains trending more than before, the reason being its wide acceptance by the industry and the multiple benefits that come with games as lessons. We all love to play little games on our devices and feel accomplished when the score is rising or a level is crossed, the same behavior is exploited by gamified elearning lessons. Besides, gamified lessons are proven to engage the learners more than plain text or mundane lectures, they are not stressful, and they can be adapted for any subject or skill. We will see a rise in gamification of learning in future with elearning providers offering more and more of the service.

Varied Sources of Content

Content generation for elearning does not have to be necessarily done by course authors and trainers only. User interaction with the courses generates ample amount of content that could lead to new insights, SMEs can have their own interpretations and ideas which could lead to better comprehension of concepts. User generated content is taking form as a new trend in the industry. Platform providers have to offer tools that accumulate and optimize user content. This practice will have benefits for enterprise learning wherein stakeholders can provide quick insights leading to better collaboration and exchange of ideas.

Artificial Intelligence as a Game Changer

Artificial Intelligence has been disrupting industries by numbers, education is one industry that has a broad range of use cases and game changing applications from AI. The technology can be used in automation of content creation, assessment, fostering a better learning environment to analyzing individual learning path to advising a career route. Microsoft’s VP, Anthony Salcito sees a lot of potential in. “It’s not about taking data sets, consolidating them and then having everyone use charts and graphs to decide a path. It’s actually having the data in an underlying way orchestrate the right activities, the right experiences and the connections that you need to make to content, to students, to the environment. And that’s true both on the classroom side, but also on the back end.”

He says it’s less about data and more about experience, so based on the learner’s aspiration in terms of career, his schedule, what classes and tests he’s taking, and who his peer groups are — his learning environment can change, and using data fuel the experiences that are unique to him based on his own conditions.

Elearning can gain immensely from Artificial Intelligence, it can augment and complement the efforts from instructors, help them in identifying loopholes in their training methods via feedback and through other data sets help the organization in building a holistic and appropriate learning environment for every individual learner.

With the shape changing nature of elearning industry it’s hard to keep up with every trend and upgrade the existing system. However it’s essential to review the programs and keep an eye on how things evolve, some parts of the evolution become integrated into the industry making it imminent to embrace them. Apart from the above mentioned trends many other concepts take form every season. E.g., online learning mainly consists of interaction with machines, but this doesn’t mean human interaction is not possible. Programs can include a human touch with video lessons, webinars and live discussions among instructors and group of learners. So, more of ‘Human Touch’, which caters to the innate emotional needs of learners will advance as a trend in future. Besides, adaptive learning, interactive videos and social learning are essential parts of any successful elearning programme.

Social Learning

Unless it’s a castaway situation learning is totally a social experience – we learn by observing and imitating others throughout our lives. In case of academic learning social engagement has a constructive effect on the way we comprehend lessons, it impacts our memory and capacity to absorb information. In a social environment learning is reinforced via discussion and exchange of ideas, the exposure to other’s opinions adds to the amount of information received.

Learning also is a continuous process, we don’t stop  learning when the tutor is gone or we leave the classroom, we discuss, we share and we collaborate. In corporate learning social has larger role where employees realize the outright benefits of sharing. Social learning is more than the exuded corporate bonhomie, it has real significance and aids the whole learning process by creating a positive atmosphere and network of information flow.

Auxiliary Learning

Classes and trainings occur at scheduled times, whereas social learning continues, peers are available when you need a quick clarification on a topic, when you have missed on something important during the lecture. Sharing and collaboration supplements and adds to the amount of learning, we can ask questions or volunteer when others are in need. Social learning helps build trust among peers and promotes open communication and sociability.

Social Learning and Modern LMSs

Modern learning is augmented by technology; learning management systems or elearning platforms in which students access the learning material in the form of digital courseware via devices like mobiles and laptops, and classes are held online in a virtual spaces, are taking over from the formal classroom setting. Modern LMSs like iPC Scholar which contribute massively to academic and enterprise learning are bound to deliver and enhance the social learning experience, made possible with the unfathomed power of technology.

Tools like discussion forums, online chat options, blogs, news feed and user groups can be part of the platform. The administrator could set the guidelines to maintain professionalism and in turn enhance the learning outcomes and productivity of the group. Plug-ins to social media platforms and blog sites with discussion in news feed or auxiliary resource in blogs will have an added advantage. Hashtags are resourceful when we want information about a topic.

Bypass Inhibition

Researchers estimate extroverts make up 50 – 74 percent of the population, the rest are introverts. In the same blog in psychologytoday.com it says that Steve Jobs, a charismatic extrovert, teamed up with introvert Steve Wozniak to co-found Apple Inc, which shows that extroverts and introverts make up a powerful team. Introverts have inhibitions which keep them from open communication, this doesn’t mean they have any less potential than those who speak up comfortably.

In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain make this point, “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” she suggests that our collective extrovert bias hurts not just introverts – but the wider economy. Savvy executives know that the extrovert bias also hurts organizations and teams. Elearning platforms that support social learning are a wonderful place for introverts to share their ideas, what they couldn’t say in a classroom they can express online.

Hence technology has a role to play in facilitating social learning by means of providing platforms for auxiliary learning and bypassing inhibition. Teamwork is essential in modern corporate environment, it’s the result of convergence of multiple talents that leads to achievements, without teamwork there would be no Apple, Google or Microsoft and no aeroplanes. Elearning platforms should have those features and tools to promote collaboration in learning and training, they are bound to be inculcating the value of teamwork in the minds of learners from early on.

https://www.impelsys.com/online-learning/elearning-trends-radar-year-2018/

lms features

For providers of education and business organizations online learning is no more about joining the digital bandwagon. Online learning has been proven to enhance the learning outcomes and boost productivity by a significant amount. The reports from online learning industry show a clear standing for the trend and its impact, online learning is anticipated to be a $37.6 billion market by 2020.

Learning management system or lms is going to be the mainstay product for all learning strategies in future. For those who have started believing in the power and need of online learning the first puzzle to solve is what kind of lms they need. We bring here a quick guide on what goes on in picking the best lms software and the lms features that you need.

User Experience

User Experience always finds itself in the lms features list that is must for a rewarding lms, it’s key to acceptance of any online learning platform by all the stakeholders. If your lms doesn’t provide a convenient user experience, no matter how robust it is, it will be a cause of annoyance for end users and admins. An intuitive user interface with responsive web design is a mandate for all modern lms.

Mobility

More than half of the digital content worldwide is consumed on mobile devices, so is elearning. Mobility is a mandate for any learning platform if you want to capture the entire audience. A platform should have device agnostic web responsive delivery across platforms. Mobile apps are a must for elearning success, learners tend to access lesson bites on-the-go, which is best delivered through apps. This also helps in enhanced learning and in longer retention.

Course Authoring Tools

When you decide on implementing online learning in your education or training programmes, one important consideration is whether to build the digital courses yourself or get them done from digital courseware service providers. Regardless, course authoring capability is important for modern elearning platforms. There may come a time when you need to write your courses yourself, course authoring capability is an important part of lms features list to be considered.

Assessments and Feedbacks

Assessments are an integral part of any learning programme, they help in measuring learners’ comprehension and implement relevant strategies to enhance it. An lms should have tools to take assessments in various ways, depending on your needs. It could be written exams, multiple objective questions, online simulations or scenarios. Feedbacks are an important way to get opinions and views on the approval of courses, teaching methodology and the platform. Advanced lms also has certification tool, wherein upon successful completion of courses certificates are generated within the system.

Customization, Personalization, Scalability

There are hundreds of lms providers and there are millions who are going to use them. Your organization, training model and brand is unique and so is your lms features requirement. You might need to tweak some of the features, add personalization to your online learning, and provide personalized lessons to members or group of learners. Scalability is important, your lms may need new features in future, the platform should be able to integrate them without any hassle. Your new lms should also be able to integrate your branding elements in its user interface and carry the core message of your organization.

Interactivity/ Gamification

Success of modern lms is partly attributed to interactivity and gamification that it can implement. You need to consider what level of interactivity and gamification you need for your courses to deliver enhanced learning. Training on design courses need a lot of interactive elements while delivering history lectures may not, the content will be different and so will be teaching method. Augmented reality is being used in training of design, architecture, healthcare and many other fields.

Social Collaboration

Social media is a wonderful place for discussion and exchange of ideas. If your lms provides access to social media groups and blog posts it’s a valuable add on. Learners want to share ideas and get feedbacks from peers, collaborative learning is also known to alleviate the drab of exhaustive learning.

Reporting And Analytics

Tracking is one of the important lms features. To ensure effective learning it’s important to keep an eye on student progress and course impact. There are various aspects of elearning that can be tracked. You need to pin down what aspects you want to track and know whether your prospective lms provides it. Customizable tracking is an advanced feature contained in modern lms. iPublishCentral Learn is a modern lms with high customizability and scalability. It gives granular reports on various aspects of learning, helping admins implement effective strategy for enhanced learning outcome.

An effective lms is crucial to the success of any online learning programme. Choosing an lms that fulfils all your requirements and gives satisfactory return on investment needs lot of considerations, it’s wise to do research and consult the case with prospective lms software providers. It’s a time taking process which needs careful deliberation.

The above discussed list of lms features are important ones for any learning programme, besides educators also need to see if they need features like Instructor-led classes and adaptive learning engine. They need to decide whether they need a cloud based platform or installed software. Security and compatibility are an important factor for a trouble free lms. Any unwanted feature needs to be avoided as it may distract the users and result in needless cost escalation.

https://www.impelsys.com/online-learning/elearning-trends-radar-year-2018/