Year after year, predictions are posted about what is to come in eLearning development.  Experts use polls, percentages, and general trends to forecast what will happen in the upcoming year.  I have been part of this group as in the past I have posted general eLearning predictions based on what I have learned in the industry.  This year, I wanted to do something different.  My team at Web Courseworks consists of programmers, instructional designers, project managers, a sales team, and management department, to name some, and who better to make predictions about 2013 than a team of people whose work delves into eLearning and its related topics every day?  So here it is, 2013 eLearning predictions created by my team at Web Courseworks.

The Future of HTML5 and mLearning

To my surprise, everyone seemed to be dreaming about HTML5, though the topic of HTML5 brought predictions at all ends of the spectrum.  A few people, such as Kelsey, one of our Multimedia Developers stated that “2013 will be the year that flash developers will need to learn HTML5 as eLearning takes a huge step further into the mobile scene,” and another Multimedia developer, Brian, further predicted that the because “HTML5 will continue to be on the forefront of eLearning,” this demand will drive the development of easy-to-use templates.  Aileen, our Vice President of Business Development, agreed that “Online quick guides that are interactive and responsive to what the user is looking for on the job creates efficiency and maximizes learning beyond the classroom,” so these on-the-spot demands will increase the necessity for mobile and table accessibility.

As to the discussion of who will be most interested in mobile learning applications and benefit the most from mobile learning platforms, Karissa, one of our Marketing Coordinators believed that the adoption of mLearning will continue to “lag except in markets with specific on-the-job training use cases.”  She said tablets are ideal for some very specialized use cases (such as on-the-job training for those in numerous healthcare professions), though while tablets are increasing in prevalence in the workplace, they haven’t yet gained widespread adoption.   Shawn, an Instructional Designer on our team, went with only a slightly different position, as he believes that “Opportunities for new customers in health care, government compliance, and finance industries will explode” while “new customers in the defense, federal government and manufacturing/labor industries will all but disappear.”

Furthering the HTML5 and mLearning discussion, Matt, another PHP Programmer thinks that “HTML5 will start to change LMS UX to have more of an application feel rather than just a bunch of web pages strung together.”  On the other hand, Ed, our Product Specialist, felt that instead of HTML5 affecting the user interface, instead “there will be much discussion regarding whether [HTML5] is really the best way to design apps for mobile devices.”  He goes on to argue that this discussion alone will only go to help refine implementation processes, and that more “Tools and frameworks, such as PhoneGap, will also assist with bridging the areas that HTML5 stumbles on.”

Tin Can/Experience API’s Position in 2013

Tin Can/Experience API was another topic that brought some debate amongst the group.  It seems that while our Product Innovation Specialist, Andy, believed that “More LMSs will integrate learning record stores for Experience API,” one of our programmers seemed to differ in opinion.  Craig, a Web Courseworks PHP Programmer, believed that “Tin Can API will lose some of its luster in 2013 as the costs and difficulties of actually implementing it become more apparent.”  Experience API has been at the forefront of a lot of 2012 discussion on the future of eLearning.  I was interested to see the opposing views of the departments, and I will be even more interested to see if the demand will outweigh programming and maintenance costs.

More MOOCs?

Another hot topic of 2012, the future of MOOCs was a theme of discussion for the year 2013.  For those of you who don’t know, MOOCs are “Massive open online courses” that have been developed and opened to the general public—for free.  “Even if MOOCs turn out to be a transitional technology…the concept will contribute a lot to the body of research about the internet as a tool in education,” says Lisa, one of our LMS Support Specialists.  Katie, an Assistant Project Manager, agreed that MOOCs would be “hugely popular and that even higher education facilities that are traditionally class-room based will move toward more online education.”

If more MOOCs are developed, what will that mean for the Instructional Designer?  Well, Tim, an Instructional Designer here at Web Courseworks, believes that it will lead to an increased “need for large-scale instructional design as more universities, and other educational facilities will follow the examples of Harvard and MIT and start to create their own MOOCs”—that would make sense as commonly classroom-based courses will need to be converted to something accessible online.  It may mean, that universities will have to outsource and/or hire more personnel—will this bring more business to eLearning development companies?  We’ll find out.

The General Opinion for 2013

So what exactly did the team of Web Courseworks decide for the year 2013?  A real certainty about one thing:  that with Technology comes great unknowns, and that as demands for eLearning change, so will the products that make it happen.

Managing eLearning is written by the Blog team at Web Courseworks which includes Jon Aleckson and Jillian Bichanich.  Ideas and concepts are originated and final copy reviewed by Jon Aleckson.