The year 2014 has commenced, the polar vortex moved in and now some of us are in the grand thaw. Many of us are just getting started with our new eLearning initiatives for the year. But before we proceed, perhaps we should take a few moments to reflect back on 2013.
Wow, last year we really saw some strides being made, and some bright spots of eLearning picked up some speed. Unless you lived under a rock in 2013, the following terms should sound familiar:
- Digital Badges
MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, were not new in 2013, but the topic was seen everywhere: eLearning articles, blogs and magazines. It was definitely a “hot” topic this past year. Blackboard’s CourseSites has over 50 MOOC courses available. Coursera, the leading online host of MOOCs, today boasts that 6,009, 077 people have taken MOOCs on its site. They currently offer 563 courses in the MOOC format—amazing! More and more people are creating and taking MOOCs. I got on the MOOC bandwagon last year and took my first MOOC along with over 66,000 other people for the same course. That just makes my jaw drop. Massive education by some of the top professors—again, amazing!
Experience API (xAPI, formerly known as Tin Can API) also popped up in hundreds of articles. The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative’s training and learning architecture, xAPI, gained ground this past year with more and more eLearning tools becoming early adopters of xAPI like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Blackboard, iSpring, CourseMill, Lectora, LearnDash and dominKnow to name just a few. Experience API, per Wikipedia, is an eLearning “software specification that allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences.” This even allows us to track informal learning, which we haven’t been able to do before.
Gamification, the use of game thinking, design and mechanics in non-game contexts, has also been around for a few years, but it was plastered all over eLearning newsletters, infographics, blogs and articles last year. We’re seeing an increase of gamification being used to better engage learners and to make them more interested in their eLearning. Companies like NTT Data and DeLoitte’s Leadership Academy are successfully using gamification in their eLearning programs. (See the Forbe’s article http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2013/09/30/gamification-in-leadership-development-how-companies-use-gaming-to-build-their-leader-pipeline/. )
Digital Badges, like Mozilla’s OpenBadges, is an idea that is slowly taking hold; however, the topic was found in a plethora of places in 2013. Digital Badges, per Wikipedia, are “a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in various learning environments.” They’re basically online icons that represent the skills a person has earned. This means that an employer can get a quick glimpse at what you’ve accomplished from not only colleges, but other types of valuable training you’ve taken. The Manufacturing Institute has driven the development of the National Manufacturing Badge System this past year to help fill the gaping hole of manufacturing positions that are going unfilled due to there not being enough qualified or trained people. The system’s purpose is to help match qualified job-seekers with manufacturing employers.
Yes, 2013 was an exciting year for eLearning, and I expect that 2014 will come up with some new, different buzzwords to help move us along to get better trained for the new challenges of 2014.