Whether you’re thinking of heading to university for the first time, or are considering a career change or to engage in further education so you can take your career to the next level, it’s vital to stay up to date on all the latest trends having an impact in the online learning industry.

Today, more than ever, eLearning is being used to deliver effective and affordable education, in every area from specialist training and leadership courses, through to extensive higher education programs, such as online MBA programs in California, New York, London and more.

There are numerous benefits from online learning that can help you, such as flexibility, time savings, reduced costs, better learning outcomes etc., so it pays to consider this option for your next educational move. To find out ways you can utilize this online learning trend to further your career, read on for some of the key trends to be aware of.

AI and Automation

It’s no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation make it onto this list, considering that most days there seems to be something on these subjects in the news. The fields have been having an impact in many different industries of late, and are also starting to change things up in eLearning.

New technologies mean that trainers and program developers can better design, built, test and evaluate their courses. Automation is making it easier for providers to automate substantial amounts of their programs, from the creation of the studies, right through to assessments. Educational software is also helping trainers to save time when building programs and is cutting the costs of development and implementation.

As for artificial intelligence, we’re mainly seeing it being used in the form of virtual teaching assistants. These assistants are helpful because they can both generate and deliver content, plus be available to communicate with students. They can often provide support to those who are struggling with a particular subject or task. This is particularly beneficial for students who are getting behind in their studies, as the AI can work with them to focus more on the things they’re finding challenging.


Another trend really growing in online learning right now is gamification. While this concept has taken off in recent years in other areas (the massive success of Pokémon Go is one such example), it is now also being utilized in learning.

It’s easy to see why, too, when you think about the fact that integrating games into learning not only helps students to find content more interesting but also enables them to better understand programs and to retain what they learn for longer.

Gamification is particularly suited to Millennials and other younger generations who have grown up playing plenty of video games, but it also works well for any age range. Plus, for those with learning difficulties, or who struggle with the more traditional learning styles, gamification is a big plus. It makes it easier and less confronting for people to make mistakes as they learn new things, and thereby reduces pressure and boosts motivation. In turn, people are more likely to stick with their studies and complete them.

Programs in Topics You Wouldn’t Expect

A few years ago, the majority of online learning programs were all about common subjects and those which you would immediately think about as being easy enough to teach and learn online, such as business, marketing, economics, finance, accounting, and the like. However, today, there is an increasing trend for providers to make eLearning available for topics you wouldn’t expect.

For example, there are now many courses in topics which are more traditionally seen as “hands-on, such as athletics, dental hygiene, fine arts, agriculture, construction management and fire science. Niche areas are also catered to, with more educational institutions providing courses (often shorter ones) in extremely focused areas. These are typically designed to attract very specific customers.

Micro-Learning Options

Another important trend to know about is micro learning This term refers to studies which are broken down into small chunks. Bite-size classes are offered at a time, often in ten, 20, or 30 minute sessions, as opposed to day, month, or even year-long courses.

Micro learning has plenty of benefits. For example, it’s perfect for busy people who don’t have time to commit to long courses, but who can fit in small sessions here and there in their week. Another plus is that people who have learning difficulties or problems concentrating tend to find micro learning helpful, because they can just go through short lessons at a time, in easily-digestible formats.