The eLearning-scape: The Past, Present, and Future of eLearning

Where have we been and where are we headed?

In the last twenty-five years, I’ve witnessed the growth of eLearning first hand.

Here is a quick infographic to give you a snapshot of how eLearning has transformed in the last two-and-half decades.

the evolution of elearning - Past, Present, Future - An infographic on how technology has changed the way we learn.

the evolution of elearning – Past, Present, Future – An infographic on how technology has changed the way we learn.

Earlier, in the days of the yore (objectively speaking, about thirty years ago) eLearning was some media burned on a CD. Then in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee gifted us the World Wide Web and eLearning became web-friendly and change sneaked upon us. Low bandwidths ensured that the graphics stayed basic, until Flash revolutionized it all and made light but jazzy animations possible along with some cool interactivity.

We were kind of settling down, when in 2009 Steve Jobs threw a spanner in the peaceful existence of elearning content creators and changed the expectations of our learners once again. Now they wanted to consume content through their smart-phones and so eLearning changed again. We had to cater to desktop/laptop users as well as mobile users – and the same user could actually be consuming the content through multiple devices. So eLearning had to go responsive. We are still trying to provide a seamless learning experience to our sometimes-clicking-sometimes-swiping audience – and we haven’t succeeded in it completely.

BTW (yes, I’m trying to connect with my acronym-savvy audience here,) it wasn’t just the technology that changed, the consumption pattern of the audience changed too – mostly because the growth of technology led to two things:

  1. Content consumption on smartphones – anywhere, anytime – resulting in the evolution of micro-content.
  2. Video content becoming easy to stream due to faster connections as cheaper rates, resulting in non-interactive/barely-interactive content.

Now, we stand at the threshold of another major revolution – VR and AR or Virtual Reality (making a virtual world appear real) and Augmented Reality (augmenting the real world with virtual stuff.) Expect consumer’s expectations to change again. With an AR-ready laptop retailing at as low as USD 1.3K the day isn’t far that learning will become more interactive again.

Read this very useful article on virtual and augmented reality before you join me in wondering how eLearning will transform once again in the coming five years.

I’ll leave it to Coffeebeans, our In-house Reflector, to observe, reflect, and conclude.

Cartoon of Coffeebeans reflecting over future with Augmented Reality.