Education Technology

2022 eLearning Trends: Supporting Students and Teachers

By Phil Miller
November 30, 2021

If we thought 2020 brought on a rapid change in the eLearning industry, 2021 has cemented those changes and added even more for teachers and students to navigate. Quick pivots and on-the-fly eLearning adaptation were necessary for the first weeks and months of the pandemic, but it’s clear now that few learning environments will go back to being solely in-person, even if COVID-19 disappears for good.

As we enter 2022 and continue to see eLearning accelerate in K-12 schools and higher education institutions alike, there are three trends we expect to see in 2022 for student and teacher successes.

Chart the Destination and How You’ll Get There

In an NPR interview in spring 2021, a high school English teacher from New Hampshire said teaching “feels like we’re building the plane while we’re flying it and the destination keeps changing on us.” In-person, remote, and hybrid instruction all have unique challenges, and teachers made do with what they had in 2020.

This year, however, has been equally if not more challenging for teachers. Not only are they expected to run in-person classrooms flawlessly amidst changing COVID-19 protocols, they are also expected to seamlessly integrate virtual learning into that same environment or revert back to fully remote or in-person as needed. All that with little instruction or assistance in how to embrace the sometimes hastily built technology they’re expected to use for each of these environments.

In one form or another, eLearning is here to stay. So, it is imperative to upskill in-person education professionals to be successful in an online environment. Being a good instructor in person doesn’t necessarily mean you have the tools and skills needed to translate that instruction online, or into a hybrid environment. Schools must make eLearning training available for their teachers by charting a clear end goal with specific benchmarks of comfort and fluency, just as those teachers are expected to create for their students.

Embrace AI

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere and talked about in every tech sector. What’s more, it’s predicted to grow 47% in the education market by 2023 alone. If institutions are using eLearning solutions, they need to be incorporating AI for their students and instructors, as well.

We most frequently hear about AI with automation, but it’s not just assembly lines that can benefit. AI can automate basic and repetitive eLearning activities like grading multiple-choice quizzes that provide the learner with their results immediately with real-time learner progress. AI can also provide instructors with real-time progress by monitoring student journeys and alerting their educators when a student’s performance is lagging behind. Overall this provides greater analytical insights because AI abolishes the need for teachers to work across static data sets or manually gauge progress.

AI can also enhance the most engaging way students and teachers learn online: Gamification.

Make a Game of It

Regardless of whether it’s upskilling teachers in their eLearning proficiencies or teaching kids algebra and language arts, gamification bolsters engagement and knowledge retention. This is nothing new — gamified learning like quiz bowls and spelling bees predate online learning (the first Scripps National Spelling Bee was held in 1925).

Elearning presents even more opportunities for gamified experiences than in-person learning. Features like achievements, behavioral rewards for participation and position tracking relative to course averages are all automated metrics AI can track for learners and educators. Some AI tracking features don’t look like gamification on the surface, but the progress tracking was very much adapted from the realm of game design. More obvious game design principles like reward feedback loops provide encouragement and a sense of achievement and can be structured as literal achievements for completing objectives. The more satisfying each new milestone’s reward, the more invested learners tend to become.

This isn’t reserved just for academia. A recent study of corporate learning environments found a 50%+ increase from prior engagement levels with the use of gamified tactics. This increased engagement also led to increased fluency with course materials and often, a faster learning curve for each participant. Gamification isn’t just fun — it’s a proven benefit!

These aren’t the only trends we can expect to see in 2022, but they are the trends that will continue to revolutionize online learning for children and adults alike. We must ensure teachers are comfortable with the eLearning products they’re using so they can fully deploy AI and gamification to provide better, more seamless online learning environments for their students.

Phill Miller is based in Indianapolis and is the Managing Director for Open LMS, the world’s largest open-source LMS provider.

Featured Image: Julia M Cameron, Pexels.