"At the start of each year, eLearn Magazine's editors, advisory board members, and other contributors predict what changes are afoot for the coming 12 months." — eLearn Magazine
Interestingly many of the predictions for 2003, pre the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 appear to be based on financial rationalisation and a sense of cautious optimism. Much of what's available today in regard to social media didn't exist at this point and if we can count on Wikipedia, facebook wasn't founded till 2004. A major unpredictable shift in online activity also occurred as a result of an O'Rielly conference in 2004, which introduced the term Web 2.0 into common lexicon. When viewing these two predictions it's difficult not to consider how these changes have impacted the digital landscape and our methods of interaction with it. Lets also not forget the iPhone was introduced in 2007, and it's powerful influence over our personal behaviour and interaction with the internet through the use of social media has shifted dramatically.
Some of the contributors to the list appear more optimistic than others, speculating ideas that even today may appear slightly far fetched. According to these predictions there was a belief that computer games will become a more mainstream method of learning and the hype surrounding e-learning will deflate. Overall there are a few contradictory opinions put forward by the panel, which indicate a level of uncertainty not seen in the following prediction. Still there seems to be some wild predictions relating to virtual learning in the classroom, which appear at this point slightly fantastical with the expectation that a new breed of 18 year old post secondary students will enter the teaching market with all the skills required to teach online learning.
Below I have included a handful of the predictions from 2003 which I found interesting:
- A depressed economy will prevent institutions from experimenting
- E-learning will follow a conventional path
- Possible expansion into computer games
- Many of 2002's predictions weren't true, and will continue to hold for 2003
- LMS (Learning Management System) purchases will remain slow as a reflection of their high price point
- Learning will become part of human capital management
- There will be more interest and activity around wireless technology and mobile applications for e-learning
- Interactive whiteboards will become more popular
- E-learning will become more mainstream, content management functionality will influence document management
- The hype surrounding e-learning will deflate
- Technology in education is still in it's infancy, we are yet to see valid techniques and methodologies for enhancing project based hands-on learning with technology
- Pen based computing, mobile location based technology, games, rich collaborative video technology and note taking applications will become more fun and immersive
- Technology will be further integrated into the classroom, until e-learning and face-to-face are no longer distinctly different
- Subject matter experts will develop courses to teach specific concepts to students on a global scale
- E-learners will blur the line between physical and virtual experience, especially at museums
- Copyright issues will become increasingly more important
- Disconnected learning will increase
- The bad economic situation will motivate people to acquire new knowledge and skills
- The demand for online courses and modules will increase exponentially, and the slow economy will do little to hinder the growth of e-learning
- A new market of 18 year old postsecondary students will become certified experts in online teaching
- Growth in e-learning will be fuelled by technologies behind the idea of semantic web than by committee driven IMS and SCORN standards
- Open source e-learning platforms from 2002 will continue to grow and gain market share through 2003
- E-learning market will contract, there will be more mergers and alliances of some key players
- Innovators focussing on stimulation and support of learning oriented workplace activities
- The number of LMS (Learning Management Systems) providers will drop in 2003 and start to provide offerings at a lower price point
- A turbulent year for e-learning as vendors strive to find their footing in a marketplace
As with the changes brought about by the new online consciousness surrounding social media and a broader interactivity with the online world, we would expect to see some changes. Web 2.0 has meant that online interaction and continuous content creation has changed the way we now view traditional knowledge. Winston Churchill's quote "History is written by the victors" no longer applies, particularly with reference to the world of online content creation.
Content creation has now become the focus of this years predictions, as the required tools, both hardware and software are now readily available accessible to many. As these tools have now become synonymous with everyday life, and our interactions with each other, the notion of life-long learning has become a much more affordable and attainable prospect. The idea of recognised informal learning environments and access to broader information sources has gained much traction. The integration of free social networking spaces as an aspect of the learning environment has become an important aspect of e-learning, while games are still considered relevant within this sphere.
- Content curation will become a more relevant topic, whilst m-learning (or mobile learning) will define the paradigm as a result of increased mobile phone sales globally
- More progress of e-learning technologies in the classroom as fresh college graduates who are now digital natives incorporate the technologies as part of their own pedagogies. The tools won't be those that are purchased and sanctioned by the administrators but those already part of both the students and teachers everyday lives.
- Learning will be incorporated into the way we work, learning through context and experience
- Learning will be focused on skills and education required for the now, as opposed to 'learning for later'
- Informal learning will rise in importance with particular emphasis on personally directed professional development and the creation of PLNs
- More data driven interactions focused by structured content and semantics. Essentially web 3.0 system generated content
- Instead of utilising e-learning for the purposes of cost efficiency, encourage conversations and community, to enable many perspectives and tonnes of practice, to distribute expertise
- The increase of gamification learning and instruction, organisations implementing draconian policies limiting social media in collaboration and work contexts and a killer augmented reality app will be developed for one or two learning related activities
- Informal learning conducted on iPads and devices, thoughtful consideration into the investment of e-learning products ensuring simplicity and customisation, shorter programs, a broader acceptance of e-learning in the workplace
- Innovation will be driving a change in virtual learning products, a flood of enterprise level mobile apps will be developed, more stand alone integrated collaborative platforms developed