By Ramesh Ramani, CEO, Expertus

In Part I of this blog series, we discussed some of the technology challenges and predictions our industry’s analysts have for 2019:

#1─An expanding focus on the user experience
#2─The growing need for learning experience platforms (LXPs)
#3─The digital transformation finally taking hold across learning organizations

Let’s continue our Top 10 review of what learning technologies can make the biggest impact on your training organization in the year to come.

#4 The Modern Mobile App

In 2019, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 2.5 billion, with more than 2 million apps available for both Android and iOS.

We live on our mobile devices. So, it is no wonder people want to train on them, too. However, just having a mobile app will not suffice. Just as with the LMS, the mobile app’s user experience is rising in importance.

Here are a few modern functionalities your mobile LMS app should include to keep users happy and engaged…

“(In 2018), 48.2% of all global web traffic was generated through mobile phones, and it’s still growing. That means there’s no point in creating courses which are not mobile friendly in 2019 and beyond. It’s crucial for users to have the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere, and on the device of their choice. Plus, it’s even better when they can take courses with no internet access. That’s where an LMS with a native mobile app comes into play.”

eLearningIndustry, 4 eLearning Trends You Can’t Miss In 2019

“Mobile learning is going to be key for middle management training in 2019. As smartphones become more powerful─and screens larger─this front-end of personalised learning will take some of the heat from L&D departments and hand greater control to end-users. The key to making this self-paced software work…is through the introduction of much smarter measurement systems.”

David Wells, Six Predictions for Learning and Development in 2019

“I remember the early days, when the mobile app surge surprised the learning industry. It wasn’t pretty. Then the pendulum swung back toward responsive LMS design─first for learners─then for administrators, and finally for instructors. Now the pendulum is swinging back to specialized mobile apps for incremental learning capabilities…We’re seeing class registration supported by geolocation, distance-based OJT interactions involving videos and picture sharing, course assignments and reminders via text notifications, spot polls and offline/online content sync.”

John Leh, Top Learning System Trends: A 2019 Market Guide

#5 Getting More from xAPI

While the Experience API, or xAPI, is not a new technology, more learning professionals plan to utilize it in 2019. Here are how several weigh-in in a recent eLearningGuild poll:

“Experience API will be one way that we (learning professionals) evaluate the usability of learning products.”

“I am interested to discover whether learners click optional course elements, such as ‘Help’ and ‘Learn More’ buttons, additional information links and supplemental resources, including videos and job aids. Having this type of specific interaction data will be invaluable (for) transforming my customers’ online learning courses from information dumps to performance-based learning experiences.”

“xAPI allows learning experience designers to plan what will be tracked in learning products and beyond. It’s not just about performance, but also about tracking how users are using and finding content.”

One of the key ways we use xAPI in our learning management system is to standardize data from all learning interactions (eLearning, web pages, games, VR simulations, etc.), then aggregate it in our native LRS for comprehensive reporting and analysis.

If you have an LRS and are not using it, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your learning programs’ success. In his What to Expect in 2019 blog, Craig Weiss explains that the best way to achieve data visualization is via an LRS…

“Vendors will tell me, often, that folks are not asking about an LRS or even using it…If you have it in your system, you clearly invested funds to do so, so use it.”

#6 AI & Machine Learning

Aragon Research estimates that “by YE 2023, 60% of enterprise apps and major productivity suites will contain embedded machine learning (ML) models.” (Actionable Insights for 2019: Top 10 Predictions)

Craig Weiss also notes in his State of the E-Learning Industry 2019 report that he saw “huge growth” in machine learning in 2018. And that “all trend lines point to even a bigger 2019.”

So, how will AI and machine learning affect you? The predictions are mixed…

“The biggest benefits of AI will be achieved through integration of machine learning models with other essential new technologies. The convergence of AI with internet of things (IoT), blockchain and cloud investments will provide the greatest synergies with ground-breaking results.”

Forbes, 19 For 19: Technology Predictions For 2019 And Beyond

“These two disciplines will move into enterprises at a phenomenal rate. As a result, we will have an increased supply of data, and a higher demand for workers with the skills to process it. But with all the data at our disposal, how do you make sense out of it? How do you train your data to discover more insights or know when your data is learning about its learning and improving? These issues we will need to resolve these issues in the next couple of years.”

Top 10 Technology and Developer Predictions for 2019

#7 Data Becomes a Game Changer

I couldn’t leave our discussion on AI and machine learning without addressing data. Data is a critical game changer for most companies. Particularly now that more are preparing for the greater use of artificial intelligence in their operations and business processes.

The eLearning Guild reports that “not only is data an excellent internal tool to help measure the effectiveness of your operations and business, but it is also a great tool to use as the basis of regulating supply/inventory, customer preferences, product performance and eventually predictive selling of an organization’s products and services.”

Inc. also predicts in 31 Tech Predictions for 2019 that more companies will create sustainable ethics codes for the use of data…

“Privacy experts, regulators, and the public will push companies to establish sustainable ethics codes that better address the challenges of a digital world–forcing new standards for the complex uses of collected, inferred, and derived data sources. Ethics policies will be incorporated into the governance of data analytics–and particularly A.I. and machine learning–so that companies can defend their commitments to the ethical use of data, fend off public pressure, and avoid backlash.”

Are You Ready?

Whether it is coming from mobile, video or AI/machine learning, learning organizations are facing a tsunami of data. Now is the time to evaluate your LMS to see if it can handle large, scaling amounts of data─and effectively leverage this data’s incredible value.

Up next is Part III of this series where we’ll cover strategies for lifelong learning, personalization and video management.