January 4, 2017

eLearning Trends: Outlook for 2017 Puts a Focus on Accessibility, Analytics and Adaptability

Written by Awais Ahsan


According to IBIS Capital, the outlook for eLearning in 2017 is bright. The firm reports that the global eLearning market will grow to $255 billion in 2017What will fuel this growth? A surging interest by global executives to focus training on the critical skill sets that their employees require will lead to more advanced execution of eLearning programs. The rise of millennials in the workplace, and the retirement of baby boomers will further expedite this shift from more traditional learning environments to emerging eLearning practices.

Industry trends from 2016 suggest that eLearning in 2017 will focus on the three A’s: adaptability, analytics and accessibility.


Adaptive learning is a trend that emerged among advanced training organizations in 2016 and will be adopted by more learning and development teams in 2017. Adaptive learning could also be described as “smart eLearning," in which students learn only what they seek to know, and not more and not less.

By understanding the student’s role and job function and the student’s responses and inquiries, the system is able to “learn” and “adapt” any course or program to fit the student’s unique needs. This adaptive eLearning approach  creates custom learning paths for each student and will ensure greater knowledge retention of more useful information in 2017.


Big data is big business in corporate America and increasingly in use in sophisticated training programs. The availability of big data is fueling the growth of analytics in understanding the effectiveness of training programs. In 2017, with the benefit of big data analytics, trainers will evaluate programs at the macro level all the way down to the usefulness and success of specific pieces of content.  

This year L&D teams will use big data to understand how customers, partners and employees are using their training materials, how and where students access the materials, and whether they easily understand the information presented. Analytics will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of training materials.


Of all the changes coming to eLearning  in 2017, technology advancements in accessibility might have the biggest impact of all. A number of technology improvements over the last year have improved the eLearning experience for trainers and students alike. Expect to see more of the following this year.

  • Mobile learning: Mobile learning, or mLearning, allows remote and travelling employees and students access to critical training materials from their mobile devices. Expect to see mLearning solutions that incorporate responsive design, mobile friendly commands and interfaces, and an increase in  secure, enterprise videos, podcasts and other training programs that students can easily access anywhere.
  • Microlearning: “Short and sweet”  will be the priority for training content and learning modules this year as trainers will focus on providing easily consumable nuggets of knowledge via social channels and communication avenues favored by their millennial workforce.
  • Learning at the speed of search: Trainers have learned that content and learning modules are only as good as the students’ ability to access them. With that in mind, this year learning and development executives will put a bigger focus on high-quality, smart, end-user focused search in their LMS and content delivery systems.

Comment below and let us know if there are any other eLearning trends for this year. 


Awais Ahsan

Awais is Director of Marketing at Content Raven. Having taught math for 10 years, he is passionate about Education, Training, & Technology. Awais holds his MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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