February 27, 2020

Digital Learning Day

What is Digital Learning Day?

Digital Learning Day is all about celebrating the use of digital technology within Learning and Development (L&D) and education.

Technology never stands still; it pushes boundaries and influences the world with each new discovery. Digital learning combines these technological advances with high-quality L&D material to ensure that learners receive only the most engaging and effective digital learning possible.

Digital Learning Day is a day where those who work within the realm of digital learning can share and compare practices with others in the industry. By sharing innovations and best practices, we can all learn from the mistakes and accomplishments of others and use this to help shape our future digital learning programmes.

Where did digital learning originate? 

TalentLMS.com, state ‘The term “e-learning” has only been in existence since 1999 when the word was first utilized at a CBT systems seminar’1.

Since then, the digital learning industry has progressed year on year. Research and Markets believe that the digital learning industry is likely to reach a total market value of $325 billion2.

A new and innovative way of delivering information to more people than ever, educators realised they could save money that would usually be spent on standard classroom expenses such as room hire, facilitator fees and travel reimbursement, and instead inject these funds back into their learning programmes.

Some educators then used this saving to make their learning programmes more accessible to those on lower incomes which allowed a higher completion rate for all learners.

‘Between 2006 and 2013, they (researchers) found, a 10 per cent growth in an institution’s online student population lowered the cost of tuition for all students by 1.5 percent.3

In the early 2000s, employers saw the benefits the education sector was reaping from e-learning and decided they wanted in. Large companies started to invest heavily in online catalogues which could be used to develop employees, no matter their location or work patterns.

What does digital learning look like today?

Currently, America, India and China spend the most on digital learning4, partly due to their expansive landmass and dispersed population. However, all countries are benefitting from the benefits that digital learning can bring. Recently, developing countries have started to reap the benefits of digital learning that negates the need to build classrooms or choosing between work and study, however, struggles with internet connectivity, availability of locally developed content and training and professional development’5 still limits the true benefit that digital learning can bring.

Learning Programmes are more digital than ever. Around 50% of students reported that they took part in some form of e-learning in the past year6, and this figure is set to rise with 98% of small businesses planning to use e-learning for their own training, or within their company by the end of this year7.

This wide inclusion of digital learning means that learners have a wide range of resources and can complete a programme no matter where they are in the world. Due to the mixture of digital outputs available, programmes can be adapted to suit the learner or topic so that learners are given the best possible experience.

The shape of digital learning has evolved to include more mediums, previously, a simple e-learning module sufficed as digital learning, however, nowadays learners can expect to benefit from a wide range of learning resources including websites, e-books, social media and online communities, online lectures, webinars, podcasts and microblogging. More recently, some organisations have started to include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) within the training programmes, and as a result, AR/VR education software is predicted to reach $300 million in revenue by the end of this year8.

As well as the mediums evolving to meet the needs of modern learners, the way these mediums are packaged has also changed to include learning for those ‘on-the-go’.

Many programmes are online only and aimed at the learner ‘on-the-go’. This allows learners to develop themselves at any point of the day whether it is in front of a computer, commuting or on their lunch break. These methods include mobile learning (learning that can be accessed anywhere and at any time) and bite-size learning (short modules that provide a short burst of information).

Gamification (learning that contains computer game elements, such as character selection or scoreboards) is seen as one of the best ways to embed learning. Learners can compete with a learner on the other side of the world, whether this is individually or as a team and reap the benefits of learning as they progress. Gamification also lends itself to the growing numbers of millennials within the workplace who grew up alongside computer games and easy access technology by providing a familiar medium on which to learn.

Where is digital learning expected to grow?

Digital learning continues to grow year on year and there’s no sign of this slowing down any time soon. As technology continues to branch out, this will undoubtedly inspire the Digital Learning community.

Growing technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming increasingly popular and are likely to become more common within organisations. The healthcare market has already embraced AR and VR, using it to help learners diagnose illnesses and further the abilities of doctors, by allowing them to improve surgery skills and treat psychiatric and neurological conditions9.

Data will influence the distribution of digital learning, with ‘personalised learning’ (tailored content presented to learners based on their personal aspirations/circumstances) allowing learners ultimate freedom over their development and personal learning journey.

There is little doubt that digital learning will continue to grow worldwide and help make the world of learning just that bit smaller in the process.

1 TalentLMS. (2020). The Evolution and History of eLearning – TalentLMS. [online] Available at: https://www.talentlms.com/elearning/history-of-elearning [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

2 eLearning Industry. (2020). Top 20 eLearning Statistics For 2019 – eLearning Industry. [online] Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/top-elearning-statistics-2019 [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

3Insidehighered.com. (2020). Working paper suggests online education can lower tuition costs. [online] Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/27/working-paper-suggests-online-education-can-lower-tuition-costs [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

4 Elearningnews.it. (2020). What are the leading countries in the eLearning industry?. [online] Available at: https://www.elearningnews.it/en/e-learning-news-C-18/studies-C-26/what-are-the-leading-countries-in-the-elearning-industry-AR-510/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

5Nhando, D. (2015). 3 Key Challenges Of Implementing eLearning In Africa – eLearning Industry. [online] eLearning Industry. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/3-key-challenges-implementing-elearning-in-africa [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

6Keegan, L. (2019). Online Learning Statistics 2020 (All You Need To Know!). [online] SkillScouter. Available at: https://skillscouter.com/online-learning-statistics/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

7 Keegan, L. (2019). Online Learning Statistics 2020 (All You Need To Know!). [online] SkillScouter. Available at: https://skillscouter.com/online-learning-statistics/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

8 Keegan, L. (2019). Online Learning Statistics 2020 (All You Need To Know!). [online] SkillScouter. Available at: https://skillscouter.com/online-learning-statistics/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].

9 Anand, A. (2020). Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare Market Report 2020, Industry Overview, Size, Share, Global Trends Analysis, Emerging Technology Advancement, Top Companies, Strategy Profiling, Regional Revenue |. [online] Medgadget. Available at: https://www.medgadget.com/2020/01/augmented-reality-ar-virtual-reality-vr-in-healthcare-market-report-2020-industry-overview-size-share-global-trends-analysis-emerging-technology-advancement-top-companies-strategy-pro.html [Accessed 25 Feb. 2020].