Year of the Shake-Up

Five online learning predictions for 2015.

GUEST COLUMN | by Andrew Wait 

CREDIT lynda.comWe all know that the online education space is growing at a very rapid clip, but many may not realize just how quickly it’s growing, and what some of the ramifications of that growth may be. According to market research firm Global Industry Analysts, the e-learning market will increase from $107 billion in 2015 to $168.8 billion by 2018. Along with that growth, we’ll see lots of change. New technologies, delivery mechanisms and philosophies are just a few of the forces driving transformation in what’s become a very competitive landscape. The following are a few predictions of what’s coming in the New Year for online learning:

The industry will start to figure out how learning best fits into the small spaces and snippets of time in people’s lives.

1. 2015 will be the year of the market model shake-up. Organizations, such as MOOCs, whose models rely on open platforms featuring non-curated content will face stiff competition from learning organizations whose content is constructed for a specific pedagogical approach. Learners will lean toward models that understand how individuals learn and structure lessons accordingly, and, given the oft-discussed technology skills gap, will seek out course work that goes beyond standard classroom offerings to provide software, technology and creative content.

2. It will be the year the Enterprise figures large in online learning. Major players will pivot toward companies—building on their business with consumers—in search of less churn and more stickiness. The Enterprise will welcome the shift as it continues to seek different ways to help employees stay current on changing technologies, and learn the latest in business management skills and tools and other skills.

3. Teachers will become the new Rock Stars in 2015. Just as in brick and mortar classrooms, courses will make it or break it based on quality content created and delivered by teachers with a real passion for teaching. Students, particularly those interested in technology learning, will gravitate toward instructors with deep subject matter expertise.

4. “Snackable” learning will become a large part of the online education menu. The industry will start to figure out how learning best fits into the small spaces and snippets of time in people’s lives. Online courses will allow users to dive deep OR get information in bite-size pieces. With experts predicting predict that video viewing on mobile devices will make up more than half of all views by 2016, mobile will be front and center in the morsel movement.

5. 2015 will see companies figuring out how interactivity best works for online learning. We’ll see experimentation with different approaches, such as courses that provide immediate feedback to enhance the learning experience (e.g., illustration class that lets you sketch on the platform). Other approaches may include tools that allow students make time stamped notes within course materials, alerting teachers to content that may require further explanation; and the ability to make course notes available for broader sharing.

As learners of all stripes—from consumers to major enterprises—continue to gravitate toward online learning and the opportunities it provides, greater growth will fuel ever-greater change and improvements. The above predictions are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the shifts we’ll see in the industry. Stay tuned for what is certain to be an interesting online learning year!

As president of, Andrew Wait drives the company’s overall strategic direction, including accelerating subscriber growth, expanding into new markets, customer experience, marketing and enterprise sales. A seasoned worldwide Internet, brand, product and marketing executive, Andrew has more than 20 years of deep experience working with web-enabled and web-delivered consumer products and services.


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