We are talking about fundamental changes in corporate e-Learning already for years. But I did not see a real fundamental change for a long time, but now it is finally happening. The world of e-Learning is changing rapidly and fundamentally.
An e-Learning revolution?
I see a fundamental change with our customers in how (and by whom) e-Learning is created. There is a switch from centrally created courses and assessments to decentralized creation; from instructional designers to Subject Matter Experts. And that is a revolution. It changes the role of the learning department (from directive to facilitate), it changes the role of the instructional designer (from creator to coach) and it will change the way companies are using their ‘old school’ LMS, I believe they will vanish. I believe that that is fundamental enough to call it a revolution.
How do I know this?
At Easygenerator, we are moving companies in this direction every day. and the numbers are growing. We changed our direction towards user-generated learning (instead of facilitating instructional designers) 4 years ago. And after an OK start, things are really taking off. We are signing up small companies, larger companies and really big ones like for example Nielsen, BHPBiliton, and Unilever. Easygenerator now has users (authors) in 165 countries divided over more than 2000 cities. Really cool for us as a company, but I do believe that this is the beginning of a change in our industry that will affect everybody and everyone.
The changing role of the Learning department
Content creation by the learning department (or by third parties) is limited to high-risk compliance and security courses. For the rest, centralized content development is too expensive, too slow and not scalable.
The changing role of the instructional designer
Subject matter experts will create over 90% of all needed learning content by themselves in a couple of years. The role of the instructional designer is changing to a coaching role. Guiding SMES, helping them and maybe advising them on didactical issues. But even that last part is being threatened by the latest development in Artificial Intelligence.
The upcoming death of the LMS
The content that is being created is not only different in who authored it, but also in character. There are more and more small courses (nuggets) and the boundary between learning and knowledge sharing is starting to disappear. An ‘old school’ LMS that only allows learning from within the LMS from a formal perspective is out of date and will soon be out of order. I talked about the upcoming Death of the LMS 2,5 years ago at DevLearn. I predicted that it would take 5 years. I believe we are on track.
In the next few weeks I will write separate posts about the changes I see happening for the learning department, the instructional designer and the LMS in more detail.