The year 2020 has been an exceptional one. The COVID pandemic led to the worldwide shutdown of schools and other educational systems, leaving 1.6 billion learners without traditional teaching. And for the first time in history, there have been so many changes, challenges, and growth tendencies to the E-learning industry. The previous year gave a lot of opportunities and challenges for E-learning startups. Now it’s time to discover what to expect in 2021 – trends, technologies, and perspectives. Are you planning to build an E-learning app or website? Read further to find out the most exciting ways to attract and engage your future users.
Table of contents
E-learning Trends for 2021
Challenges of E-learning in 2021
Even before the global pandemic crisis, there was an immense increase in new education technologies. Look at predictions for 2020, collected by TechNavio – over 10% of the industry’s growth during the pandemic year. According to recent research, the global E-learning market is prognosed to grow at a CAGR of 18.1% to $285.23 billion by 2027. Now, with a growing need for virtual classrooms, online learning software, E-learning applications, virtual tutoring, and web conferencing software, this market is likely to develop and expand further than any predictions.
TechNavio report shows an immense growth in the E-learning industry
In 2020, a lot of companies developed software for online education and introduced new platforms or programs. These are the significant contributors to online education during the 2020 pandemic:
There are, however, some challenges to E-learning in 2021. You should keep them in mind while creating education software of your own. 1. E-learning in 2021 stops being an emergency solution and should offer high-quality services based on cutting-edge technologies. One of the main trends is E-learning innovation and development resulting in new exciting websites and apps. People want their educational process to be engaging, productive, short-termed, and useful in practice. Such demands create a high competition level in the market. As a product owner, you need to study your audience’s needs, pain points, and expectations very well. 2. E-learning websites and apps should be available to more learners, even without Internet access. There is a significant technological gap between different countries – for example, in Eastern Europe, 95% of schoolers have a computer or other device for connecting to the Internet, while in Indonesia, only 34% do. In the USA, this technological gap delays the spread of E-learning solutions as well, because 25% of potential consumers don’t have access to online products. In 2021, E-learning apps and websites can use technologies to bring their users a full-fledged offline experience alongside an online one. 3. Hybridization – E-learning goes hand in hand with traditional classes. This trend becomes more prominent at the end of 2020 and at the beginning of 2021, as many schools reopen all over the world. Combining face-to-face and online education means that teachers need to rely on E-learning technologies such as web conferencing software, online classrooms, etc. Adults can use websites and apps to enhance their professional competence. These days, online education can train necessary skills that help live in a technological society and adapt to unpredictable situations like the COVID pandemic. The use of E-learning technologies in 2021 can bring flexibility to the process, enrich the interaction and collaboration of students, and add more personalization to the learning and teaching experience. Websites and apps’ owners should remember to follow the best standards of E-learning software development. 4. A new role for teachers is creating online courses and building an E-learning environment. Teachers, mentors, tutors, and instructors are going to adapt to changes in 2021. They will provide a different kind of training that works best with E-learning features and methods. Designing a course, teachers will use digital resources to do the planning, to create learning scenarios, activities and assessments, etc. The new challenge is to help tutors become better in online teaching methodology, including new ways to enhance students' engagement and motivation. 5. Kids and E-learning – how to create an effective remote environment. The children are rather easily distracted, and educational resources for them should be of exceptional quality. E-learning websites and apps for kids often have a specific structure, similar to a physical class but performed in a more fun way. And what’s important, these solutions use personalization and gamification methods to increase collaboration and engagement.
Read also: Gamification examples in education websites
E-learning Trends for 2021
What features will make E-learning apps and websites thrive in 2021? Let’s discover the industry’s most prominent trends.
What is E-learning like in 2021?
Gamification, or gamified thinking, is building a game-like environment within some activity. It’s one of the most popular trends in E-learning and corporate training in 2021. Gamification examples include stories, avatars, badges, rewards, levels, leaderboards, and much more. For instance, you can:
- improve motivation by giving a lovely badge for seven days of uninterrupted learning;
- boost engagement and knowledge retention by wrapping any learning material into an exciting storyline with characters and avatars;
- foster a competitive spirit by showing the best results at a leaderboard.
The subsets of gamification are game-based and story-based E-learning. These trends are not entirely new and will certainly stay in 2021, as they teach soft skills, critical and non-standard thinking, compliance, and other useful things.
Read also: Language Learning Apps For Kids
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence’s main advantage is the fast and easy customization of E-learning solutions without any manual operations. AI has already become a promising trend in education technology, and it will undoubtedly gain even more popularity through 2021. What it can be useful for:
- automatization of routine activities like quiz grading;
- providing each learner with real-time progress;
- monitoring each learner’s performance to give advice or to alert a tutor;
- help with user data analysis.
Video content has been actively used through 2020 during the lockdown, and it will continue playing a significant role in the E-learning industry in 2021. Video streaming and virtual classrooms are great ways to deliver education and build communication between people. Animated videos have always been a trend in E-learning, in apps for kids and adults alike. Video-based courses increase comprehension and close the usual gap between theoretical and practical knowledge. Live streaming and sessions with experts help improve user retention. Videos are engaging and flexible content for E-learning, which will make them a massive trend in 2021.
Each creative course on Skillshare consists of a number of video lessons
Read also: How to Create an E-learning Website
Making educational material interactive will dramatically increase its effectiveness, as each learner becomes an active participant rather than a passive recipient. The owners of E-learning apps and websites should know how to implement interactivity for users’ engagement in 2021. These are the popular trends in interactive E-learning apps:
- Quizzes – asking questions based on just learned material, often within a limited time, and then showing real-time score;
- Branching – choosing an individual path during any E-learning activity and facing specific consequences for each choice;
- Embedded elements – adding useful links, widgets, maps, and other elements to enhance user experience;
- User’s downloads and uploads – making every learner engaged in an E-learning website or app’s work.
Another important trend for E-learning in 2021 is a deep analysis of user behavior data collected by websites and apps. Various metrics will help an owner improve productivity, highlight problematic areas, optimize a platform in accordance to users’ preferences and interests, and maximize learners’ engagement. One more trend in E-learning for 2021 is secure data analytics. Make sure that users of your app or website accept their data processing and that you implement protective software. Learners’ and tutors’ information safety on E-learning apps is a massive trend in 2021.
AR, VR, MR, and Other Immersive Technologies
Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) have broadened the boundaries in E-learning and will remain a global trend in 2021. Users love interactive, engaging, and immersive ways to learn complicated subjects. The main advantage of such technologies for E-learning is that they allow you to see things working instead of reading about them. What apps’ users can study in 2021:
- biology and anatomy;
- interior design, etc.
AR, VR, MR will be immensely useful during the global pandemic and lockdowns. That’s why immersive technologies will be a strong E-learning trend in 2021. They allow experiencing real-world situations and challenges within a safe, controlled environment. Immersive E-learning tools may include simulations, internship environments, virtual laboratories, and much more.
The “E2E (education for educators)” type of E-learning platforms increased in popularity during 2020, and will remain a significant trend in 2021. Traditional education can’t provide online teachers with the necessary skill-sets or technical competencies, making training apps for tutors essential. Providing such opportunities for educators is not just a profitable sphere of the E-learning industry; it’s one of many ways to improve digital education in 2021.
Chatbots in E-learning
A chatbot is a popular software for many apps and websites because users enjoy “chatting” with a digital assistant to get what they want quickly. How chatbots can improve the E-learning industry in 2021:
- bringing in-app instructions to learners;
- answering questions, evaluating skills, and giving encouraging feedback;
- sending summaries of useful books or other content;
- finding digital material that learner ask for;
- asking quiz questions (for example, once a week).
Chatbots in E-learning can also be customized to deliver an individual learner only relevant content. They will definitely stay as a prominent trend in 2021 and may soon evolve into more advanced technology.
Modern app users have limited attention spans and also lack free time. That made microlearning a global trend in 2019 and 2020 – that tendency will stay in 2021 as well. Consuming educational material in bite-sized portions helps digest it better and enhance comprehension. Microlearning content comes in the form of text, videos, pictures, etc. It allows users to solve their education problems quickly. Another reason why microlearning will be a popular E-learning trend in 2021 is the low production cost of such courses.
One of E-learning apps’ essential features may become remote access to educational materials without a stable Internet connection. For example, learners can:
- read PDFs they downloaded earlier on;
- do assignments via an offline version of an app or a website.
Offline E-learning tools help overcome the digital divide, and that makes them a real trend in 2021.
How is E-learning effective in 2021?
Having access to online technologies, students of all ages demonstrate the more effective result of learning. Research shows that E-learning helps 25-60% of students to internalize more material, while traditional classes work the same way for only 8-10% of them. How is that possible? The key reason is that students are able to learn faster via online activities – doing it at their own pace, skipping and re-reading, choosing the best individual way. Let’s look at the main factors that can make E-learning better in 2021.
- Time and place. Schoolers, college students, employees, and other learners value E-learning apps and websites for the opportunity to study at the most convenient moment, without restrictions. Companies can save up to 40-60% of time on employee training due to its flexibility.
- Individualized software. More and more companies opt for E-learning solution development, as customized content brings them more positive results in corporate training.
- Performance tracking. Both E-learning applications and websites can use in-built statistical data to monitor users’ progress, interests, engagement, and behavior. It’s equally helpful for course planning and marketing purposes.
- Cost-effectiveness. One of the main trends is E-learning having a significantly lower price compared to traditional education. Students, tutors, and employees save money on materials, travel, accommodation, etc.
- Motivation and engagement. E-learning materials and methods (such as gamification, communities, video courses, VR support, etc.) can be perfect for delivering and retaining any new knowledge.
The Future of E-learning and Exceed Team’s Experience
Many of these technologies can create a new E-learning environment and change the industry. However, educational apps still face a lot of challenges due to socioeconomic differences between people and countries. Those problems existed before the pandemic crisis. But these days, they have become more open, and in 2021 we all should search for ways to solve those problems. Developing ways of enabling everyone to learn online is the future trend for E-learning software. Do you have fresh and exciting ideas? Tell us about them! Here at Exceed Team, we’re keeping an eye on E-learning trends and unique concepts. That’s why we offer cutting-edge web and app development for businesses and other organizations. Do you need a chatbot, microlearning software, or a gamified platform for corporate E-learning? Our developers will build anything following your company’s specifications. Are you planning to create and launch a new E-learning product in 2021? Do you want it to have online and offline versions or integrations with AR/VR?AI? Our team of business analysts, UI/UX designers, backend and frontend developers, QA testers, marketing copywriters, project managers, and other experienced specialists will bring you through all stages, from analysis to development. We’ll help create a successful MVP that could later be extended to become a popular E-learning app or a website. Don’t hesitate and contact us, so your concept becomes a reality.
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