Is eLearning the Next Blockbuster?

I walked past a Block Buster Video store a while ago. It had a big closed sign plastered over its window. It’s sad to see a business fail especially one that’s been around for so long but it’s just a very visible reminder of something that has been on my mind lately. It’s the idea that no matter what you do or how good you are today — you have to stay relevant to stay in business. Block Buster floundered when people started streaming movies at home. Practically over night nobody wanted their product anymore. They became irrelevant.

I’ve been thinking a lot about relevancy lately. Are eLearning Designers going to wake up one day to find there is no longer a market for their products? In one, two or three years will organizations still want or need eLearning as we offer it today? Steve Jobs once said:

“Some people say, give the customers what they want, but that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do.” 

Is this the approach we should be taking? — do we innovate or follow the trends? I just read an article that listed the top trends for eLearning for 2015. Here they are for what it’s worth:

    1. Gamification
    2. Corporate MOOCs
    3. Personalized Learning
    4. M-Learning and BYOD
    5. Augmented Learning
    6. APIs
    7. Cloud LMS
    8. Flash Html5 Conversion
    9. Wearable Learning
    10. Video Learning

I’m not going to get into what I think about this list — suffice it to say that some of the items (Augmented Learning, personalized learning for two) have been identified as the next big thing since at least 1995 — maybe longer.  And some — wearable Learning anyone? — are ridiculous. So I guess the big question is how do we filter out the chatter so that we can focus on the things that will take us to the level we need to stay in the game? How do we ensure that we make the cut? I’m just asking the questions today. I don’t have the answers but I’d love to here what you think.


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