The adoption of eLearning and online learning has never been higher; in fact, the global eLearning market is expected to soar to USD 374.3 billion by 2026. Of course, the LMS remains central to the delivery and tracking of all that eLearning, but today’s LMS can actually do so much more!
It can be easy to become distracted by metrics such as utilization rates, course completions, and operating costs, without paying attention to more meaningful data such as impact and engagement. If your organization makes use of eLearning and online learning and is wondering how to increase employee engagement, read on to explore the top LMS trends for 2021.
6 LMS Trends To Help Drive Learner Engagement
1. Connectivity With Other Systems
Perhaps the biggest current trend in L&D is that understanding is so much more than just “courses.” Organizations are taking a more holistic view of learning to include performance development, career maps, skills journeys, social learning, and more. This broader view demands current technology that can do more than simply house online courses and perform basic reporting on completions and pass rates. Imagine an integrated system where managers and employees alike can distill information from multiple sources, including performance metrics, development plans, and of course, online learning and professional development resources. This system is a talent experience platform . Harness the power of all of the data pertaining to performance, and don’t isolate learning into siloed experiences that feel disconnected from other experiences on the job.
If you’ve done your homework and conducted a needs analysis prior to creating any content for your audience of learners, you probably made the observation that your audience isn’t a homogenous cohort, but rather a diverse group of individuals with unique needs and preferences. Respect their individuality by giving them the opportunity to have personal experiences tailored to their needs. Organize the multimedia content in your LMS into playlists, such as all content pertaining to a specific topic or certain role. Share information with learners through dashboards that present recommended content that appeals to their interests and to their completion history. Customizing your system’s look and feel to appeal to each individual is a great method for increasing learner engagement.
3. Content Curation
Content curation in learning solutions  is the act of including external content in your programs, such as TED talks, Coursera courses, industry articles, podcasts, and more. By curating content, you expand your learners’ access to information beyond what’s contained within the four walls of your organization. Using curated content also saves valuable time and development resources (no need to build from scratch!). Content curation pairs nicely with learning playlists and dashboards; consider creating playlists that include both internal and external content on a particular theme or topic to present your learners with diverse perspectives throughout their learning journey.
4. Social Learning
One of the hottest LMS trends in corporate eLearning is the integration of social activities. Formal learning is merely the start of the learning process, not the end when you incorporate social activities such as chat forums, reflection activities, collaborative learning experiences, and platforms where alumni learners can share their expertise and harness their natural tendencies to connect with one another. This hand-off from seasoned employees to novices forms meaningful communities of practice, and over time the collective wisdom in the community will grow as employees continue to share their real-world experiences and come together to solve problems. The use of social learning can be especially powerful in remote environments by helping employees form meaningful bonds with one another even while separated by physical distance. Achieve top LMS learner engagement by providing your learners with a platform built with their social needs in mind.
Most business plans include market research, and a strategic learning plan shouldn’t be any different. Gather information from your learners such as their feedback and reactions to the content, their requests for what else they would like to learn, their self-assessments before and after completing content, and any other information you desire by making use of polls. One of the most powerful demonstrations of how an LMS can help companies is by pairing best-in-class features, such as grouping learners into audiences then polling them or using polls as self-assessments where learners can assess their abilities before and after training to identify potential areas for development. Polls can also be used to collect feedback from others, including coaches, managers, and even peers through the use of 180 and 360 surveys. Poll data can be especially helpful in providing insight into areas that are more qualitative in nature than quantitative. No two learners are alike, and by implementing interactive features no two learning experiences will be alike either.
6. Badges And Gamification
One surefire method to achieve LMS learner engagement is through the use of digital badges and highly rewarding game-like learning experiences. Your learner’s high engagement levels will correspond to high attention during training and high retention of the information after completion. Badges function as awards of completion and recognition, and can even be displayed externally, such as in email signatures or on social media profiles. Whether learners enjoy the pursuit of collecting the badges, the act of displaying them, or both, badges often appeal to learners’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Game elements that can be incorporated into learning experiences can include unlockable content that learners gain access to for successful performances or the completion of tasks, praise for their progress as they advance through “levels” of content, and leaderboards celebrating learners’ high performances. These elements are fully customizable and can be designed to meet the needs of your learners and your organization.
LMS trends are constantly evolving, which benefits both learners and organizations alike. Modern systems enthrall and engage learners, making on-the-job learning actionable, relevant, and impactful. By crafting experiences that empower learners to be active participants in the process and access learning that fits their unique needs, today’s LMSs offer so much more than just automation of instruction and the mundane record-keeping of the past. Engagement is a critical component in the learning experience and is not just a trend or passing fad.
 What is a Talent Experience Platform?
 Integrating content curation in your learning solutions
Originally published at kineo.com.