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Top eLearning trends: what you need to know about automation

Automation is increasingly changing eLearning and the way in which we create educational content for learners. It can help you to develop more personalised, tailored content, leading to higher engagement, more effective learning materials and better results.
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Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager
2017-09-12

If you work in the eLearning industry, you probably hear a lot of talk about automation – a popular eLearning tool that can bring plenty of benefits to online learning.

If you’re already across automation and know all its ins and outs, this article might not be for you. But for anyone new to the world of online learning, and looking to understand the practice of automation, this will tell you what you need to know.

So let’s get started, with some insight into how automation works and the ways it can benefit the eLearning process – for both you and your learners.

What’s Automation in eLearning All About?

Think about what the word itself means – automation is a process that minimises or eliminates human interaction. And that’s exactly what automation is used for in eLearning, helping to make your work life much easier.

Do you regularly create online learning courses in your role? It can be a very time-consuming, and often tricky, process. In the same way that you use eLearning templates or online libraries to develop an online course, automation helps to simplify online course creation.

How Does Automation in eLearning Work?

If you’re someone who creates online courses, but isn’t involved in coding or programming, you probably think of automation as something that happens behind the scenes. And that’s correct – automation works in the background of your online learning course.

Essentially, automation uses algorithms, a set of computer codes and instructions, to generate eLearning content. These algorithms control what eLearning content is displayed, being triggered by the actions of individual learners – they work as a response on command, set in motion by the person completing the online course.

Christoforos Pappas, of eLearning Industry, gives a good example of automation in eLearning, where “a particular piece of eLearning content displays when an online learner passes the eLearning assessment. If they don't meet the minimum requirements, the code may generate a resource list they can use to improve.”

In this way, your online course is perfectly meeting the needs of your learners, at every step of the way. And it’s automation that is helping you do that.

As Pappas says, “think of eLearning automation as a robot who can help you with rudimentary tasks around the house … making your life easier in many respects.”

Personalising eLearning Content for Users

In the example above, you can see how automation has the potential to change the process of eLearning, personalising learning content for users.

You could use automation to develop a short online quiz that employees take before launching into a course. This would help determine the subject matter relevant to their position, and areas they may need (or want) to work on. Automation will then adjust the course content to suit, dropping or adding modules to match the learner’s needs and objectives.

Automation can also be used to create an online quiz at the end of a course, to assess learner knowledge and identify any skill or knowledge gaps. You can even keep track of individual learners throughout the course, monitoring their progress.

Helping You to Improve Your eLearning Content

Automation also helps you to make improvements to your online course, to make it more effective for learners.

With automation, you can see which parts of your course need more detail and which teaching methods are working best for learners. In this way, automation in eLearning can work as a feedback loop to test and measure knowledge and, in turn, create effective and relevant new content for learners.

Can you see how useful this tool can be for both content creators and learners?

eLearning automation allows you to automatically generate online assessments and content for your course, saving you time and effort, while providing a much better learning experience for users.

Want to stay up-to-date with eLearning trends? Learn more about another important eLearning trend, Top eLearning Trends: Using Gamification in the Workplace.

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