This short feature is a follow-up to last Monday’s feature that focused on the disruptive trends playing out over the next five years and a broader look at ways to assess technologies that will be getting a lot of attention in 2016.

Today I’ll look at five trends that started in 2015 or earlier and that continue to run, two important technologies with a rising number of adopters (or at least a lot of discussion among practitioners online and at conferences), and two disruptive approaches that could make a big difference in your eLearning outcomes in 2016.

Continuing as before

Change tends to take place slowly; year-to-year you can expect that what was standard or common practice one year will by and large continue to be standard practice in the next year. The same is true of the technologies that support those practices. These five trends will be key to sustaining your success in 2016.

Games and gamification: Note that in 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2014, 80% of gamified applications in the enterprise would fail to meet their respective business objectives, mainly due to bad design. If you are already using games and gamification, what has your experience been? Do you need to tweak your designs? It would be fair to say that if you are just taking up this approach, it’s a good idea to start your gamification efforts with a very small number of projects (one or two), and measure the results. Take the necessary action to fix any problems before moving on. Don’t try to gamify everything in your curriculum simultaneously.

Video: Use of video for performance support, as media support within eLearning, and (sadly) for what amount to recorded lectures will not change much in 2016. However, video editing and post-production tools will continue to get better, possibly easier to use, and we hope users’ skill and creativity with the tools will also improve.

Cloud: Authoring and management tools and services will continue to move to the cloud, with related changes to software licensing and costs. License management problems will not go away, particularly those related to anticipating future spend. Read your license agreements carefully and monitor the changes.

Mobile and social technology: It is more than ever true that thinking “mobile first” pays off. Remember that the combination of mobile and social can provide excellent support for “informal” (workplace) learning as well as for collaboration.

Rapid authoring tools: These tools will continue to improve in 2016 by adding power and features that enhance their flexibility. Joe Ganci’s reviews can help you make decisions about tool selection.

Growing numbers of adopters, more discussion

Two technologies and areas of practice will show increased adoption in 2016, and organizations that learn to leverage them will be more successful.

xAPI, cmi5, and LRS: These are more than just “the next SCORM.” They can be the key to tracking and understanding part of what some refer to as “dark learning,” the learning that takes place outside of formal curriculum established by the training organization.

Video use for “microlearning”: These are short (typically less than 10 minutes), stand-alone videos, not chunked content. They may be produced by individual employees, by customers, or by other contributors such as subject matter experts. Often these videos will show up on YouTube. It is important in 2016 for the training, learning, and development team to support these, make use of them, and help people to find them.

Disruptors (actual or potential)

These are technologies and areas of practice that can change your business and change the position of learning and development within an organization. In 2016, adopting these disruptors, or leveraging them, will put you ahead of the curve compared to other practitioners.

Predictive Analytics: This goes beyond the learning analytics as practiced in the past with LMS data. Predictive analytics attempts to identify information about learners, their learning experiences, and other factors that indicate future job performance and business outcomes.

Informal learning: This is the “dark learning” area that accounts for much of what people know about their work. While learning and development departments don’t plan and organize any of this learning, it is possible for them to support it by making social, collaborative, and personal learning systems available and by helping employees understand how to learn from their work and from each other. Jane Bozarth has offered examples that may help you identify ways to provide this support: Nuts and Bolts: Social Media for Learning Part 1 and Part 2, Reflective Practice, How (and Why) to Show Your Work

Happy New Year!