If you can’t tell a 5G from an XR, you’re not alone—and The eLearning Guild just launched a new publication to help you sort out new buzzwords and understand the impact of emerging technologies on eLearning.

Often, technologies take a while to emerge or to reveal how they’ll change us, our work, and our learning. They evolve slowly, and their impact spreads from early adopters to the rest of us.

For instance, there’s hardly anyone in a developed country who is untouched by Big Data. Consumer, health, financial information—even details of when and where people exercise—is being scooped up and monetized, and has been for some time already. But, while some uses and effects of all of this data collection and analysis on Learning and Development teams or on learners are already clear, others are still taking shape.

At the other end of the spectrum is 5G. This new standard for wireless connectivity is just in its infancy. The first 5G networks in the US are live, and 5G smartphones are arriving in stores. But it’s all so new that 5G hasn’t yet had a discernible impact on eLearning or even on consumers.

XR falls in the middle somewhere. Some L&D teams are using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), while others are still learning about the potential these offer. XR is a new player, a sort of umbrella term that covers AR, VR, mixed reality (a combination)—and any realities yet to emerge.

Each element in The Guild’s Working Guide series offers an overview of a specific technology that is brand-new or evolving and that is likely to significantly change the way people work. Some, like artificial intelligence and data, have already had an enormous impact on both the workplace and L&D. For others, the changes lie in the future.

The Guides describe or anticipate the effects on the modern workplace. Insightful commentary ties each emerging technology in with L&D by describing its current or potential effects on eLearning. Each Guide includes a short list of resources for further reading.

Explore incipient technologies

The initial set of Working Guides includes guides to:

These guides are available for free download, individually or as a single document. Let us know what you think—and we'd welcome your suggestions topics for future Working Guides.