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eLearning trends to look out for in 2021. 1. LMS needs to be designed for mobile first. 2. The pedagogy needs to align with Active learning or "learning by doing" in line with Vygotsky’s work. 3. The course needs to be flexible.

Over 50% of web traffic is on mobile phones, if your LMS isn't designed for mobile it isn't designed for learners. In other words, "how people access online matters, a lot..”

2020 changed how people view education and what is possible. Online education is something that needs to be seen differently than face to face education. A face to face course cannot simply be made online and effectively designed online courses require careful thought and designer for users.

Today's article explores online trends that need to be considered for online educators and Learning Management System (LMS) designers in 2021.

Mobile first

LMS providers need to be designing for mobile first, and increasing experiences features on their platforms for mobile devices. Period!

The first iPhone was released in June 2007, today in 2021, 14 years on just over 50% of website traffic is mobile phones with a prediction that this will increase a further 25% by 2025 (Chaffrey 2021).

student researching an assessment on a mobile phone and taking written notes onto a pad text says when an LMS is designed for mobile first courses are accessible for more people

When an LMS platform is designed for mobile first means courses are accessible for a greater number of people.

Time is of the essence for learners, who are often balancing work and study, and designing for mobile first has the benefits of learner being able to use an LMS from any device. This means busy professionals, studying alongside work, can often pull a few precious moments for study on their phone on public transport or during their lunch break. Even more importantly, lower socio-economic students often only have access to a mobile phone and it means this group of learners can access their material.


Designers, educators and researchers need to be aware and continually create more equity through mindful decision-making [...] Just how young people access online, in other words, matters – a lot

Learning by doing

To be successful in the workplace employees need to put their work into action to demonstrate examples of their skills as a lived experience. Employers want someone who knows how to do the job and has experienced the real world consequences rather than someone that can talk about doing it.

What better way to learn than actually on a real job site...?

lecture classroom on the left and building site of a house with scaffolding up on the right with the text, which learning environment better suits carpentry students?

Rather than making carpenters construct ceiling frames and roof trusses or learning how to work at heights as part of 'chalk and talk' courses on campus to demonstrate their skills why not get them to provide real world examples from job sites they are actually working on instead? That’s what Training Company Inscope has done when designing Carpentry courses for their apprentices. Students use their mobile phones on the job sites they are to document their real world learning in their courses and work with their employer to verify and sign off their work.

Classrooms do not have many real hazards: wind, real weather conditions, mud, trip hazards. In a classroom you are not working on a big picture house or building plan. In a classroom you are not working as a part of a real team.

Flexible Training

Technology is an important enabler of flexible training but the most important components of flexible learning include delivery, assessment, resource and support (Li & Wong 2018, 9).

Courses need to be offered at times that are convenient for learners, in a format that works for learners, on a device the learner wants to use. On top of these elements education platforms need to provide statistics for educators, ask for feedback and constantly incrementally improve their product.

Wrapping up

Rather than thinking about yourself, put yourself in the learner's shoes.

Adapting your LMS to online learning trends will help you to adapt your learning resources to modern requirements and help you to reach more learners, more effectively.

Help Ammonite help your learners

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Chaffey, D. (2021, March 30). Mobile marketing statistics compilation 2021. https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

Li, K. C., & Wong, B. Y. Y. (2018). Revisiting the Definitions and Implementation of Flexible Learning. Innovations in Open and Flexible Education, 1.

Martin, C. (2016). Many low-income students use only their phone to get online. What are they missing? https://theconversation.com/many-low-income-students-use-only-their-phone-to-get-online-what-are-they-missing-54213

Rideout, V. J. & Katz, V.S. (2016). Opportunity for all? Technology and learning in lower-income families. A report of the Families and Media Project. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

This article first appeared on Linkedin