Online Learning Predictions for 2022

What does online learning have in store for us in 2022?


A child looks off into the distance via binoculars and expresses wonder at the sight

What we see coming for 2022 has us pretty excited. The ups and downs of the past few years have reinforced the value of online learning and cemented the role of virtual experiences in our daily lives. As this year winds down, we’ve reflected on the eLearning trends we’re seeing and envisioned how these will shape experiences and expectations moving forward. Here are our top 3 predictions for what the future of online learning looks like in 2022.


Prediction #1: No more patience for poorly organized online courses


Sure, no one who made the sudden transition to online learning (thanks, COVID!) purposefully planned for poor organization—but the fact remains that organizing an in-person course versus an online course are two totally different beasts. And there’s no denying that the sudden transition and scramble to make the pivot allowed for some important organizational standards to fall through the cracks. Virtual doesn’t necessarily mean education is simpler or easier to produce. It’s safe to say that all of 2020 and 2021 qualified as emergencies, and so we all did what needed to be done just to, well, get things done as well as they could be. But that hardscrabble approach just won’t cut it moving forward. Students will become increasingly frustrated with poorly thought out or simply substandard materials—students now expect courses to be well organized, high quality, and aligned well with technology, and for online courses to succeed, these expectations will have to meet it.


Online courses need to be supported by properly organized plans. Think clear Learning Objectives, a competent team knowledgeable in online course building, designed with the target audience in mind.


These three elements certainly aren’t the end all be all of a well-organized online course, but they make for an important and solid foundation and are necessary starting points if you want to make your online course successful in 2022.


Prediction #2: Smartphones will play an even greater role in online learning


We predict that smartphones will become increasingly more important to online learning in 2022. Smartphones play a crucial role in both society at large and in individual people’s lives—after all, 97% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind.


According to research conducted by Pew earlier in 2021: 85% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, whereas 77% say they own a laptop or desktop. And 28% are smartphone dependent, aka they do not use or have broadband internet access at home.

All of this to say, smartphones have a lot of power in today’s everyday life—and that includes education. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), an institution dedicated to the role technology plays in education, has recognized the increasing presence and capabilities of smartphones in educational settings and has compiled advice for educators on how to incorporate smartphones into plans for student learning.


We predict that smartphones will continue to play a large role in the future of education—which means that we need to consistently design courses specifically for mobile students, not just design a course and hope it looks decent on a mobile platform. This brings us back to Prediction #1—proper organization, specifically for a mobile format, will be key to online learning success in 2022.


Prediction #3: Videos will become a more popular online learning delivery method


Piggybacking off of Prediction #2, we predict videos will become an even more popular method to deliver lessons to learners across all demographics.


One of the biggest demographics of students today, and one which will only grow in 2022, is Gen Z. According to a 2018 study by publishing giant Pearson, members of Gen Z are more likely to prefer learning via YouTube or apps than via printed books. In that same study, nearly 60% of Gen Z respondents identified YouTube as their primary preferred learning method. As Gen Z matures and moves into more adult spheres, they’ll one day become the dominant presence in, say, corporate trainings—and they’ll be bringing their learning preferences with them.


Given that current trends indicate educational video consumption is poised for an increase in the coming years, it will be especially important that these videos contain high quality content from a qualified subject matter expert. There’s potential for disaster when it comes to poorly organized anything—and that includes video learning (see Prediction #1). For instance, when video content isn’t vetted or when entertainment is prioritized over accuracy, the results can set students back instead of propelling them forward in their educational journeys.


Although we don’t predict that videos will completely take over other content delivery methods in 2022, our prediction for its continued growth means making video learning a priority in the coming year will set you up for success in the future.


Wrap-Up

Keep an eye out for some of these trends this upcoming 2022, and we predict you may just find yourselves a little bit ahead of the curve!