Buzzwords and clichés – those are stock and trade. There’s nothing wrong with them.
~ Michael Nesmith
Love them or hate them, buzzwords are a fact of life. Here one year, gone the next, they emerge from the public conversations we have in our professional lives, and the eLearning profession is no exception to the buzzword phenomenon.
This article is the first of three posts that present the cold hard results of a search for the hottest buzzwords eLearning professionals are using in 2018. The goal was not to chart or predict trends, which has been well addressed elsewhere (cf. Suresh Kumar), but to find out the terms most used by eLearning professional today.
While not a scientific study, information on buzzwords was collected in a systematic manner. Candidate buzzwords were gleaned from a Google search of eLearning posts between January 1, 2018 and August 18, 2018. The prospective buzzwords were entered into Excel and then ranked according to their frequency.
A total of ten buzzwords made the final list of ten. However, there were some that didn’t make the cut that bear mentioning. And so, we begin part one with the honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: Wearable Technologies
Wearable technologies are digital devices integrated into clothing or worn as accessories. Wearable technology is a hot market, and Statistica estimates that it will grow to 830 million users world-wide by 2020.
You are likely familiar with wearable technologies, such as virtual reality headgear and smartwatches, but the technology extends to such intriguing innovations as smart fabrics that have the potential to be used in physical education to monitor athletic performance.
Honorable Mention: Learning Management Systems
Learning Management Systems (LMSs) appeared several times in the search results. The focus of the buzz surrounded innovations in LMSs that allowed better integration with other systems, high level customization and greater flexibility to enable personalized learning.
Experience API (xAPI) was mentioned as an important feature for LMSs in that it allows the exchange of data between platforms, such as smartphones and computers. xAPI provides a set of eLearning specifications, much like SCORM. However, as noted by Katrina Marie Baker, xAPI allows tracking both on and off the LMS through the use of learning record stores. Both Adobe Captivate 2017 and Captivate Prime are enabled for xAPI.
Honorable Mention: Massive Online Open Course (MOOC)
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), much like the name suggests, refer to courses that are administered online, have large numbers of students and are “open” to anyone that wants to attend. The proposed benefit of MOOCs is the capability to reach more students at a reduced cost.
Fiona Hollands cautions that there are a number of issues surrounding MOOCs, not the least of which is lack of agreement on the definition. For example, MOOC is often used to refer to programs that are small or not “open” in that they charge for participation. Another issue is that MOOCs work for some students, but not others, suggesting more needs to be done to enhance student engagement.
Honorable Mention: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the practice where students use their own devices in a learning session. Though BYOD can involve any device, Asha Pandey suggests that BYOD may prove especially useful in mLearning as smartphones are so widely used.
Proponents of BYOD claim benefits such as reduced delivery costs and better performance due to the learner’s familiarity with their laptop, tablet or smartphone. However, these benefits may be offset by issues surrounding security and device support. For example, developers will need to produce and deliver content in a manner compatible with numerous types and manufacturers of devices.
Up Next: eLearning Buzzword Countdown 10 – 6
So there you have it, the four honorable mentions that did not make the final list of 10 eLearning buzzwords. In the next installment, we’ll take a look at five of the hottest eLearning buzzwords, starting with Number 10 “Content Curation”. Stay tuned.