Top eLearning Trends: The Ultimate Guide in 2024

Devlin Peck
. Updated on 
January 10, 2024
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What are the top eLearning trends right now?

Today, you’ll learn:

Want to learn more? Read on!

What are the top 10 eLearning trends right now?

eLearning is embracing AI as its global market value is nearly doubling in the next 5 years

The global market for AI in Education is expected to witness a CAGR of 45.9% during the period 2023-2028. This sector will be worth over $20.65 billion USD in that same timespan – and as this space continues to grow, so will investments in EdTech.

No wonder, as AI is increasing productivity and helping people learn faster. According to a survey by IDC, 71% of the institutions agreed that AI has helped them increase efficiency and 63% claimed to achieve better student engagement.

Currently, AI is being used in education in several ways including machine learning, advanced analytics, computer vision, and natural language processing. More than 8 out of 10 respondents in a survey consider AI (in the form of analytics and language) to have a potential impact on education. Over 45% of the respondents have planned for the adoption of AI in their organizations.

Some examples of AI technologies being implemented are intelligent tutoring systems, automated speech recognition, text-to-speech systems, adaptive learning algorithms, predictive analytics and chatbots.

What’s more, students are using generative AI platforms like ChatGPT to learn. In a survey of 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, around 43% have reported using AI tools like ChatGPT. A majority, 9 out of 10, of students admitted to using ChatGPT to complete their school assignments or just for fun.

The increased adoption of mobile devices is driving more mobile learning and the acceptance of it

Mobile Learning (also known as mLearning) is a way to access educational content via mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, or any portable gadget. Major advantages of mobile learning include freedom of location, motivation, increased accessibility, and cost-effectiveness among others. Students can simply learn from anywhere, anytime.

In a survey by the University of Central Florida (UCF), 77% of students think that mobile learning offers easier access to coursework and 65% think that it increases communication with other students.

Gen Z is the demographic most comfortable with using mobile devices for eLearning. A Pew Research survey found that 83% of teenagers use mobile devices to learn new things.

Along with young students, parents are also adopting a positive impression of mLearning. This is evident from a finding that only 3% of K-12 parents think that mobile devices should not be used for learning.

From a teacher’s point of view, the majority support mobile devices in learning. In a study of 1544 university professors from 59 Spanish universities, it was found that around 73% have implemented mobile devices. The professors who did not implement mobile devices were majorly due to ignorance (45.59%); distraction (28.16%); change resistance (14.56%); uselessness (11.69%).

80% of US workers consider gamified training to be more effective and engaging

Gamification refers to the use of gaming design elements and principles in a classroom or eLearning environment. The major motive of gamification is to make the course more interactive and engaging for its students. Key components of gamification in education include points, badges, challenges and quests, avatars, simulations, customizations, and real-time applications.

Gamified learning provides an interactive interface and is more dynamic in nature. In a study, around 67% of students reported gamified learning to be more motivating than a regular course.

In a study investigating the impact of gamification on students’ performances, it was found that a gamified approach improved the overall performance of learners by around 35%. Challenge-based gamification also improved students’ performance by 90% in comparison to traditional classroom lectures.

So, why does gamification work? Experts say it helps build an emotional connection between the content and the learner. This drives the effective completion of courses and makes students feel more satisfied after finishing.

Training for employees is also a major application of gamified learning. Employees feel more connected and engaged while going through a gamified learning process during their onboarding, compliance training, and skill development courses.

In the US, 4 out of 5 employees consider gamified learning to be more engaging. It is also found to increase employee productivity and engagement by 50% and 60%, respectively.

Decreasing attention spans and the growing volume of online information drive the creation of “micro” modules in eLearning

Microlearning, or nanolearning, focuses on providing bite-sized and easily digestible content in short durations. Microlearning is commonly in the form of small videos, short texts, infographics, podcasts, quizzes, or interactive activities.

Younger generations, especially Gen Z and millennials, want to learn new skills but lack the time to complete full-length courses. Plus, their attention spans are going down every year.. Therefore, microlearning can be a great way to keep young learners engaged.

People tend to move towards small screens in comparison to large screens for content watching. 68% of people prefer to use smartphones or tablets to consume digital content than desktops and laptops (29%). This means eLearning content must be easy-to-access on smaller devices.

Next, digital content creation is on the rise as many millennials are looking for multiple sources of income. Around 71% of people consider pursuing more income sources and every 1 in 4 people identify as a digital content creator, led by millennials. The more content that is created, the more that is consumed (and nano-content is the way of the future).

AR and VR eLearning is being highly adopted for workforce training and upskilling

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are emerging technologies that totally transform the current ways of delivering training and education. These technologies offer immersive and interactive experiences to audiences through experiential and contextual learning.

The global market for AR and VR in training is expected to see a CAGR of 41.2% by 2031. It will reach a market size of $142 billion by the end of that year.

In a survey by PwC, it was found that about 51% of companies either have a plan to implement VR or have already deployed VR ecosystems in their training programs. It also revealed that employees that participated in VR-powered training were 275% more confident to apply the learned skills.

In comparison to classroom training, students can use VR-based training to get trained 4 times faster. This figure excludes the time taken to travel to the classroom by students. But more important than saving on commute time, learners using VR technology felt 3.5 times more emotionally connected to the training than the classroom learners.

Research conducted by Stanford University and Technical University Denmark found similar positive results. Virtual methods of teaching showed a 76% increase in overall learning effectiveness when compared to traditional methods of learning.

Another example of VR technology is from the University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where surgeons were trained in a VR-based ecosystem. It resulted in 40% fewer mistakes than the surgeons who were trained traditionally.

The growth of user-generated content is being driven by the increased use of social media

User-generated content (UGC) in eLearning refers to the educational content and materials developed or generated by the learners themselves. UGC promotes collaboration, engagement and a sense of ownership among learners. Some examples of UGC in eLearning include discussion forums, student-created videos, blogs by students, social media channels by students, podcasts and more.

Since this style of learning content is created by like-minded peers, UGC speaks the same language as learners promoting a more relatable environment. UGC also plays a vital role in corporate training where modules are created by employees who are experiencing the subject matter first-hand, instead of from outside experts.

One example of how UGC is affecting eLearning is students vetting colleges. A study revealed that around 67% of high school students use social media channels to research the colleges they wish to apply to.

According to a survey conducted by Bharat Survey for EdTech (BaSE) in more than 6,000 Indian households, 89% of children reported YouTube to be the most popular learning platform followed by WhatsApp (62%) and Google (52%).

Today’s eLearners don’t just want to learn, they want to feel a connection to the content and contribute their own learnings to help fellow peers. UGC provides a useful channel for learners to share their knowledge in an informal and fun way without needing to be certified subject matter experts themselves.

The global market for online learning was valued at ~$400 billion in 2022

Learning online is becoming more popular each year and this is evident from the growth in the number of enrollments on platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Pluralsight, and Skillshare among others. For example, Coursera users grew more than 100% year over year from 2016-2021. In 2021, the total number of enrollments on Coursera stood at 189 million globally.

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, the total number of learners with access to massive open online courses (MOOCs) exploded from 2011 to 2021. It skyrocketed from a mere 300,000 in 2011 to over 220 million in 2021.

From 2012 and 2019, there was an increase of 35% in the number of hybrid and long-distance students across traditional universities. This growth was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences of strict lockdowns sparked 92% growth in the year 2020.

As per a study by Global Market Insights, the global eLearning market is expected to witness a CAGR of 14% during the period 2023-2032. The market size is expected to surpass $1,482 billion in 2032 from its estimated $400 billion in 2022. This insane growth is highly driven by the increase in internet usage among students and from corporations refocusing efforts on the learning and development of their workforce.

Online learning is the key for learners who seek distance learning or those that come from vulnerable and remote communities. The number of untapped learners opting into the global eLearning market will continue to grow.

Reskilling and upskilling are being driven by new technologies

In the competitive environment, the need for reskilling and upskilling is at its peak. Employees are expected to stay updated with changing requirements in the work landscape and upskill themselves with the latest technology, tools, and frameworks continuously.

In a 2022 outlook report by Pearson Skills, out of the surveyed employees, 88% expected to continue their learning and stay up to date throughout their careers. More than 5 out of 10 respondents reported that their employers offer upskilling as a benefit, and around 92% make use of the training.

According to a survey by PwC, 36% of employees said they would switch to the company where they worked to learn new skills. The survey also uncovered the connection between financial stress and employees’ willingness to learn new skills. 62% of employees with zero financial stress are actively open to upskilling whereas only 50% of employees with financial stress seek upskilling.

With the advancements in technologies in recent years, such as AI, a vast majority of the workforce is considering reskilling and upskilling to stay relevant in the job market.

For 93% of employers, employee retention remains a pain point and upskilling programs are tackling it head on

Currently, there is a large newfound focus from corporations to upskill their workforce and train employees on the latest tools and technologies. The need to train employees isn’t just necessary for completing new jobs, but retaining talent and improving the overall quality of their human capital.

According to Training Magazine’s Training Industry Report 2022, training expenditures within the U.S. crossed the $100 billion mark for the first time ever during 2021-2022. During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies planned to invest huge amounts in upskilling their workforce through online platforms and virtual classes. However, this trend is fading slightly with the return of in-person classes.

In a 2023 report by LinkedIn Workplace Learning, 41% of L&D (learning and development) leaders expressed that they have more spending power in 2023. L&D budgets and the power of spending have increased in the last 7 years. Furthermore, only 8% of L&D leaders expect these budgets to come down.

Learning and Development is becoming more cross-functional and partnerships between the functions are getting stronger. Around 77% of L&D leaders think that their role has become more cross-functional in recent years. In 2024, the top 4 focus areas for L&D include aligning training programs to achieve business goals, upskilling of employees, creating a culture of learning, and increasing employee retention.

Upskilling and training programs at work help employees feel content and satisfied with their role and in turn, improve their productivity. Employees who are trained regularly are also found to be more confident and experimental in their roles.

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 55% of workers reported that they require extra training to do their job more effectively and 38% want training that would add value to their current role. However, just 32% showed their inclination towards peer-to-peer learning with some social element.

4 out of 10 students think a more adaptive way of learning benefits them the most

Adaptive learning is a combination of AI and algorithms to guide the interaction with the learner and deliver customized resources and learning activities to address the needs of learners. Here, big data is used to understand what each learner needs.

And as per a report by Spherical Insights, the global market for Adaptive Learning was valued at $2.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $8.63 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 22.6%.

Meanwhile, 42% of students think that the combination of adaptive software and online learning is most effective and this fusion benefits them the most. Adaptive learning software boosts students’ motivation in an online classroom environment, especially where courses are student-initiated.

Personalized learning is a top three motivator for employees to develop their skills

Personalized learning is becoming highly popular among students and various learners across all industries. Personalized learning allows learners to customize their learning journey and track the progress.

According to LinkedIn, 78% of learners want recommendations on courses to close their skill gaps. The second most important motivator for employees to learn new skills is if what they’re learning is personalized to their interests and career goals.

And personalized learning experiences are growing fast.

There are several AI-powered online learning platforms that make use of AI-based technologies to offer personalized and targeted features to their students. For instance, Coursera developed AI-based tools for grading, lesson planning and the student feedback process. Duolingo, a foreign language learning app, uses AI to develop custom mini lessons to practice user-specific mistakes.

Users of online learning platforms are increasing every year and so more learners globally are using AI-powered features. As of December 31, 2022, around 118 million users were registered on Coursera. Udemy, another popular online learning platform, had over 58 million active users registered. Duolingo has over 575 million users and Grammarly has 30 million users registered on their platforms.


There you have it! Those are the top eLearning trends right now.

The eLearning industry is in an exciting sector with plenty of technologies boosting learning results. Interest and investments in the EdTech sector will most likely continue to grow, so keep an eye out for new innovations in this field.

Ultimately, these eLearning trends will have a significant impact on how we learn in schools and workplaces.

Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck
Devlin Peck is the founder of, where he helps people build instructional design skills and break into the industry. He previously worked as a freelance instructional designer and graduated from Florida State University.
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