5 Key Elearning Trends for 2024 and Beyond

We break down the elearning trends that are dominating 2024 and influencing how we approach online instruction. In just under seven minutes, you’ll get clued in on the big elearning trends that will shape online education in 2024 and beyond.

The elearning market is set to be worth a whopping $325 billion by the end of 2024 1. For context, that’s a growth of 900% since 2000 2. From schools to colleges to corporations, its flexibility and scalability have made it a popular training method worldwide. And according to Fortune India, 40% of Fortune 500 companies use elearning to train staff 3.

But what’s next for the industry? If you’d very much like to know this, you’re in the right place! I break down the elearning trends that are dominating 2024 and influencing how we approach online instruction.

In just under seven minutes, you’ll get clued in on the big elearning trends that will shape online education in 2024 and beyond.

Spoiler alert: While artificial intelligence and smart technology reign supreme, it seems that learners want more IRL experiences than ever before. Here’s why:

Key elearning trends for 2024

Some trends come and go. Others change the face of an industry. As L&D professionals, it’s our job to keep tabs on which trends are worth investing in and which we can politely ignore.

In this section, I’ve handpicked five that we think are changing how we’ll approach instructional design for good.

The top 5 elearning trends for 2024

1. Game-based learning

Gamification is nothing new for elearning developers. We’ve been incorporating game mechanics into our learning experience design for a hot minute, whether through points, badges, or full-blown games.

Learners respond well to game-based training, getting a nice hit of serotonin and dopamine to keep engagement high.

So, what’s new?

Games are leveling up in 2024. As elearning technology gets more advanced, learning streaks, leagues, badges, and complex game hierarchies are becoming more accessible to instructional designers.

We can now track key learning metrics more closely. This data allows us to amp up learning experiences and personalize them even more.

In a recent survey, 90% of respondents reported feeling more productive when gamification was integrated into their everyday work experience 4.

A Deloitte survey also revealed that 72% of workers think that gamification elements like goal setting, points, and rewards make them work harder and get better results.

This feedback shows that learners specifically want more games that simulate real-life situations. So, we can expect to see more interactive simulations, immersive virtual environments, and challenge-based gamification.

We also forecast a rise in gamified experiences taking place outside of formal training environments.

In 2024 and beyond, gamification will also become a firm fixture not only in skills-based training but in compliance and onboarding, too.

2. Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)

The second big trend on our list is probably not a surprise either. VR and AR have been gaining traction in online learning for quite some time now.

So, what does 2024 bring?

Let’s start with a somewhat contradictory statistic:

A 2022 survey by Pew Research Center revealed that 65% of students prefer in-person learning 5.

You may be wondering why we’re bringing this up in a section about VR and AR.

Well, we think 2024 will see VR learning become more focused on solving real-world performance issues. What’s more, it will fill in the blanks with learner progress.

Elearning quizzes and assessments are a great way to get an idea of how well learners have understood a topic. But there are limitations.

We can only gather so much information through multiple-choice questions, meaning some knowledge gaps are going undetected.

Immersive VR and AR experiences give us a deeper insight into learner progress and where skills gaps lie, especially as the analytics continues to improve.

This means that VR could become the future of performance-based assessments, giving real insight into not only technical skills but competencies like problem-solving, too.

Couple this with the rise of adaptive assessments (more on that later), and we’re likely to see real-time learner assessments and instant feedback similar to a one-to-one in-person class.

3. Learner-generated content (LGC)

If you spend much time on social media, you may be familiar with the term user-generated content (UGC).

It means that businesses use content created by their customers for promotional and advertising purposes. This includes unboxing videos, reviews, or images that customers have shared using the product.

This new way of advertising is seeping into instructional design.

Most LMSs these days have social learning features, like channels, forums, and discussion boards, where learners can exchange information and upload their own content. Whether that’s sharing a relevant blog article with their peers or uploading a short ‘how to’ video to show colleagues how to use a corporate tool.

This is student-generated content.

Interestingly, this concept has been around for a while.

In a 2012 journal article, Dr. Laurel Dyson from the University of Technology in Sydney examines the topic. Here’s a quote from the article titled “Student-Generated Mobile Learning: A Shift in the Educational Paradigm for the 21st Century.”

“User-generated content represents a major shift in the way that people are engaging with technology in the twenty-first century, and this change has its educational parallel in student-generated content.”

She highlights the role of mobile learning.

“[…] mobile learning can support a paradigm shift in learning to suit the needs of our students, moving away from more passive learning approaches, as exemplified by the traditional lecture, to active, learner-centered modes in which students produce their own knowledge.”

According to this school of thought, students should be encouraged to actively create their own training content in the form of videos, infographics, or articles.

By being involved in the creation of instructional content, students become more engaged and participatory in the learning process.

This is an accessible and scalable approach that works well in both academic and corporate learning environments. Of course, it does require a high level of monitoring to ensure accuracy and a consistent standard of quality.

2024 could be the year when LGC becomes a crucial part of learning experiences.

4. Micro credentials

Social media has turned us into fish. Or so they say.

Learners today have shorter attention spans than ever before, which is why microlearning continues to be such an effective approach. Learning in short bursts enhances knowledge transfer and improves learner retention.

It’s also the best way to train professionals with limited time to dedicate to studying.

Employees can study on the go, getting targeted information in the form of videos, infographics, and interactive activities. That way, they can upskill without spending hours at a computer.

2024 will take this to the next level.

Adult learners will increasingly gravitate towards micro credentials, which allow them to gain new competencies and certifications in a short time.

These micro credentials work like building blocks, enabling employees to build specific job skills and gain a badge or certificate to show their proficiency.

They’re great because they’re targeted and relevant, giving learners what they need fast.

This won’t just be trending in corporate training. Many academic institutions will follow suit, creating more buildable, skills-focused programs.

LMSs with in-built content curation features and AI-driven skills matrixes will play a big role in facilitating this.

5. Artificial intelligence (AI)

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but AI will continue to dominate elearning this year.

Instructional designers are already widely using AI tools to make the elearning development process more efficient.

But what else can we expect this year?

Let’s start with the one we’re most excited about:

AI will automate many of those pesky manual training management tasks, making instructional designers more efficient. That frees up more time to focus on innovation and optimizing learning experiences.

We’re also likely to rethink how we build learner assessments. AI will drive adaptive assessments, which can offer a high level of personalization.

For example, it can push different questions based on learners’ responses, ensuring the assessment is at the right difficulty level for that specific person.

It can also generate more data to help us understand learning patterns and knowledge gaps.

Another exciting development is AI’s ability to automate the grading process and offer learners real-time feedback.

Smart tutors, chatbots, and predictive analytics will all play a part in creating more tailored assessment experiences while reducing the workload for instructors.

Speaking of chatbots, we’re also seeing a rise in using them to carry out situational judgment tests (SJT). These psychometric tests evaluate how a person is likely to behave in various workplace scenarios, giving insight into their interpersonal skills, emotional state, and technological abilities.

Wrapping up

Games leaving the classroom and entering the workplace, adaptive assessments, buildable micro credentials…2024 looks set to be another exciting year for elearning!

As these trends gather speed, how we design and deliver learning experiences is continuing to evolve.

What do you think is the biggest emerging elearning trend for 2024? How will it impact the industry? Let us know in the comments.

Nicola Wiley

By Nicola Wylie

Nicola Wylie is a learning industry expert who loves sharing in-depth insights into the latest trends, challenges, and technologies.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/05/26/the-rise-of-e-learning-in-2020/ ↩︎
  2. https://www.oxfordcollege.ac/news/online-education-statistics/ ↩︎
  3. https://www.fortuneindia.com/enterprise/how-the-power-of-e-learning-is-taking-over-the-world/109413 ↩︎
  4. https://gitnux.org/gamification-statistics/ ↩︎
  5. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/06/02/how-teens-navigate-school-during-covid-19/%5C ↩︎