E-Content Trends That Dominated in 2016
The year 2016 was an evolutionary and revolutionary year for the world of e-content, bringing us the following trends that will shape the e-content industry in 2017 and beyond:
Children Embraced E-Content
The number of children consuming e-content reached a record number in 2016, according to OverDrive. This source noted that patrons checked out 19 percent more children’s and young adult e-books using the platform in 2016 than in 2015. These checkouts occurred through public libraries, highlighting the need for more libraries to respond to the enthusiasm of young readers for digital content and offer e-resources for those readers.
This research from OverDrive initially seems to contradict a September 2015 study from YouthSight cited by The Bookseller, which claimed that 64 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds prefer traditional print books to e-books. However, OverDrive’s research concerns only library checkouts. While young people may prefer to own hard copies of the books they treasure, they may prefer e-content for casual reading.
Younger 16- to 19-year-olds were more likely to read e-books than the 20- to 24-year-olds surveyed, indicating that this late teen and early-adult generation of readers is more open to digital content than their older contemporaries. Fourteen percent of teens surveyed read at least one e-book a month, twice the percentage of young 20-year-olds. The 16- to 19-year-olds surveyed were also less likely to prefer print and e-books. Twenty-three percent of teens said they were happy to read either an e-book or a print book, compared with less than 20 percent of people in their early 20s.
Non-English Speakers Also Connected With E-Content
OverDrive also noted significant increases in non-English e-content accessed through its platform in 2016. Compared to 2015, patrons accessed close to 40 percent more non-English e-books and audio books from its catalogs. Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and French e-content was among the most popular offerings.
This rapid increase emphasizes the need for librarians to offer a variety of non-English e-content for members of communities who speak English as a second language.
Brainscape noted that non-English e-books and audio books are valuable not only for people who are speaking English as a second language, but also English speakers who are learning another language. Brainscape’s Andrew Cohen explained that reading an e-book while simultaneously listening to an audio book greatly improves “ear training” and familiarizes learners with the speed and cadence of a studied language. This approach is preferable to simply listening to an audio book, as words can easily get missed or misheard while listening to audio alone.
After the rise of micro-blogging, perhaps the micro-learning trend noted by Simone Smith of Elearning! was inevitable. She explained that in 2016, online education companies began creating shorter training courses, or micro-learning programs, designed to appeal to millennial students. Micro-learning can be thought of as a structure for delivering educational e-content in tightly focused lessons, according to eLearning Industry. This publication believes that micro-learning is not a passing trend and that people will see more focus on educational strategies using this innovative structure in 2017.
Digital Book Clubs Became Popular
Traditional book clubs receive credit for a resurgence in reading habits, according to the Harvard Business Review. However, since 2016, OverDrive noted that many book clubs are going digital. This source explained that in 2016, libraries began hosting and promoting e-book reading clubs encouraging people within their districts to all read and discuss the same book. In 2016, more than 200 digital book clubs in 31 countries operated on the OverDrive platform alone. One of these clubs was the CityRead London program, which inspired people across the British capital to read Ten Days by Gillian Slovo in April 2016.
The CityRead London initiative wouldn’t be possible with traditional books, as every participant would need a different copy. However, libraries can receive ”simultaneous access” titles that allow countless readers to access the e-content at the same time. This digital book club trend is one librarians should note as they consider new ways to engage their communities.
More Learning and Development Firms Developed E-Content
In 2016, educators saw a shift toward learning and development (L&D) firms creating their own e-content, according to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C noted that technical advances, including the rise of user-friendly authoring tools such as Articulate Storyline 2, have allowed a range of L&D firms to move e-content creation in-house. These firms benefit from significant cost savings, according to W3C, and greater control over new e-content.
Users Generated Their Own E-Content
E-learning businesses aren’t the only groups generating their own digital content in 2016, according to Training Journal. This source cited research from learning management system producer Create eLearning, which claimed user-generated content (UGC) would be one of 2016′s key corporate e-learning trends. This trend builds on the precedent set by social media, where more people take ownership of content in the digital world.
During 2016, skilled employee learners increasingly documented their own knowledge for the use of other learners. Proliferating user-friendly and accessible personal digital publishing tools such as Prezi and SlideShare has fueled this trend. According to Mark Taggart, chief executive officer of Create eLearning, to Training Journal the UGC that skilled learners create is often viewed as more trustworthy than e-content provided by other sources.
“Studies show that millennials — that is, those born between around 1980 and 2000 — trust UGC 50 percent more than any other media,” he explained. “Examples of UGC in the wider world include Wikipedia and YouTube.”
In its 2016 white paper, “The Importance of User Generated Content in e-Learning,” Create eLearning cited user-generated content as one of six tools certain to shape the corporate e-learning industry in the near future.
If continued developments in e-content interest you, a career in information science may be the right fit for you. An online MMLIS degree program can prepare you for a lasting and fulfilling career in an ever-changing industry.