Skip to content

eLearning Indaba: Important Insights Into Key Trends Shaping Online Learning

  • 5 min read

New Leaf Technologies recently hosted the second instalment of their eLearning Indaba for 2021. The hour-and-a-half long Zoom session saw over 500 human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals register to gain valuable insights into key trends shaping online learning.

The eLearning market has grown a whopping 900% since 2000 and a study conducted by IBM indicated that the eLearning industry has helped businesses see a ROI of 1:30 in productivity. The same study also noted that participants learned nearly five times more material without increasing their time spent in training. New Leaf Technologies Managing Director Michael Hanly introduced the free online sessions centred on finding insights to use in your business: some new ideas, perhaps new techniques or technology – and hopefully even a new way of thinking.

The guest speakers for the second session were Guy Wallace (President of Eppic Inc, USA) who spoke about performance and enabling knowledge/skills analysis data and its use in the lesson mapping steps, and Mehdi Tounsi (Senior Regional Director, Open Sesame, Europe) addressing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the context of curation. Session guests could ask questions after the presentations, and join an insightful interactive workshop.

Hanly announced the newly-created eLearning Indaba Awards (details for entry below) and also imparted exciting news around New Leaf Technologies’ latest partnership with the Learning Performance Institute (LPI). Established in 1995, the LPI is the leading global authority on workplace learning and development. Their focus is on learning efficacy: the demonstrable impact of learning on individual and organisational performance. LPI membership sets you apart from other learning professionals and underlines industry recognition of skills, experience, professionalism and quality.

Wallace on lesson mapping skills

Guy Wallace has been an instructional systems design consultant (ISD) since 1979 and specialises in curriculum architecture design (CAD) for the analysis and design of performance-based training and development (T&D) paths and planning guides. He has authored 15 books and worked with 45 of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA, including NASA and the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS). His consulting engagements have won internal and external awards for AT&T, Change Healthcare, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Imperial Oil, and Siemens Building Technologies.

He told participants how he created the first lesson map in 1990 and explained how it has been at the heart of his Instructional Systems Design (ISD) methods – a format he has used to aid numerous clients. 

Tounsi on impressive eLearning stats

Since 1996 Mehdi Tounsi has worked for companies like Gatlin International providing lifelong learning delivered online. He developed his skills while working in Australia, Africa, the UK and America and now specialises in bringing the world’s best machine learning and expert curation. He helps organisations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to reach their business and organisational goals at his latest position held at Open Sesame, Europe. 

Tounsi contributed impressive statistics to show how AI and ML are changing the way employees are seeing the roles that managers play.  He quoted a survey conducted for Oracle and Future Workplace where 8 370 employees, managers and HR leaders across 10 countries were asked who they would trust more: a robot or their manager. Surprisingly enough, 64% of the employees said they trusted a robot more than they would trust their manager. Why is this the case? The data showed that survey respondents felt robots are better at providing unbiased information (26%), maintaining work schedules (34%), problem solving (29%), and managing a budget (26%).

He further spoke of how AI and ML have helped create 90% of the world’s data in the last year. This will accelerate, since computers can process this information more quickly than humans. This means that businesses need to change their relationship with AI and ML and use those to their strategic advantage. 

AI’s digital, dynamic nature also offers opportunities for student engagement that cannot be found in often-outdated documents or in the fixed environment. In a synergistic fashion, AI has the potential to propel and accelerate the discovery of new learning frontiers and the creation of innovative technologies. A recent study from eSchool News discovered that the use of AI in the education industry will grow by 47.5% through 2021.

eLearning Indaba Awards

A stimulating addition to the already-popular eLearning Indaba series was the announcement of the eLearning Indaba Awards. Submissions for the awards need to be a maximum of 15 minutes long, and showcase an inspirational eLearning experience. The deadline for entries is 30 September 2021. Results will be announced at the final eLearning Indaba event, where the winning eLearning journey will feature. Prizes include a 3–night stay at a game reserve near the Kruger National Park and vouchers to the value R3 000 for the runners-up.

To find out more about the indaba, visit

You can register there for the free upcoming Indabas and have access to all previous sessions held.