Take a moment to close your eyes and picture a soccer ball. If you pictured a white ball with black pentagons all over it, you are not alone.

When it comes to sports, there is nothing more iconic than the 1970 World Cup, Adidas Telstar soccer ball. For many, the image of a soccer ball brings them back to memories of watching a game with their family, playing in the park with friends, their favourite World Cup match. Or No matter what memories an image of the soccer ball conjures up, just like you, the ball you remember has grown up too. With every decade, the soccer ball becomes increasingly more advanced, and so do advancements in e-Learning.

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a computer for the 1970s

1970s: In 1970, that black and white soccer ball set the standard in roundness, offering players the best game possible for an entire decade. During that same decade, the first personal computers started to appear, and alongside them the first digital courseware. The first uses of satellite communication for distance education started to take place as well!

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a computer for the 1980s

1980s: In the 1980s the ball had started to change, its shape becoming rounder and more waterproof. For the 1982 World Cup in Spain, the ball would now have waterproof-sealed seams. This stopped the ball’s weight from changing in water-logged conditions giving the players more consistent playing conditions. Waterproofing technology improved for the 1986 Mexico World Cup. The ball would be fully coated in a polyurethane finish, further eliminating the intake of water.

In the 1980’s more computers were steadily finding their way into schools and the classroom. Programs were being developed allowing learners to improve their literacy and mathematic skills. Access to digital learning opportunities was stable and constant, everybody had access to the same knowledge. However, by the end of the decade, the first iterations of online learning started to take place with the first online Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees!

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a computer for the 1990s

1990s: Out on the field in Italy during the 1990 World Cup soccer game, the soccer ball’s waterproofing was further improved. The latest ball included an internal black polyurethane foam, protecting it from water and condensation. This ultimately provided a better overall play for the players. The next two World Cups in ’94 and ’96 improved upon the ball’s outer layer, adding different polystyrene foams. This made the ball softer, more durable, and responsive to the players’ touch.

Off the field, in the world of e-Learning, the 1990s was a great period for advancements. With the Dot-Com boom and the rise in popularity of the personal computer, CD-ROMs and PDFs made e-learning even more accessible. Digital learning was available via games but also became a popular tool for professional training as well. Organizations could now more easily develop learning solutions for their employees or purchase training programs to improve their employee efficiency. All these changes and developments now meant that e-learning could reach more people and provide an overall better learning experience to all!

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a computer for the 2000s

2000s: The 2000s was another decade full of soccer ball innovation. In 2002, the ball’s aerodynamics were improved in Korea so that it flew more accurately. In 2006 in Germany, the ball’s shape and flight were further improved, removing even more friction from the ball, ultimately creating an even better handling ball.

If the ball was flying better than ever in the 2000s, so was the world of e-learning. New software, improved technology, and the introduction of Learning Management Systems (LMS) meant that new standards could be set. The commonly used SCORM system used in e-Learning today was developed to allow for the more efficient tracking and sharing of e-learning content. This facilitated the tracking of learning for both learning institutions and businesses!

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a tablet for the 2010s

2010s: Debuting in 2010, the World Cup Soccer Balls were now using the latest technology, thermal bonding. Using this technology allowed the ball to be rounder than any soccer ball before and therefore become more accurate. The ball’s performance improved further by reducing the number of panels using thermal bonding technology in 2014 in Brazil.

E-learning became even more accurate than ever in the 2010s. Not because there was new information, but because e-learning could now offer you a way to pinpoint learning objectives. Custom-tailored learning solutions allowed learners to gain knowledge in highly specific fields. E-Learning went mobile, on mobile phones and tablets through a new thing called apps. Personal computers could now fit in the palm of your hand! New delivery methods also arose, using gamification, learning became something fun, engaging, and competitive. Learners could meet their goals whether it was personal or corporate.

Vector illustration of a soccer ball and a VR headset for the Present and the Future

The Present, the Future: This year’s soccer ball is the start of a new decade of World Cup innovations. It is considered the most high-tech ball yet. Designed to be virtually seamless, it is thermally bonded at the seams to reduce air resistance as much as possible. It is designed to allow the ball to fly more accurately at even faster speeds. Loaded with the newest technology, it even includes a suspended sensor to assist with AI refereeing.

If in 2022 the current ball is loaded with the newest technology, the same could be said with the field of e-learning. Virtual and augmented reality are both taking off. Learners can visit museums or performs experiments without ever entering a museum or operating room. Learning platforms and applications are now using AI to assist learners with their learning, helping them identify weaknesses and build up knowledge and skills. It is a very exciting time for e-learning, and it’s very hard not to look forward to what is around the corner!

Just like with e-learning who knows what advancements our favourite black-and-white soccer ball will receive in future World Cup games? One thing is certain for both fields, we will be flying higher and further than ever before, and if you are looking for the perfect training solution, the Novaconcept team will be there to take your learning to newer heights!

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