2014 Trends — The Big No Trend

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2014 Corporate Training TrendsPausing to perfect and polish trends from 2013 leads us to… no trend in 2014.

It comes as no surprise that our most popular blogs and articles tend to focus on the “next big development” or an evaluation of trends in the market.  At Allen, we have the privilege of serving a large and diverse customer base. With over 100 distinct projects each year, one of the greatest advantages our organization has is the opportunity to create and watch trends as they start to simmer and gain steam in our industry. And this last year, was definitely one wherein we felt change!

With a crescendo of new technologies, innovative structures, economic constraints, changes in customers’ needs, and shifts in how learners acquire information this year, it seems, will be the year of no evident trend. In 2014 the training industry will (or at least should!) pause to focus and evaluate the innovations that have been developed in recent years. That’s why here at Allen, as we look toward the beginning of 2014, we are deeming it the year of The BIG NO TREND.

If we look back at the changing paradigms or trends we identified last year, we see that as an industry, we still have a way to go. The learner population, irrespective of age is searching for new and exciting ways to be educated. However, the danger is that in our perpetual search for the next big thing, we never fully take advantage of what we have in front of us right now—things like highly branding communication tools, mobile technologies, portal-course integrations and performance-tracking, immersive video, and full motion-based training.

In other words, if we must look for a trend from the forays and expansions of exhibited in 2013, let it be that we are going to focus on applying what we have learned and the new technologies we have, to our projects. The following are some questions that excite us and are being used as we approach projects with our customers and partners:

  1. How much has the use of mobile-based learning replaced or augmented your current training programs?  While many of our blog readers may still be entertaining the idea of mobile learning, for many of our customers it’s the time to learn from the implementation experience.  Did we make the right technological choices in picking HTML, native apps or a combination of the two?  How have we interpreted the needs of our learners? Are we still thinking about how to blend mobile learning into our curriculum or has it become a distinct platform and access point, used to inform, educate and train our employees and customers?
  2. How has the socialization of the learner’s user experience impacted how we enhance training? Has the gap narrowed between the quality of education we supply our employees and the quality medium in which we use to inform our customers and partners?  Some of our most forward-thinking customers are closing this gap in 2014 by focusing on the user experience with layered solutions. These organizations are realizing that metrics/feedback such as Net-Promoter Scores (NPS), are as important coming from your employees as from you customers. The projects that won the most awards in 2013 focused on enhancing the course with personalized learning to reach, impact, motivate, and engage the audience.  We are excited to continue to share our layered solutions with our partners to help them capitalize on results that come from an enhanced user experience.
  3. How have modalities such as game-based learning affected employee engagement and learner experience; how will we leverage this moving forward?  2013 was a great year for gamification.  Our customers are embracing the use of scoring, recognition and competition to foster greater performance from the content created for their learners. Games can drive participation, focus, and behavior change as well as increased engagement. At Allen we are excited to see how technology can enhance the user experience by elevating our customers’ content with elements of gamification into the mix. The upcoming year will see a rapid growth in these inexpensive, easy-to-design gamification elements and we are thankful that our learning portals and courses are able to incorporate these elements so seamlessly.

Ultimately, a year of no big trend can be a blessing. This year, even the most cautious, budget sensitive organizations can and should begin to actively apply new technologies and innovative structures to shift how the learner accesses, internalizes, and applies information. This year, Allen’s leaders and I are looking forward to visiting clients and new partners to take a look at what’s working and what’s not. We are excited to continue to refine the use of mobile learning, gamification and the personalization of the learning process to achieve lasting performance results.

The training trends of 2013 are our inspiration, and we are looking forward to NO TRENDS in 2014 as the best promise for a fun, creative and most of all, effective year.

Please reach out to us share your stories, concerns and excitement as you pause to evaluate, polish, and perfect new training techniques in 2014 … there is much more to come!

Interested in more? Check out Ron’s previous posts on how to get started on making the most of major shifts in corporate training click here.



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