2019 Learning and Development Trends
The learning and development industry continues to expand its use of new technology to improve the quality of corporate training. Though the training industry lags pretty far behind the bleeding-edge of the tech industry, many of the trends we’ve seen this year in L&D follow advances in technologies used in our personal lives. Additionally, trends in the way we design training are changing, which reflects the changing workforce demographics. So, let’s take a look at key trends in training technology and design that make corporate training more personal, engaging, and appealing for individual learners.
Training Technology Trends
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Advances in artificial intelligence make it extremely useful for personalizing learner pathways. AI can analyze learners’ behaviors in a course, performance management software, and your internal systems to quantify their strengths, performance, and knowledge gaps. With this data, you can recommend training content based on individual needs in a scalable way.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality provides exciting opportunities for immersive, interactive, and uniquely effective employee onboarding. Learners can safely practice tasks that may be dangerous for beginners or familiarize themselves with a facility before coming on-site. But it’s important to avoid getting stuck on the wow-factor of VR. You still have to maintain instructional efficacy in a VR environment.
Adaptive learning is a much-needed method of personalization closely tied to the adoption of AI. Tests and algorithms determine what kinds of content will be most useful to each learner and will adjust the learner path to reflect individual needs. Essentially, this automates the pre-tests for competency used to gauge learners’ knowledge base. This tech has the potential to significantly reduce training time because learners won’t waste time working through training content they already know.
Though the transition to mobile learning isn’t new, more organizations are moving toward mobile platforms to accommodate employees’ content consumption habits. Gallup reports 71% of Millennials connect more with mobile learning than L&D activities delivered via desktop or formal methods. So, you should expect to see the drive for mobile learning increase as Millennials account for more of the workforce. That aside, mobile learning is sometimes just more convenient. Learners can fit in a few minutes of training at a time while waiting in line for lunch or commuting to work.
Instructional Design Trends
Traditional employee training and development occurs outside of the work environment, and it doesn’t always translate well into behavior change on the job. It’s a challenge that business leadership has grappled with for decades. Perhaps, the answer we’ve been waiting for is workflow learning; integrating learning into the flow of work. Employees seek information when it becomes relevant to the present challenge, so training should reflect that — or that’s the theory, at least. The learning objectives for workflow learning are usually very specific: a learner needs some information to complete a task, looks up relevant training content, then completes the task. The goal is to create a training ecosystem that helps employees to quickly find what they’re looking for to solve an immediate problem, instead of pushing comprehensive content they may not need at the time.
Market Your Training
Employees may value a culture of career development, but with more and more distractions, it can be difficult to convince your workforce to spend time on optional training. One trending solution is to take from your marketing team’s playbook. Marketing teams have figured out how to motivate change. Market your training to learners with tactics like cross-promotion for other training content and social sharing. To figure out the best strategy, ask questions like, how will employees benefit from the training, how will it make their job easier, or more efficient?
Measure Your Impact
One challenge with learning and development trends like workflow learning, or adaptive learning is how to measure the impact of training. Varied personalized and self-directed learning is engaging, but analysis gets much more complicated with inconsistent pathways. The training industry isn’t always the best at measuring tangible training outcomes, and solutions are still in the works. So, keep an eye out for advances in measuring training success in 2020.
Training technology advances like artificial intelligence and virtual reality are making waves. Corporate training is becoming more personalized and interactive and occasionally borders on sci-fi. But, it’s by using methods like adaptive learning and workflow learning that learning teams are able to really show off what they can do with those technologies. Beyond that, instructional designers are learning how to market their training as well. What does that mean for the learners in 2020? Their performance gaps don’t stand a chance.