Changes in L&D: Forecasts and predictions for the next year and beyond

The digital world is not only reshaping how we live and work but is transforming how L&D is organised, implemented and delivered. With the constant influence of new technologies outside the workplace, organisations should expect dramatic changes to take place in the world of work over the coming years.

Changes which pose fundamental challenges for L&D departments to futureproof their L&D offerings and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies.

With this inevitable digital transformation, it’s vital your organisation isn’t left behind with defunct, out of date training. So, in order to prepare for the future of learning it’s vital to understand what we can expect in the evolving world of L&D. We’ve outlined 5 key predictions (inspired by an infographic from Deloitte) that will impact the future of learning to get you preparing internally.

Workplace learning revolution

The digital revolution will overhaul traditional L&D strategies, offering the opportunity to create a more stimulating environment for your employees where knowledge-sharing curation and collaboration will start to have a major impact. As these approaches evolve, it’s important to help shift your employee’s perceptions of organisational training too. Think about a blended, hub approach that utilises aspects of social learning, gamification and new technologies working together in a holistic manner to engage with employees on a deeper level, as human beings.

It’s important to create an exciting learning environment that your employees want to arrive at, not something demotivating that’s simply pushed upon them for the sake of being compliant. Start to focus more on the learner and their user experience, rather than designing training purely to prove that training’s taken place. Be sure to always ask yourself; have your employees really gone away learning something? Or are you just ticking the boxes?

Humanisation of L&D

L&D professionals will better leverage what makes us human in order to determine a more effective and stimulating learning strategy that utilises modern technology. By exploring the components that drive and motivate human beings, L&D departments will allow employees to progress and achieve their goals. Consider the human givens, take the time to reflect on how your training offering could best utilise these principles to deliver an inspiring learning experience.

One of the key human givens is the desire to feel part of a wider community. So, why not tap into that sense of community with your training too? An example of this can be easily done utilising your LMS to create a facilitated social learning environment through social forums. Provide an area where your employees can share, discuss and ask questions with each other and their managers or trainers. Leverage your learner’s natural intuition to interact with their peers and colleagues and allow them to freely discover content across your LMS, then share their knowledge amongst each other.

If you give leaners the freedom to discover content and courses for themselves, they are able to take control of their own learning and development. Sky apply this approach to their open LMS, following the philosophy of ‘resources not courses’; with 98% of content held on their Totara LMS visible to all 25,000 members of staff, regardless of role, allowing them to explore freely.

Data, analytics and personalisation

The use of analytics and data points will help power your L&D decisions, providing learners with a much more targeted learning experience. The vast extent of data that’s captured over time about your employees will give you a real insight into the behaviour of your users, providing you with the knowledge to make decisions in training that are most effective with your audience.

…And it doesn’t stop there! Data will be used to create unique, personal experiences for your learners, generating content and functionality that’s fully customised to each individual, ensuring your L&D offering meets their basic human givens.

Imagine an Amazon approach to online training, where you can use data analytics to provide a seamless learning journey. You can recommend relevant content to your employees at the time they need it, suggesting what courses they still need to complete. Or create an area where they can log onto their own personalised greetings page which prompts them to join where they left off the day before. By providing this personalised experience, you can really drive your employee’s engagement and improve the learning outcomes in your organisation.

Wider adoption of BYOD (Bring your own device)

BYOD and multi-device training is already happening amongst L&D. It has become an extremely popular outlet for workers to learn, and at Mind Click we’ve been bombarded with requests for multi-device e-learning over the past few years. As mobile devices rapidly dissolve the barriers between work and personal life, multi-device learning will become even more favoured by L&D professionals, as it allows instant training access to learner’s on-the-go and at their true point of need.

However, with the internet connection acting as a huge barrier to deliver a seamless learning experience, can online training truly be multi-device? With an offline player you can provide your users with continuous learning delivery regardless of device or connection. For example, if a sales person at your organisation needs some quick refresher training before an important meeting, they are able to access e-learning or their LMS on the job via a smartphone or tablet, whether they’re online or not. It’s simple!

New generation and replacement of out-dated technology

New technologies have revolutionised the learning experience we know today and as your learners develop and new generations start, your workforce will quickly make the digital shift towards more modern technologies; so must organisations adapt too. By 2020 20% of your workforce will be made up of generation Z (people born from 1995 onwards). This generation of employees have grown up with smart phones, tablets and touch screen devices; technology is a fundamental part of their lives. This means their expectations for fluid, modern and technological learning experiences will be much higher than that of today’s employees.

With this influential generation shift, it’s vital to take time to understand your learner’s needs and prepare for how their expectations will change in the future. After all, your workforce is essentially driving this digital revolution, causing L&D to move forward.

Proclivity for the latest trends

Trends will come and go of course, but try not to be too entranced! Using them as a temporary solution to tackle challenges such as learner fatigue could be useful in many contexts, but they may not be effective in solving the root cause of your problems. So, instead try to work them into your L&D strategy, only if you’re sure they make sense for your organisation (and your users). After all, no one wants to invest time and money into something that falls flat with their learners.

Before making the decision to embark on this digital endeavour and adapt your strategy to accommodate the future changes we’ve outlined, think about the user experience as a whole. Don’t get too caught up on one single component of the learning experience, as you’ll find each element works together to contribute to the overall strategy. As long as you’re clear with your approach and focus on leveraging learning technologies in a holistic method with your learners at the forefront, you’re making the right steps towards the future.

First steps to futureproofing

We understand your organisation isn’t going to implement a complete digital overhaul overnight, so start with the baby steps. If a spring clean is well overdue, why not dust off your legacy e-learning by updating it to something more modern and multi-device? Converting outdated e-learning from Flash to HTML5 can be an effective alternative solution to creating e-learning from scratch, especially if your organisation lacks the time or budget. I’m sure endless resource and investment went into making your existing Flash courses, so leverage that! Make the most out of the content you already have (as long as it’s still relevant for your organisation) and ensure that you don’t get left behind with defunct content that could harm your L&D strategy in the future.

 

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