Trends in Learning and Development in 2018!!

Article by Dr. Pratik P. SURANA

Chief Mentor and Founder ,

Quantum Group

Learning and Development (L&D as it is referred to) has been right in the centre of the 4th industrial revolution that all the businesses across the world are experiencing. After the world moved from industrial age to knowledge driven economy, we found that the rules of the game got completely re written. More so in the last 2 years. As the disruption, Artificial Intelligence, innovation and new markets being defined, L&D proves to be the major catalyst in the entire process. There’s plenty of industry chatter about augmented and virtual reality, predictive analytics and machine learning. While those are exciting, buzz-worthy technologies, it’s not an L&D trend typical organizations will see in 2018. Advanced training tech is definitely coming, but its mainstream debut is a few years off.

Here are the trends I would love to talk about:

1.      Content is the king: In the era of bombardment of information, we had seen the battle between “Impressive” Vs “Effective” trainer coming to an end in favour of the later. Now that there are multiple channels of learning available, it’s the content that has defined the depth of the program. A lot of content is being produced and consumed daily. The one that is strong and effective stays in the learning. Be it an article, white paper, course, case study or even best practices, it all depends on the amount of research, the depth of the SME and how simple, yet in an effective manner it is presented. The content remains the king and the two communities created are: Content Creator and Content Consumer.

2.      The emergence of O2O ( Online to off-line) model: For years, people have been debating whether it has to be e-learning or Instructor Led , classroom based training. Now the answer is, it has to be a blended approach where the training is divided into O2O mode: Online to offline model. The social learning tools, sites and e learning portals don’t work in isolation. They need to be integrated. Things such as assessments, case studies, tests,etc. are better handled on line. Video based content can also drive a lot . However the effectiveness of online content has to be mapped to offline ones and vice versa. O2O is the reality of learning.

 3.      The ROI measurement: Companies have been debating about tangible, intangible and notional benefits of training. However, every penny spent is looked upon with a ROI well defined, both, for the individual as well as the organisation. The Kirk Patrick model is being re defined with the tangible observed productivity and performance index. The booster dose is again being put in for a better ROI.

4.      Micro-Learning: A trend, that was long due to arrive. With our 8.25-second attention spans now lower than that of the average goldfish, micro-learning (training divided into small chunks that learners can more easily digest) is effective, highly-rated, and continues to gain traction. Learners retain information when it’s presented in highly-specified 3 to 5-minute chunks as opposed to that 47-page PowerPoint your former training manager developed in 2006.

The concept of micro-learning is so big that one company is even trying to trademark it. Ridiculous, right? But it speaks to the point. It’s past time to get on board with micro-learning!

5.      Driving the change through the real driver, employee: Many learning and development initiatives are initiated by the organisation. Often the approach is top-down. What do new employees need to learn? What is the knowledge we expect all the people on this level to have? How can we disseminate the global health & safety standards? Often the approach is not only top-down, but also very generic. Learning solutions are designed for groups of people, and not tailored to the individual needs, wishes and learning styles of individual employees.

6.      App based and social learning: Various apps such as Duolingo or Lynda have been making the learning on the go popular. Besides, various learning communities created look at learning as a collaborative exercise. Artificial intelligence has started to impact the tech you hold in your hand every day. AI is making phones and apps smarter than ever, and trainers stand to gain a lot from this increase. While some learning management software might still set learners up for solitary work (especially when it comes to on boarding and compliance training), there are more and more systems coming to market that offer social integration, and they aren’t hard to find. When making your choice, keep in mind that you’ve got a few options for features:

·        Chat boxes (which allow for real time discussion)

·        Forums (which can be moderated more heavily and allow longer, more thoughtful interaction)

·        Intramail (which is just like email, but helps avoid cluttering a work inbox)

If you’d like to implement one of these features without overhauling your LMS, you can also explore an external service.

Conclusion: In the past, when employees attended training, it was difficult to tell if it was worth the investment of company time and money. Now strategic learning platforms provide employers with feedback that indicate how employees responded to each segment of training. Quizzes signal what concepts need follow-up, and surveys allow employees to express how they felt about the training and what they would like to see in the future.

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