L&D professionals are known to continually adopt tactics to keep up with industry standards and the needs of the modern learners. 2018 too is likely to witness some new trends and innovative technologies to ensure great learning opportunities for employees. We distil our almost 2 decades of experience in the eLearning industry to bring to you 8 predictions that will dominate the L&D vertical this year.
1. 2018 will be the Year of Mobile Learning
With faster Internet speeds and affordable smartphones, Mobile Learning has been an unstoppable trend for a couple of years now. Vendors and organizations alike have been testing the waters, and adopting it as a part of their learning/ training strategy, albeit with a pinch of salt. 2018, however, will be a culmination of all these and will see a renewed focus on mLearning as organizations now start accepting and including it with open arms.
As it goes with changes, this too will lead to some changes in mindsets and approaches. When designing learning programs, it is certainly going to be a mobile-first approach – from the content to the delivery and consumption of it. Employees will increasingly rely on mobile devices for just in time performance support, operational knowledge, and overall training.
The year will also see a bigger reliance on Offline LMS apps – the most seamless and convenient way to deliver training content to users who have limited/ no Internet connectivity.
2. Gamification will be a Game-Changer
Gamification has always been known to help L&D provide better value to their employees by making learning engaging while at the same time helping them retain and apply the knowledge gained. In 2018 too, gamification, incorporated in the right way, either in the form of learning content (as game-based learning) or a learning platform with game mechanics, will have a significant impact on overall employee performance and development.
3. Shift from ‘Automation’ to ‘Productivity’
For some time now, automation has become ubiquitous in workplaces and is almost a ‘default’. However, it’s not enough to simply automate processes, companies also have to focus upon productivity. 2018 will be all about creating and developing experiential platforms with the help of digitized, modernized Learning Management systems, and new AI-based systems to support and deliver learning and performance support. Organizations will be making the most of automation by leveraging technology to improve people’s productivity and experience at work.
4. Increased Focus on Individual Learning for Career Development
2018 will also see more consideration for an individualized learning experience. Companies will look at offering flexible, customized learning and the ability to transfer and apply knowledge into professional life. Personal learning paths will become stronger features of learning and development programmes. A survey has shown that half of the L&D managers who were questioned responded that they plan to provide more personalized learning paths for their employees. With the entry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the L&D industry, it will be easier to customize the digital learning experience for the learners.
5. Growth of the Digital L&D
Digitization is impacting every area in the workplace. L&D has already realised this and is adopting a tech-enabled learning/training approach. In 2018 too, L&D will go beyond merely automating and revamping the company’s digital mindset and strategies. The norm will be to implement technology to meet the learning needs of employees instead of just digitizing existing learning platforms. The focus will be to ‘be digital’, rather than just ‘do digital’. Cloud-hosted LMSs that empower learners and fulfil their knowledge and skill needs will be the go-to option along with LMSs equipped with APIs and Integration capabilities as well as functionalities to future-proof employees. In fact, automation of key L&D functions will mean that L&D professionals will now have more time on hand to develop other strategies that can move the needle in the right direction.
6. Leadership Skills will take the Spotlight
2018 will have leadership development as a focal point because organizations will have to ensure that their leaders are well-equipped to take decisions and think on their feet when some unplanned situation arises. This year will see companies concentrating on a host of factors like enabling business leaders to take ownership in learning interventions, engaging Millennials and accelerating their professional development, hiring people with leadership qualities, nurturing leaders within the company through the right tools and systems and encouraging a culture where managers can effectively coach employees.
7. From mere Learning Platforms to a Learning Ecosystem
2018 will be the year when LMSs will move away from being a standalone entity and turn into a holistic Learning Ecosystem. While they will continue to manage and deliver learning/ training, LMSs will also work alongside several other applications, tools, websites, etc. to present a one-stop-shop for everything learning. The Learning Ecosystem of 2018 will come with several key components like ability to integrate with online libraries/ course marketplaces and with systems like HRIS, HRMS, and other 3rd-party applications. Companies will invest in Learning Platforms that extend into Performance Support and Talent Management, through new-age learning tools like Mobile Learning, Social (Informal Learning), etc. In an age where people are more concerned about advancing their careers, learning will play a big role in retaining and keeping employees motivated and focussed.
8. Focus on Developing Women Leaders
The L&D continues to experience a leadership gender gap which needs to be addressed on an urgent basis. As per a recent study, in the U.S. alone, while women make up 50.8 percent of the country’s population, only 4 percent of the overall S&P 500 labor force and 36 percent of first- or mid-level officials and managers in those companies, they are only 25 percent of executive- and senior-level officials and managers, hold only 20 percent of board seats, and are only 6 percent of CEOs. In 2018, companies will put this issue on their ‘to-do’ list and will create a culture that helps women leaders thrive, and makes their growth an innate and continuous aspect within the organization.
Like each year, we are sure L&D professionals are all set to take on this year too with ample vigour and enthusiasm. 2018 will see forward-thinking learning verticals create leadership development programs, tools, and processes that reflect the uniqueness of the organization. We are eagerly looking forward to this. How about you?