Top Talent & Development Trends for 2016

The last few years have been seen major developments in learning technology and breakthroughs in common thinking about workplace training methods. Here, we’ve rounded up four trends that we think will make a very big impact on the industry this year. Is your organization ready to take advantage of them?

Blended learning

According to new research, “blended” learning — in which training is conducted both in-person and online — will comprise more than 70 percent of all workplace training efforts this year. Another study found that although instructor-led, classroom-based training still represents the largest investment in formal training (at 51 percent), technology-based learning is on a growth trajectory, representing 41 percent of organizations’ total investment in training in 2015. With learning technologies growing ever more sophisticated (and affordable), more organizations will seek to incorporate it into their traditional classroom-based programs.

Self-directed learning

More employees are taking advantage of learning and professional development opportunities outside the workplace, taking to social networks like LinkedIn, listening to podcasts and TED Talks, or even accessing free or low-cost online courses such as those available through Lynda, Coursera, Udacity, and Udemy. Savvy organizations have found ways to drive informal learning through internal social platforms like Yammer, or by hosting internal resources like videos and other content that employees can consume when and where they need it. These technologies are driving more self-directed learning, leading to a shift in talent development professionals’ roles from trainers to learning curators and enablers.

“Micro-learning”

Trust us, it’s more than a buzzword. Driven by mobile technologies — and a better awareness of how the human brain absorbs information — training content is becoming shorter and smaller. One-minute how-to videos, five-minute e-learning modules, and PowerPoint slides sporting only one or two lines of text are quickly replacing long-winded lectures, hefty binders, and endless “nexter” e-learning courses. Such “micro-lessons” match our notoriously short attention spans and make it easier for learners to retain information. If you have not already done so, you should consider packaging your training content in more engaging, digestible formats — your learners will thank you.

Mobile learning

It so happens that micro-learning (in the form of videos, blog posts, podcasts, quizzes, slideshows, and so forth) lends itself particularly well to mobile learning platforms. This has sharply spurred the growth of this field, with some researchers reporting that by 2017, the global market for mobile learning will reach $12.2 billion. In a blog post on emerging HR technology, Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte wrote that “mobile apps are the future … they are different and more powerful than typical browser-based web systems.” Game-based learning apps have been some of the most successful in the learning and development industry. Many organizations have used these apps to great effect, and we predict that this year many more will follow suit.

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