Many companies and educational institutions conduct online training programs and offer blended learning that melds online and in-person training. Although these learning methods have been around for many years, the pandemic and boom of remote working created a new wave of urgency to take learning online.
It seems everyone’s rushing to get a new learning management system (LMS) or update their current one to take advantage of modern learning technologies. And this is without even considering artificial intelligence (AI) and the changes it will bring to development programs and employee training.
So much is happening in training and development that keeping abreast of all the tectonic changes can be tricky. That’s what this guide is for. Here you’ll learn some of the most impactful trends in e-learning, employee training, and learning and development. After learning about the training industry’s future, you will receive a few actionable tips on how to future-proof learning in your organization.
What does the future of training and development hold?
In just a few short years, the world has seen massive changes in society, the workplace, and technology. The work-from-home revolution alongside emerging AI technology is poised to create an even more dramatic shift in how people work and learn going forward. Let’s just say professionals in the learning and development (L&D) sphere have their work cut out for them.
Here are the new technologies and trends that are reshaping the world of L&D as we speak.
Social and collaborative learning
Social learning is a theory proposed by psychologist Albert Bandura that sees learning as a cognitive process taking place in a social context. People don’t just learn through reasoning but also by observing cues and behaviors from others. This means that learning is, by nature, a collective process that works best in a group where learners can interact with each other.
Social learning is also one of the most influential trends in corporate training, as companies want to take advantage of the effect collaboration and interaction have on employee engagement during training.
As more and more training moves online through LMS platforms, social learning features become more important than ever. Discussion groups, forums, and chat functionality allow learners to communicate in real-time and asynchronously to share knowledge, insight, and informal learning content.
Best of all, modern technology implements social learning through social media-style formats that users are familiar with and enthusiastic to engage with.
Speaking of tectonic shifts, how about smartphones? People can scarcely imagine a time before these small yet powerful computers were in everyone’s pockets. And yet, the first iPhone was only introduced in 2007.
Learners are used to mobile apps and smartphones. They consume most of their online content through them. So, it makes sense that mobile learning (“m-learning” for short) is such an essential feature of all contemporary LMS software.
With m-learning, employees, partners, and stakeholders can log onto the learning platform and access training content on the go. If you want to know more about mobile learning, here’s an excellent video:
Overall, mobile learning is convenient, fits well into the modern flow of work, and is a crucial part of continuous learning because it allows learners to continue learning outside the classroom or the workplace.
Personalized learning experiences
New technologies mean employees have to learn new skills. Upskilling and reskilling are powerful tools to keep your workforce competitive, close skill gaps, and keep up with the ever-changing business world.
To indeed be ahead of the curve, employers must invest in personalized learning experiences. This is because, in a business environment that’s rapidly changing, a skillful worker is not one who’s achieved narrow specialization but one who’s flexible and willing to learn continuously.
Personalized learning experiences through adaptive learning pathways and AI features, such as virtual tutors, ensure learners get the most relevant content, increasing knowledge retention and learning motivation.
In the 21st century, the future of work is learning. Therefore, any technology you can use to increase learning motivation will help you and your workforce remain competitive.
Satisfying multiple learner audiences
There are other audiences outside the work environment for whom companies might want to provide training material. Channel partners are one of them, as well as association members and, of course, customers and clients.
Together, all this is called extended enterprise training. It can be used in onboarding new customers and giving the proper training and knowledge to partners, among other things.
Customer training, in particular, is a strong trend because it allows companies to maintain better customer relationships and increase customer loyalty. It’s also indispensable when your product or service is somewhat complicated and requires instruction on operating.
You’ll need an LMS platform that can adapt to multiple audiences to power extended enterprise learning. Cloud-based LMSs like Docebo let you set up multiple domains and separate the learning portals to preserve learner privacy.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Here’s the big one you’ve no doubt been wondering about. What exactly will happen now that generative AI (think ChatGPT and Midjourney) has been unleashed upon the world?
Experts don’t have all the answers, but one thing is clear: everything is about to change. Unlocking more automation and personalization are just two examples of AI assisting in learning and development initiatives.
One way that LMS platforms already use AI is to power recommendation algorithms. Based on inputs such as completed courses, learners get automatic recommendations on new courses that might interest them. Docebo pairs this functionality with its virtual coach, so learners who want to learn something new can ask the AI using natural language.
AI features can also improve searching for content (through automatic indexing and tagging) and unlock better adaptive learning paths. Instead of the admins setting these paths manually, AI can pick which learning objects to use next, based on learner performance.
And all of this is just the beginning. AI will soon be able to create learning content for you too. You can already see it in Docebo’s Shape product which can turn things like blogs and videos into microlearning content.
To understand why gamification is so powerful, look to video games. Did you know that gamers worldwide have exceeded 3 billion people? Or that 76% of those who play games are above the age of 18? That’s why gamification, which takes elements of video games such as levels, experience points, badges, and leaderboards, is such a powerful tool in e-learning. It taps into this love of video games that so many adults possess.
Many learners are already familiar with all these gaming incentives and feel a sense of motivation and pride in earning digital tokens and bragging rights. Even those who aren’t gamers themselves probably use a few gamified apps like Nike Run Club or Duolingo and their coinciding loyalty programs.
LMSs like Docebo have many gamification features that can help engage learners and create a sense of friendly competition.
As workloads and the pace of work increase, setting aside enough time to complete an entire course can be a real challenge.
That’s where microlearning comes in. Microlearning means serving small bite-sized lessons in different modalities like text or video just when the learner needs them.
These little “nuggets of knowledge” address the immediate needs of learners and fit excellently into their workflow. Microlearning is even better when paired with m-learning.
The logic is the same as with using Google to answer questions. Learners log into your LMS anytime they need something, do a quick search, and find relevant content to help them out. Of course, microlearning lessons can be used as part of a more extensive training program where they can relay helpful knowledge in an easily digestible form, thus keeping engagement high.
User-generated content (UGC) has already taken over social media, but is it coming for e-learning next?
While there might not be a takeover anytime soon, learners enjoy consuming content made by other learners. This can be Q&A forums, short videos, reviews, or case studies. It’s a fantastic way to create peer-to-peer learning opportunities in your organization. UGC’s real power is combining social learning with microlearning, another useful and engaging learning tool.
Of course, you might worry that there could be misinformation if you just let anyone upload stuff to your LMS. Docebo’s UGC features come with a peer-review system to combat that possibility. Before UGC goes live, a subject matter expert can review it and choose whether or not to approve it. They can also modify it as needed.
Learning on demand
These days, everything is on demand. Music and movies get streamed into your home anytime you want, and you can even have food or groceries delivered.
The same logic can be applied to training. By creating asynchronous learning content that employees can access at their leisure, you give them the information they need when they need it.
Creating a knowledge base on your standard operating procedures is an excellent example of learning on demand. It’s especially beneficial for remote workers who can refer to the knowledge base to get answers instead of waiting for coworkers or managers to respond.
With learning on demand, you also foster a learning culture where employees engage in self-directed learning, looking through the catalog of courses and enrolling in the ones they find interesting.
How to prepare your workplace for future trends
As you’ve seen, learning and development are rapidly changing. Gone are the days of classrooms, long in-person seminars, and old-school e-learning platforms that require people to be hunched over a desktop computer.
But for all these technological advancements to be practical and valuable, you have to prepare your workplace and your employees. Here’s how to do just that.
- Invest in the right LMS: Taking advantage of any of the technologies mentioned earlier creates a powerful LMS platform and learning experience. Choosing the right LMS can be difficult, but you’ll generally want a platform with a lot of features that is regularly updated.
- Be agile: There is a current shift in learning bringing focus away from what you learn to how you learn it. You can’t train employees based on past successes anymore because technology rapidly makes them irrelevant. Instead, you must embrace the agile way of doing things to keep ahead of the curve and build resilience to change. Tomorrow’s employees must be quick on their feet and respond to new challenges with innovation and speed.
- Make training available to everyone: In many companies, training is either reserved for middle and upper management (symposiums, industry workshops, trade shows, etc.) or for entry-level positions (onboarding, basic job training, etc.). This is an old-fashioned view. To build a learning culture that will give you the agility and resilience you need in a rapidly changing business environment, you must make learning a priority for everyone. Everyone in the company should have access to appropriate learning materials, whether it’s upskilling, leadership training, or any other learning program. One way to aid in creating a robust learning culture is to have people of different seniority and hierarchy levels learn together. This can increase cross-departmental communication and unlock mentoring opportunities.
Now over to you
The future is full of business opportunities and challenges, from AI to virtual reality and beyond. Learning and development efforts are fast becoming a critical business function that can’t be ignored or swept under the rug.
Making the most of your L&D initiatives requires a powerful and robust LMS platform to deliver all the learning content. Docebo is a platform with all the technologies mentioned in this guide. To see how Docebo can help your organization learn better, schedule a demo today.