Learning Trends 2018 – How to Embrace Them

by Melanie Martinelli

Doug Howard, CEO, and Ken Taylor, editor-in-chief, of Training Industry Inc. recently co-wrote a blog post called Trends 2018 – Speed is the Heart of the Learner Experience. Taking a few of the trends from there, we give you insights on how best to embrace and make them a part of your Learning Strategy.

1. Mass Customization is Driving Learner Experience

Blanket, one-size-fits-all training is no longer adequate to meet the unique needs of learners. […] Learning leaders must shift their focus from creating learning programs to designing customized learning paths that encompass the entire learning experience.”

It is important to take the focus away from the event alone and think about how the participants can be taken on a journey that helps them translate learning to behavior. Multiple mediums such as articles, videos, case studies, assignments, reflections must be built-in to truly engage and reach the different personality types of participants. The Brinkerhoff – High Performance Learning Journeys course is a great certification tool that aids in just such design.

2. Growing Emphasis on People Skills

“Living in a technologically-driven world has led to a breakdown in basic communication skills. […] While technology is helping lead innovation, developing our soft skills is necessary to stay relevant, communicate value and supplement those important technical skills. Soft skills such as emotional intelligence, collaboration and negotiation are growing more important as organizations become more global and diverse.”

L&D leaders must engage with both internal and external service providers to create learning journeys with the latest and most relevant content/tools/models being used by the industry. They must also work towards building a feedback culture within organizations as these skills can only be built with constant specific feedback being provided by the participants. Models such as Personify Leadership, The Reina Trust Assessments, and others go a long way in helping organizations build the soft skills needed for them to stay relevant and communicate values appropriately to their employees.

3. Improvisation in Instructional Design

“Improvisation is the act of spontaneously creating something from whatever is available. […] It can help designers to be more creative and flexible in their approach to designing learning scenarios. […] We’ve effectively reached the end of an era with ADDIE in corporate instructional design. Instructional designers need to move beyond the event and consider the entire learning system for their programs.”

Newer learning design models such as Accelerated Learning put the focus purely on the learner. Designers have the tools to come up with creative, spontaneous learning scenarios using flip-charts, posters, sticky walls activity, and other creative techniques to make the learning experience memorable. Also, tools such as Promote provide support to the participants throughout the journey. They allow participants to have social interactions with their peers and superiors, act as a one-stop-shop for all their micro-learning and other modules, and, in general, also allow designers to add and change content based on their needs.

4. Leveraging Training as an Employee Benefit

“Training is quickly becoming a key differentiator between companies competing for talent. […] They want accessible training to refine and grow their skills. L&D can play an active role in retaining and engaging employees. By providing training and development, employees are more motivated and successful within their roles.”

L&D Managers need to move away from being order-takers to consultants. The more they design training programs using principles from The Kirkpatrick Model, Brinkerhoff and others, the more their training programs will be impactful – making a real difference to the employees and the way they work. This will result in more satisfied employees as well as eventually higher engagement and lower attrition.

5. Training Spend Increasing

“Overall global budgets appear to be on the rise – we expect a 2 to 5 percent increase globally. We see investments taking on a more project feel, with some situations of reducing current investment levels to allocate to major initiatives on the horizon. We also expect L&D leaders to continue the trend of spending more of their total budget internally (new headcount) versus sourcing more of the programs externally.”

In order to do more internally, L&D leaders will need to invest more in improving the skills of themselves and their teams to be able to take on the varied roles necessary.

Consider one or more of these certifications to achieve this:

There is a lot we can do to take on the emerging Learning Trends for 2018. What are your plans?



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