First things first, let’s talk about what’s NOT on this list.
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.
(You totally thought the focus of this article would be augmented and virtual reality, didn’t you?)
So, here are 6 training trends you can get on board with now to improve your training toolkit in 2018.
#1 : Convert classroom learning to virtual
Good news! Classroom training isn’t dead! It’s just moving to a virtual modality.
As technology infrastructure catches up, increased interactive functionality for multi-person webinar platforms is now a reality. Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) is quickly gaining traction as classroom training’s more cost-effective, less disruptive but equally effective cousin.
Why? Because both employers and employees see the benefit of logging on for a couple of hours to attend a group webinar and virtual discussion over investing time and money in travel to a central classroom to achieve the same goal.
Training Magazine reports that:
- 86% of virtual classroom participants rated the experience as “just as engaging” or “more engaging than” traditional classroom training
- 100% of participants were highly satisfied with virtual classroom experiences
- Virtual learners scored an average 90% on a skills mastery test—one point higher than traditional classroom participants
Instructor-led classes are still the No.1 modality for employee training with 78% of respondents polled for inLearning’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report utilizing it. But not all content needs to be taught in person. By analyzing which training topics lend themselves to virtual teaching methods, you’ll save budget to invest in in-person training where it counts.
Virtual instructor-led training is lighting up our radar as one of the hottest and most attainable training trends for 2018.
Bonus: Embrace these virtual instructor-led training best practices to make your virtual training engaging and effective.
#2: Manager validation
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis
Do you envision a culture of learning for your organization? Does your C-suite? A strong leadership component is key to promoting learning and maximizing the value of your organization’s training program. After all, you can’t just conduct training without accountability. It requires leaders, managers, and supervisors who support the initiative and find engaging ways to encourage participation.
SHRM confirms that to create a true culture of learning, CEO buy-in is critical. In vibrant learning cultures such as UPS, American Express, and the Container Store, C-suite executives and leaders are committed to learning. They model behaviors that communicate their belief that, “being smart is no longer about how much you know or how adept you are at avoiding mistakes. Instead, it’s about being a critical thinker, a motivated learner and an effective collaborator to further the business.”
“…being smart is no longer about how much you know or how adept you are at avoiding mistakes. Instead, it’s about being a critical thinker, a motivated learner and an effective collaborator to further the business.”
To maximize adoption and success rates, training should be consistent, mandatory and standards-based.
Training Magazine suggests that management team prep sessions―where managers review exactly what the training entails plus follow-up strategies to maximize learning―can increase management engagement in the learning process and therefore enhance training results.
Keep learners accountable for staying on-message and implementing the skills and behaviors they’ve learned. Manager follow-up in 30, 60, and 90-day increments to reinforce training topics through a huddle, ride-along, deep-dive session or coaching confirms training success and improves the overall vitality of your organization.
#3: More focus on learner experience
As modern content consumers, we’re spoiled. Google lists 400,000+ results per search, YouTube automatically plays related videos, and Netflix suggests 97% content matches based on viewing pattern algorithms.
Modern learners are beginning to expect a training experience like what’s available in everyday life. So, coming in at number three on our list of training trends is a focus on elevating the learner experience – in both the content and the technology that delivers it.
There’s a newfound intolerance for clicking through 20 sites to find what you need: SharePoint? Same page? Slack? Unique URLs? The dreaded Intranet?
ENOUGH! Learners know it could be better. You know it could be better. We’ve seen it be better.
In 2018, we’ll see a shift in the traditional LMS to enhance the modern learning experience. Integrating disparate systems will enable a one-stop-shop for employees to find the tools, training, and communication they need to be successful in their roles. Your new, integrated LMS will enable training to be adopted and implemented on a grander scale by making it more highly visible, accessible, and engaging.
Rewards-based learning―fostering a culture of learning that rewards people as they develop new skills and behaviors―is also beginning to be understood and embraced.
Communicating training goals, initiatives and deadlines to engage employees is still a huge issue. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t ring true.
But if you build it and include social, gamification, communication, training, and tools, you’ll create a centralized hub where learners can connect to share insights and make informed decisions, inciting higher participation and engagement.
#4: Created vs. Curated content
As creators of engaging training custom-built for your company’s culture and goals, do we believe that off-the-shelf content has its place in your training playbook?
Well, it just might.
Because it’s true: You may not need custom-created training for standard compliance topics such as communication skills and ethics. But keep in mind that value-added content that truly changes behaviors is still a highly-coveted advantage in your training tool belt.
Custom-built content—created to showcase and reinforce your organization’s unique culture, brand, and goals—remains the gold standard. When employees experience your company’s culture reflected in real-world scenarios that help them hone the knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for success, training sticks. High-quality training engages learners by pairing fast-paced, interactive content with the right dose of humor to keep their attention and increase overall learning and completion rates.
Microsoft Virtual Academy and Linkedin’s Lynda.com will be disruptive players in the L&D space with innovative strategies for commoditizing standard content―some of it’s even free―on a platform that organizations could leverage for cost-savings.
By spending a little less money maintaining required compliance courses, you’ll have more budget for behavior-based, custom-created content where it counts most.
#5: Measuring Training Effectiveness
Demonstrating ROI continues to be a challenge, yet the C-suite demands it. While measuring the effectiveness of your training is important, it’s a complex metric. No wonder it made our annual list of training trends in 2016, 2017, and here again in 2018.
Since the elusive Training Effectiveness topic keeps coming up (and we predict it always will), we suggest embracing what we have today. Quantitative ROI data is still roughly five years off, but qualitative data is readily available now. Embrace it and focus on the value it can offer.
Qualitative feedback is the No. 1 way it’s being done. Positive feedback from managers affirming a productivity increase ranks as No. 2, and satisfaction among training attendees is No. 3.
The high cost of employee turnover, as well as the potentially brand-impairing effect of excessive customer service complaints, are strong arguments supporting the qualitative ROI of your training budget.
#6: Up-cycling Flash-based training into modern formats
About 90% of eLearning built in the past 20 years is Flash-based. Now that the final countdown to retiring Flash support has begun, modernizing existing Flash-based training is trending in 2018.
The driving motivator: security threats from major Flash loopholes that will no longer be patched.
While it’s good news for pirates who can more easily breach your systems and access sensitive information, it could be devastating to your organization.
If you’re still using Flash, you’re already behind. Mobile training technology is here, and the timeline for adoption is now. Embrace it.
3 Past training trends you’re still not doing right
Some L&D trends started 10 years ago, but in our experience, a lot of companies are still not doing them right. What’s the low-hanging fruit that you could reach to maximize your training toolkit? We have some ideas.
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 onboard with micro-learning!
It’s an expectation. Our smartphones are by our sides, in our hands and on our nightstands 24/7. Millennials (estimated to compose 75% of the workforce by 2020) especially love their mobile handhelds. 87% affirmed that their smartphones never leave their sides, even in sleep.
MarketsandMarkets forecasts the Global mobile learning market to grow from $7.98 billion in 2015 to $37.60 billion by 2020―a 36.6% Compound Annual Growth Rate.
Mobile training adoption is slow, but it’s happening. Business demands will soon make it a requirement. Many companies are struggling to roll mobile out, coping with the security issues that “bring your own device” mobile technology presents and managing content distribution across them.
A modern learning program provides learners with the ability to learn at their own pace, on their own time, and in their own space. By curating a learning experience that leverages mobile, self-directed options, there’s evidence that you’ll increase adoption levels. 70% of modern workplace learners report increased motivation to train via mobile modality.
Incorporating video doesn’t sound revolutionary, but in training terms, there’s not enough of it, and it’s not being done as well as it could.
With skyrocketing bandwidth comes enhanced possibilities for video. And the fact that it’s compatible with in-person learning, vILT, and online courses makes it a modality to invest in wisely and often.
Do you suffer from video training production phobia? Let it go! According to Kaltura’s State of Video in the Enterprise report, 95% of businesses confirm that video helps train their employees better and faster.