There’s nothing more certain about the future of learning than the potential for technology to transform the learning experience and help nurture talent. 2016 will bring plenty of new challenges for the L&D function in preparation for Generation Z entering the workplace and the next wave of baby boomers retiring. How will learning technologies help bridge skills gaps? How can they drive greater engagement? And which innovations will deliver the greatest business value? Here are five overarching trends that will shape the learning landscape in 2016:
Driven by today’s tech-savvy learners, gamification will continue to gain traction, and if analyst predictions are correct, the global market for game-based learning and gamification will have grown from $2bn in 2012 to $7.4bn (IBIS Capital) by the end of this year, and more than 50% of corporate processes will be gamified (Gartner Research).
With so much attention-grabbing information at our fingertips, gamification is increasingly proving to be a powerful tool to immerse, engage and motivate learners and make dull click-next elearning a thing of the past. If you haven’t yet explored the potential of gamification to deliver results for everything from compliance training to the softer skills of leadership and communication, now is the time to get going.
The mobile device is now the go-to channel for information in our daily lives, and its use in corporate learning is only going to grow. The ability to deliver learning across multiple devices, online and offline, will become an increasingly important focus for L&D in 2016, particularly since we shuffle across different devices during the day - from smartphones and tablets to laptops and PCs. We’ll also see a growing shift from repurposing online courses for mobile devices to delivering bite-sized learning in the quest to make mobile learning more effective. As part of the trend to mobile, expect to see the rise of video and lots more short clips embedded within elearning courses, appealing to the YouTube generation and taking advantage of decreasing video production costs and increasing bandwidth. 2016 will also be the year early adopters seriously start to experiment with wearable technology.
Personalised learning is set to be more than the latest fashion this year with rising expectations among a diverse workforce for a haute couture rather than an off-the-shelf learning experience. Today’s self-activated learners want an inspiring learning experience that fits their personal needs, learning speed, preferred learning style and, most importantly, their learning pathway. Over the coming year, get set to see eXperience API continue its journey to become the way learning systems and all types of content talk to each other. Major attractions include its ability to capture meaningful information relating to a wide range of learning experiences and behaviours; its ability to overcome many of the shortfalls of SCORM; and, above all, the role it can play in creating a more personalised learning environment; empowering learners to achieve their goals.
Better integration will drive greater business value and agility in 2016. Organisations will be increasingly looking to integrate their learning and talent strategies, to bring content together to achieve a more seamless learning experience and integrate learning into the workflow. Technology will continue to play an instrumental role in enabling greater integration, in breaking down silos of information and building talent pipelines. Towards Maturity’s 2015-16 Industry Benchmark Report shows a rise in the adoption of the integrated LMS, up from 38% last year to 44% this year. This trend is set to continue, with more companies striving to better support career development while seamlessly integrating succession planning into employee development. What’s more, an integrated solution also enables leaders to direct training resources to where they can create the most value in the business.
Cloud computing is on the rise and next year we’ll see the continued growth of cloud-based authoring tools and learning platforms. Organisations are increasingly recognising the efficiencies and flexibility of cloud-based LMSs. Lower start-up and maintenance costs, faster deployment and improved accessibility are all attractive features for enabling learning on-the-go, anytime, anywhere. With a growing choice of vendors in the marketplace, quality of service will no doubt be a more important differentiator than ever.
Will 2016 be a transformational year for corporate learning in your organisation? What plans does your L&D department have to harness the power of technology and provide a more consumer-like learning experience? The tools are ready and waiting to enable change, and with the right support from the business and learning partners alike, L&D has a great opportunity to connect better with learners and ensure the business has the skills it needs to be agile, competitive and productive.
Rob Caul is CEO of Kallidus, the leading provider of learning and talent management solutions. For further information visit www.kallidus.com or follow @kallidus via Twitter