Most traditional learning platforms out there are outdated, complex, and loaded with unnecessary features. While some platforms may contain great content, it’s often based on long-form training such as instructor-led training—which also may be stale and not very engaging. An audience can quickly tune out and get lost with long-form content that isn’t tied together in an agile and integrated platform.
In 2016, we will see a few key trends in employee learning that align with the lean, quick, and agile methodology companies need to survive:
1. Break Down Learning Silos
Humans are inherently curious, and, therefore, like to learn. Learning occurs throughout the day in many methods, from watching the news, reading Internet articles, glancing over social media feeds, and working collaboratively with colleagues.
Learning can and should be integrated into employees’ e-mail, calendar, software, social media, and LinkedIn profile. For example, employees’ skills and areas of expertise from LinkedIn can and should be integrated into your learning programs because it makes finding relevant subject matter experts quicker and easier.
Learning should live within our everyday workflow, in a way that is not intrusive, and allows us to go right back to our day-to-day activities.
2. Broadcasting Versus Streaming
One-off seminars are falling out of favor. This broadcast model of learning now has turned into streaming. This is another flavor of the “pull” vs. “push” argument. Getting participants to “pull” is going to be more effective than “pushing” down on them. Learning doesn’t need to be a separate, physical place you attend, like a class or seminar, but rather should be an everyday part of your life and available at your fingertips anytime. Managing that and making learning part of your day without being offsite for eight hours allows you to stream into different groups. We cope with massive amounts of news and carry it in our pockets and manage that on a human level every day.
3. Large Top-Down Learning Systems Are Out
It’s amazing how fast large top-down learning systems are becoming obsolete, and how quickly this has occurred. Without a human element, this is a static model that is not relatable on a personal level. Collaborative learning with a social aspect will allow your employees to learn quicker and easier while establishing continuity through ongoing discussion with their peers. Learning is non-linear, and should adapt to our everyday flow, not take us out of it.
Endless groups are putting out clunky learning systems that are not fluid and are disconnected from employees and learning itself. People are turning away from these partly because employees—especially younger ones—can go find their own information outside of an LMS. On top of this underutilization, such systems are also expensive to maintain and scale inefficiently. A more intuitive, friendly, and lightweight solution will allow employees to conquer learning curves far more easily.
4. Millennial-Driven Learning
There is much written about Millennials emerging and reshaping and changing the workforce. While this is true, Millennials actually have been around for a decade or longer, and are not new anymore. It doesn’t come as a surprise that they are highly impactful on learning today.
Millennials learn in their own way, whether it is on Wikipedia or social media, and they are looking for intuitive, lightweight ways to learn. We are seeing learning reflect that. In 2016 and beyond, learning content will be presented in a more agile way, in micro-bursts that give employees the chance to learn on-demand in a day-to-day manner. The emphasis will be on fluidity, finally reconnecting us to the learning itself.
Millennials typically are glued to their phones, and we will see more and more mobile accessible learning modules. This is how Millennials want to learn, and we will see more of it in 2016. For example, putting learning programs on mobile devices will become a game changer.
5. Beyond Skills-Based Learning: Diversity, Inclusion, and Disability Etiquette
Other learning trends we will see in 2016 include diversity and global learning. Diversity inside your workforce truly reflects your marketplace. It’s a key to your company’s success—if you just have one homogenous workforce, you’re going to lack ideas. Diversity can create spontaneous brainstorming and a lot of opportunity for businesses in other parts of the world. Learning is global, and we are seeing a spike in activity in Asia and Europe, from language to initiatives and viewpoints.
Implementing these trends in 2016 will allow your business to be successful, while keeping your employees engaged and satisfied.
Iain Scholnick is the founder and CEO of Braidio, a cloud-based collaborative talent development platform. He is a veteran of the Internet, wireless, and security industries with 20 years of technical, operations, and start-up experience.