The Good, the Bad, and the Honest—A Candid Reflection of Our Industry

Looking ahead to 2018, it’s no surprise that VR and AI will continue to be key technology trends in our industry. But what we need to be dedicated to as a community is being nimble and demonstrating ROI through data-driven results.

Amidst the whirlwind of numerous family gatherings, holiday parties, shopping trips, massive feasts, and mountains of leftovers, it suddenly dawned on me that 2018 is five days away… what?! It’s hard to believe how quickly this year flew by.

As it’s common to do this time of year, I started to think back on the last 12 months. Certaintly, this included personal reflection, as well as considerations of the training industry collectively. I was curious to hear from my peers, comprising Training and Learning and Development experts, and hear their insights, takeaways, and predictions on what will impact the training community within the next year.

Video Is Evolving

The use of video continues to increase in our industry. Because video has evolved, it makes it so versatile and effective in the training world. This year, one popular video-related trend was micro-learning.

“We consider video the most impactful delivery mechanism when it comes to software training,” says Linda Schwaber-Cohen, senior manager of Training, Skilljar. “This year, we focused on creating micro-learning content, because it makes updating the content easier as software updates roll out, and it’s more convenient for customers to find exactly what they’re searching for.”

Another hot industry trend was combining virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with video for a unique training experience.

“This year, we focused on creating mixed reality experiences by incorporating VR with video,” notes Marco Faccini, non-executive director, Gamifcation Nation. “We felt video could aid with the learner’s understanding, and showcase both good and bad practice scenarios while immersed in the experience. For example, we would have the learner in VR working on a new process—while a video would be playing inside the environment—showing them how to complete the task.”

One Thing Is CertainNothing Is Certain

The training and development industry is always changing—it’s nearly impossible to know what new trend, technology, or practice will emerge.

“Training cannot be isolated from the intended performance environment,” says Trish Uhl, PMP, CPLP, senior project manager, Data Science Projects & People Analytics. “The learning experiences and solutions we design must be dynamic—not static. Seek and incorporate feedback, and don’t rely too heavily on a singular training asset.”

While tapping into new industry trends is exciting, there is a need for our industry to evolve toward something more dynamic in order to survive from a business perspective. “I don’t think we’re evolving fast enough to stick around for more than another few years,” predicts Sam Rogers, president, Snap Synapse. “It’s not about the newest trend or flashy developments—what really matters is creating and delivering quantifiable value. If we don’t learn to embrace and integrate the data about what we do, someone else will.”

In addition to quantifying what you’re doing now, it’s important to always be thinking one step ahead—like a carpenter who makes stairs. “Everything we do today must be revisited tomorrow,” says Jill Calvert, Web Learning designer, Paychex Inc. “Innovation drives everything we do, so our training content must keep up. It’s imperative for us to constantly be preparing for what’s next, so our content aligns with business objectives and helps drive our roadmap for the future.”

What’s Next?

Looking ahead to 2018, it’s no surprise that VR and AI will continue to be key technology trends in our industry. But what we need to be dedicated to as a community is demonstrating ROI through data-driven results. More importantly, as an industry, we must be nimble. This isn’t just a buzzword or trend—it’s an obligation we have to ourselves, and to the future of our profession.

“Next year’s biggest trend is about agile, quick solutions that make the workforce nimble,” says Zsolt Olah, author of “Engaging the WORL&D!” “Employee engagement will be top again as keeping talent is huge for innovation, setting the stage for human-centered designs to be a top trend.”

The bottom line is that today’s workforce is more agile than ever. If we’re not able to keep up, we’ll be left behind. “Faster, more agile development methods already are starting to replace old, cumbersome ways of creating content,” says Craig Sybert, Training and Development specialist, Navy Mutual Aid Association. “Society is pushing for quick learning in both content and creation, as the multi-generational workforce dynamic continues to shift and evolve.”

Matt Pierce is Learning & Video ambassador at TechSmith Corp., the go-to company for visual communication. TechSmith empowers people to create remarkable content to share knowledge and information. A graduate of Indiana University’s School of Education’s Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Pierce has more than 10 years of experience working in learning and development with a focus on visual instruction. He has directly managed the training, user assistance, video, and other teams for TechSmith.