Today, the world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Rapid change in technology, a significant surge in the number of smartphone users, and constantly evolving social media have changed the way people learn new things. Learning and development strategies of companies must change with time to address the emerging challenges. Organizations need to adopt modern tools and techniques that enable the people to learn in a most efficient manner. Adopting traditional strategies such as “one size fit all” will neither help employees nor organizations in overcoming contemporary challenges.

Here are top five learning and development trends that will dominate 2017. Develop your training strategies around these trends to get maximum return on your investment.

Mobile Learning

The number of smartphone users worldwide has crossed 2 billion in 2016. Your employees spend significant time on their smartphones. They use mobile devices to do a majority of the daily tasks including learning new concepts.

Use the idea of micro-learning to tap the audience who love mobile. Through micro-learning, you can deliver bit size content to the learners when they need it. Use Live Stream micro-videos to catch users’ attention. Rise in Mobile devices is a global phenomenon. Thus, you can use this strategy to engage more employees from developed as well as emerging economies. Google’s Primer is the best example of training through micro-learning that is being used efficiently on a large scale.

Social Learning

Social learning is not new. It has been there for quite some time. However, the changes in the structure of workforce have necessitated the need for social learning as an integral part of learning and development strategies.

Two factors are driving the need to adopt the social learning in organizations. Firstly, today increasing number of companies are using distributed workforce. In the absence of physical proximity between the employees, internal social media networks for learning and development are playing a critical roles in the seamless exchange of ideas.

Secondly, the proportion of millennial in the workforce is increasing continuously. The millennial have grown up with social media and find the email a highly unproductive medium to communicate. Thus, they use social media frequently to share files, videos and communicate efficiently.

Facebook has recently launched “Workplace” that allows organizations of any size to adopt social media for learning and developmental purposes.

Adaptive Learning

In adaptive learning, the instructions are delivered based on individuals’ preferences and inputs. The training methods can be optimized by teaching only those concepts which are not known to a user. Also, the users can learn at their own pace.

No two learners are same and therefore, adaptive learning accelerates the learning of individuals while lowering the cost of content delivery. Vendors are using adaptive learning to optimize the resources while delivering the maximum value to their clients.

The adaptive learning is ideal for most of your employees. Low and average performers can use it to improve their performances in the future, while high performers will use it to quickly sharpen their skills.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is about to change the training and development landscape across organizations. With VR, the learners can have an immersive experience. The concepts of augmented reality can be used to create a real environment for teaching complex concepts. For example, a real life case study based on leadership can be created in augmented reality and learners can play the roles of various characters in these cases to learn leadership lessons.  To conduct such kind of lessons, the pupils need not be physically present. They can be located anywhere across the globe. They simply need to have a fast internet connection, a computer or mobile, and a 3D headset suitable for VR.

You may not be able to use the Virtual Reality in your learning and development strategies immediately. However, keep it in your consideration. This technique can emerge as the most powerful learning methods in near future.

Measuring Effectiveness

In training and development, nothing is more important than measuring the outcome and taking the corrective measures to improve the effectiveness of the training process. Fortunately, the technology is proving to be very useful in measuring the effectiveness of training methods accurately. Companies are using innovative techniques and going an extra mile to gauge the success of their training and development programs. And, it is not just left to the HR. CEOs are increasingly showing their interest in improving the overall training and development strategies.

Conclusion

Trends don’t pop-up out of nowhere. It is the continuous innovation that brings about new methods that work better than the others. Thus, effective methods go viral and become trends. As an astute professional, you need to keep a close eye on every development in the training and development space and other areas. Connect the dots and use newer techniques even from outside the learning and development domain to make your strategies unique and innovative. Use these five trends as a starting point to develop a learning & development plan that is modern and best suited for your organization.

Adela Belin is a private educator and tok writer. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers. Feel free to contact her on G+.