Last week, we looked at seven predictions for how technology will affect training and development in 2017. This week, we’ll look more broadly at a handful of corporate training trends—still mostly technology driven—that organizations can no longer afford to ignore.

Business-centric learning

The idea of business-centric learning came onto many people’s radar last year, after the Brandon Hall Group did a survey showing that about 40% of businesses were developing their learning strategy in alignment with business needs, while the other 60% were focusing on the learners and the content. David Grebow of the Brandon Hall Group offers these characterizations of the three types of learning:

  • Just-in-case learning is content-centric. This is the one-size-fits-all model that made up the training landscape for many years, particularly with the widespread implementation of e-learning. As Grebow notes: “We took the instructor completely out of the picture, and ended up with nothing but content.”
  • Just-in-time learning is learner-centric. Here the learners’ needs are the focus of course development, and learners can access the information when, where, and how they need it.
  • Just-for-me learning is business-centric. Grebow writes: “There is no point in focusing on just-in-case learning when the business case for the learning has not been made. No need to get that content out there just in time if the learner has no time to waste finding an answer to a question with no relationship to the business needs. What makes the most sense strategically, as well as operationally, is to provide the exact information that is just for me, when and where I need it, as long as it supports the business needs of the company.”

Business-centric learning isn’t in opposition to a learner-centric mode. Instead, it involves aligning the learners’ needs with the business needs. There are two major factors necessary for effective business-centric learning. First, the business goals of the training must be clearly defined. Second, the relationship between the business goals and the training must be measureable. New technologies that enable advanced data collection and analytics can provide support for companies making the switch to business-centric learning.

Video-based learning

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online training have ushered in the era of video. Research has shown that more than 80% of learning takes place visually and that a combination of video and audio demonstrations are effective ways to learn tasks. Today, all it takes is a computer to produce a training video. As a result, video-based learning is being used more and more, not just in online courses but in traditional and blended courses as well.

Multiple learning formats

In addition to more video, we are seeing much more variety and flexibility in the use of learning formats. In the past, training was usually delivered either one way or another—either instructor-led training or elearning, in a seminar or as a tutorial. But thanks to both the BYOD (bring your own device) movement, in which employees use their personal smartphones and tablets for business purposes, and new multimedia technologies (from screencasting software to simulations), training formats can be tailored both to the content and to the needs of the learners. Blended courses, responsive design (i.e., content that works on any device or operating system), and mobile learning are three of the ways this trend is currently manifesting.

More social media

The use of social media in training has been somewhat controversial, as organizations are understandably concerned about the privacy of their proprietary information. However, not all social media tools necessarily need to be public, and companies have much to gain by using communication and collaboration tools beyond the discussion forum.

In a recent article on the future of L&D, David Wentworth and Mollie Lombardi of the Brandon Hall Group wrote that “companies still lack the knowledge and insight around how to use [social] tools for learning and development.” In a study, they found that while almost 60% of companies were using social for learning, fewer than one-quarter thought it was effective. The authors say that one reason is the limited scope of the tools the firms are using, which aren’t the ones that are best for learning. “Companies are using document sharing, discussion forums, and blogs, but they aren’t generally using video or micro-blogs—which our research shows are more effective—to improve their learning functions.”

Competency-based training

Finally, the competency-based education model is making huge waves at all levels of education, and companies are also realizing that what is really important is not that employees sit through training, but that they can do something useful at the end of it. Competency-based training requires reorganizing training programs around demonstrable skills, which requires clearly articulating the desired learning outcomes and developing assessments that validly measure those outcomes. Organizations that adopt a competency-based approach will find themselves much better able to cope with the skills gaps currently affecting many industries.

Mirroring what is happening in higher education, the training landscape is in a bit of an upheaval, which is being fueled by new technology-enabled learning tools and by new ideas about the best ways to educate today’s workforce. These five trends have largely emerged over the past few years. Smart innovative companies are already embracing them, and organizations that choose to ignore these trends will soon find themselves left behind.

Copyright 2017 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance.


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