If there’s one thing that’s certain about the future of learning, it’s that it will continue to play a large role in organizational success.

But the shape of learning is changing. Based on conversations with top learning analysts, leading organizations and industry experts, here’s what we believe are the most credible and crucial learning trends for organizations in 2016.

the shape of learning is changing

Trend #1:  Big Data and Learner Analytics

With respect to eLearning, big data is everything that’s gathered when a learner takes an eLearning course or training module.  This not only includes large volumes of data for organization-level analysis, but also discrete pieces of data that offer insight into how each individual learner is acquiring and digesting knowledge.  We expect big data to allow both learners and learning professionals to take a more personalized, targeted approach that is more impactful for the organization.  It will also open up the discussion around predictive analytics , allowing organizations to identify which behaviors employees need to exhibit to achieve desired business outcomes.

Trend #2: Gamification

Gamification will remain a top learning trend in 2016. Two years ago, the industry was just getting their heads around what gamification meant. In 2015,  organizations became interested in how it could be incorporated into their learning environments. And in 2016, we forecast that organizations will take more definitive action.  While gamification in learning hasn’t met analyst projections yet, we think proof that it’s not just hype will lead to even greater adoption.

Trend #3: Personalized Learning

We expect to see a stronger shift towards adaptive learning and personalized learning paths this year.  This is largely driven by the availability of comprehensive data to help personalize learning to each learner’s needs and the availability and adoption of mobile learning, which will help deliver knowledge to employees when and where it’s most appropriate.

The industry has long been aware of the fact that learning adjusted to the individual is far more effective and valuable. However, traditional methods haven’t been able to support this requirement. But technologies, like the Axonify Employee Knowledge Platform, now allow granular learning personalization based on a range of criteria, allowing learning content to be modified literally on the fly: based on how employees interact with learning content or how their needs change.

Trend #4:  Mobile Learning

We anticipate that mobile learning via a native app will more popular than learning through a standard mobile web browser. This comes as no surprise, since apps dominate everywhere else. Instead of being required to access learning from a corporate computer, mobile learning will allow employees to obtain learning content anytime and anywhere they have access to their mobile device. This provides an even bigger benefit to employees, such as retail associates and warehouse workers, who may not have access to a corporate computer or company email system, but can use an app to get the learning they need to perform at their best.

Trend #5: Performance Support

Although the term Performance Support has been used for a number of years now, the majority of organizations are yet to introduce a “learning at the point-of-need” strategy. We expect more businesses will start to move away from the traditional firehose method of delivering learning and, instead, separate training content into two groups: Information that employees need to know in their heads versus information they simply need at their fingertips to do their jobs better. This will change the way businesses deliver learning and pave the way for performance support methods to become mainstream.

Trend #6: Microlearning

We’ve seen the microlearning trend absolutely take off in the latter half of 2015 and it’s expected to continue to gain momentum throughout 2016. Organizations are looking to get a better sense for what microlearning is, whether it makes sense for them and if so, how they can to incorporate it into their business. However, we believe organizations will turn away from the narrow definition of microlearning as simply a short video or piece of learning content, and adopt a more holistic view that incorporates short learning bursts with gamification, retention techniques, personalization and ongoing measurement and analytics.

Trend #7: Video

Video is starting to emerge as a dominant approach to delivering learning. More profound than just watching a video, we expect businesses to use videos for all kinds of instructional uses:  onboarding new hires, supporting product launches, improving customer support and more. Video is being seen by many as driving a learning revolution. And it’s easy:  anyone with a mobile device can create and share a short instruction video.

What are your big areas of focus for 2016?

Share your ideas with us on our upcoming webinar with Donald Taylor and Carol Leaman, which is taking place on January 20th. You have the unique opportunity to contribute to the content of the webinar by participating in this survey on Don Taylor’s blog. We look forward to hearing what your big areas of focus for this year will be.

Laura Martin

Author: Laura Martin

Laura loves nothing more than to roll up her sleeves and dig in. She’s a process person: give her a blank slate of a business and watch as she takes it from obscure to renowned—and beyond. It’s exactly what she did when she launched Axonify’s strategic marketing efforts and put the company on the map. As VP of Marketing Laura’s a big part of why we’re so personable and charming, and her verve fuels our push to shake up the learning space with leading-edge thinking.

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