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Digital Learning: Top Trends for 2018

By Digital Learning: Top Trends for 2018

I had the opportunity to attend the Learning Technologies event in London last week. The sheer size of the tradeshow and the variety and size of exhibitors show just how quickly digital learning in the enterprise is growing.

Constructive disruption was the theme of the event. And it certainly feels like a lot is changing, but amongst all this disruption and chaos there are some emerging themes that people are beginning to coalesce around. Here are a few I noticed at the event:

1. Impact and Analytics
The desire for L&D to demonstrate value to the c-suite, combined with ever present budgetary pressures, means L&D leaders are demanding better tools to measure the impact and ROI of learning investment. Learning leaders recognize measuring how happy learners are with their experience isn’t enough. They have to truly measure impact, by identifying the KPIs that can pinpoint areas of improvement, help justify investment, and ensure that L&D is demonstrably adding value. The question is what technologies will emerge in 2018 to support this trend?

2. Collaborative Learning
Organizations are beginning to recognize that digital learning needs to be as collaborative as in person learning. Only learning in isolation online is an ineffective use of the technology available. Although very few organizations have cracked the code for doing collaborative learning well in the digital context––it is gaining traction and advocates (Cornerstone among them) and should become a more dominant approach in 2018.

3. Microlearning
With the demands of the modern workplace, the time available for learning is constantly shrinking. Microlearning provides an opportunity to create learning experiences in digestible chunks. Technologies and methodologies are adapting to accommodate shorter learning experiences, but like lots of the emerging trends, there’s little evidence so far that it results in better learning experiences.

4) Mobile First
It seems like mobile learning has been around for a while. But it’s position as a trend for 2018 shows that previous approaches have not succeeded. The shift is now toward mobile first design, where learning solutions are built from the ground up for mobile, not where mobile learning is tacked on as an afterthought or as an isolated learning category. And the experience from mobile to desktop, tablet and laptop, has to be seamless. Learners are used to that in their personal lives, they are demanding it in their learning experiences too.

5) Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are, apparently, the next big thing in corporate learning and a big theme at this event. According to it’s advocates, VR provides the ultimate engaged learning experience and companies are just starting to incorporate it into their portfolio. This trend is still in its infancy and it’s yet to be seen if it can actually lead to more effective learning experiences, but it seems a lot of people are going to experiment with it in 2018.

It’s going to be interesting to revisit this list at the end of 2018 and see what really emerged as a powerful technology for learning, and ultimately if all these different approaches and all this disruption can be measured and proven to result in better learning outcomes. I’ll keep you posted!

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