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5 major trends in the learning industry – a summary of ATD2017

Which trends do we see in the landscape of learning and development today? Things are not only rapidly changing in the consumer business.  But also our own workforce has specific needs and expectations towards learning and development agents. The annual ATD International Conference 2017 in Atlanta gives us a pretty good idea of what’s hot and what’s not.  I am happy to share with you 5 trends, based on what I’ve seen and heard during workshops, keynotes and discussions with learning professionals.

1 – Mobile first

Mobile is not just a trend. It has become a necessity to reach out towards learners. 
​Some facts:There are more mobile devices in the world than humans.According to the Daily Mail we check our mobile phones in average 110 times a day.PWC states that by 2020 about 50% of our global workforce will be millenials, aged younger than 40. They grew up with mobile devices! 

Mobile has not only allowed us to connect with the many, it is also an opportunity for learners to pull learning content anytime, anywhereAnd yet, it remains an underused medium to reach out to learners. 

​The good news is that we see improvement: businesses are more and more valuing and investing in mobile technologies connected to learning. 

2 – Micro learning

People hardly have time to be in a training room nowadays. Not only overloaded agenda’s, but also our expectations to be fed with learning content ‘à la carte’, creates the need to deliver short chunks of learning bites.  Microlearning is the answer to this need.
Beware: micorlearning is NOT cutting large content into smaller chunks. Microlearning is short bursts of focussed right sized content to help people achieve a specific objective. Microlearning elements can contain digital content, but also paper based handouts! It’s a myth that microlearning is synonym to electronic content.
You can find more insights about microlearning on a previous blog on my site. ATD published an interesting paper based upon research they did. The website of Learning rebels is also a great source of inspiration. ​

3 – ​ Embrace agility

We need to respond to the fast changing context. We can therefore no longer afford to waste too much time developing learning content. Agile is a time boxed iterative development process that focuses on breaking down larger requests into smaller deliverables. An agile design is no longer an ICT-only approach. It is becoming/has become an HR matter also. I followed 2 sessions about agility at ICE; one of Torrance learning (which was more conceptual) and another great hands-on session from Starbucks. An interview and blog post about the Starbucks approach will we posted soon.

4 – ​Content curation

Mobile…faster…agility…changing environment… Learning content is like a spinning wheel: it comes from everywhere! Where to start? What to retain? What is junk? HOW TO SURVIVE in the content jungle?
Speaker David Kelly states that curation is becoming more and more common in the learning industry. “Unfortunately, most learning professionals do not understand what it is, let alone how to leverage it in their organizations. And yet, in an age of exponentially increasing information, the need for quality curation has never been greater” dixit Kelly.
Curation is so much more than just leaving a trace. Qualitative curation exists of 4 parts: Listen, analyse,share and purpose. Check out Kelly’s website for the session slides as well as his curation of ATD2017. PS mister Kelly, thanks for mentioning my blog site as part of the ATD curation page :)

5 -​Gamification

Games and playful situations create powerful learning. It engages and motivates learners. So why not embedding them to your learning design? I am so happy to see that businesses are starting to value the power and advantages of playfulness in learning design. Games can be old fashion tabletop (cards, cardboards, …), experiential, or digital games. Check out the website of Karl Kapp for more insights. He is not only a great speaker, he is one of the gamification gurus within L&D. Please also check out my website for LEGO SERIOUS PLAY. (Dutch only)


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