As the future of work marches forward, there is a tremendous need to re-skill and develop employees in order to survive in the dynamism of this volatile space. Around 3 billion people are working around the world with constant changes in the way we work and the way we manage people around us. The overall learning landscape has experienced a great deal of transformation during the last few years. There are new sets of virtual reality and assessment tools being integrated into the marketplace of next-generation learning management systems. Learning experience platforms are paving way for micro-learning. It feels like the renaissance has finally arrived in the corporate learning space. In this context, let us look at some quick trends in the L&D space that you should pay attention to in 2018.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are coming sooner than expected
UPS already has been using VR and AR to train its drivers. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is set to open a cutting-edge simulation facility in 2018 to train next generation healthcare workers using simulations like virtual and augmented reality programming for addressing the experience gap. Through simulations, they intend to offer almost any healthcare scenario possible and provide learners a chance to enhance their critical skills.
These technologies tend to offer solutions to big, real-world training problems. Think about safety training in a refinery; a small pipe leak can evoke huge fatalities. VR and AR have the ability to simulate emergencies like this and teach people exactly what to do when such incident arises.
The Hard Way – a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room, trains employees through the five main steps that the Colonel created 70 years ago. KFC has plans to use VR simulations to supplement their employee cook training program, called the Chicken Mastery Certification. Lenovo, Google Glass, BlackBerry and other major hardware manufacturers are now trying to get into AR. And these systems have the capacity to easily complement or even replace other kinds of training in the coming years.
Embrace a Larger Market for AI in the space of Learning
There are millions of learning assets used by L&D professionals across the world ranging from books, articles, videos, and many other artifacts of learning. However, one cannot prove what specific kind of learning experience will be best for each individual in this personalized era. For some, learning takes place better by reading and for some by listening to instructions or through conversation. Volley, has recently built a system through AI that can read text documents, detect concepts and learning paths; and then create assessments based on it. This is being used to help read product and training documentation, followed by creating tests centered on it and then automatically updating the records and the training content.
Volley’s system (started by ex-IBM and Google AI engineers) is now being used by companies like Starbucks, Continental Tire, Comcast and others. They have addressed both the issues by automatically tagging content; and creating taxonomies and recommending content to learners based on their prior positive experience through AI. They are on the voyage to integrate intelligence and machine learning concepts into their L&D offerings.
Content will continue to remain the King
Organizations will never compromise on the best class of content. Content creation will be democratized. Ability to create regular content in easy to use platforms will be one of the major areas of thrust in the learning space in 2018.
An unanticipated number of companies are now getting into the content marketing space. Udemy, Harvard Business Publishing, Udacity, Kynda, LinkedIn, Skillshare, Grovo, and others now offer thousands of expert-authored contents at a very modest price. Even McKinsey & Company are getting into this healthy space that replete with standards, platforms, and buyers. In this re-energized market of content, though buyers will have a plethora of options to choose from, however buyers may now start to feel like kids in a candy store again.
Collaboration Tools will impact learning space
When we talk about digital learning; people presume it to be app based. It is not about courses on phones; rather, it is about delivering learning to people where they are. It is not a type of learning but rather a way of learning.
The focus of developing L&D products will move towards a system which works more like a collaborative tool. For instance, employees will likely choose to upload and share videos in a new system rather than using the traditional LMS. In fact, one can consider Slack, Workplace by Facebook, and other new collaboration systems as integrative learning platforms. The new team management systems are bound to impact the learning space.
HR Learning Software Market will evolve further
The marketplace for HR technology and services is enormous and ever-changing. Companies such as GE, Qualcomm, IBM, and hundreds of others have now started to rationalize this environment and are rapidly buying new technology to help them shift into the world of continuous learning. Sierra-Cedar research shows that 45 percent of large companies and 51 percent of midsized companies are increasing their spending on HR technology.
As per a recent report by Deloitte Consulting, businesses around the world spend about $140 billion on L&D annually ($500 to $3,000 per employee depending on the industry). Of that spending, roughly $4 to $5 billion is spent on core learning platforms, while the rest is spent on tools, content, instructors, classrooms, and facilities. The report further states that the core LMS vendors are running as fast as they can. SumTotal had acquired more than a dozen companies to build its solution. Plateau was acquired by SuccessFactors and Learn.com was acquired by Taleo and then Oracle. In fact, Cornerstone OnDemand jumped into the learning experience market with a vengeance this year, and now offers a “Netflix-like” experience on top of their LMS. All these rightly relates to the pace of growth which is evident in the learning software market.
To sum up, it is crucial to note that there are always underlying forces that bring a trend to the surface and help them go viral. These above mentioned 5 trends are important for L&D professionals to map out their internal strategies as these are not isolated developments. As a new age learning and development professional, such scanning will definitely help in formulating the required changes within a larger context that are a result of the convergence of technological innovation and discoveries of learning science in the context of this VUCA world.