04 February 2019

Top 10 2019 Training Trends

Digital Transformation
training trends


Sylvia Johnson

The start of the year is a great time for all of us in HR and Learning to take stock, look back on the successes and challenges of the past year and think ahead to the year ahead. Well we are now firmly in 2019, January is behind us and we have 11 months to go until Christmas! So what do the 2019 training trends look like and are we in good company?

Let’s just ask a few questions to start with:

  • What training had the biggest impact on employee performance last year?
  • What method of training brought the highest engagement levels?
  • What training gave your employees the confidence to grow as professionals?
  • What would we not do again?
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

Employees are our best assets. Upskilling employees is key and make sure that you, the training team, lead by example, as it’s your feedback and your participation in training that will enable you to make the right decisions when it comes to choosing which training projects and partners best align to your business needs.

Looking back on 2018 training trends

At the start of 2018, we shared some of our training trends predictions.

We predicted that microlearning was going to make a big splash in 2018 and we were right. Bite-sized learning continues to dominate corporate learning theory and is proven to increase learner retention.

Mobile learning grew in importance as learners demanded solutions that harness the portability of devices and allow them to learn anytime, anywhere. This goes hand in hand with the rise of digital learning as part of a multimodal training solution.

As L&D departments roll out more digital learning programs that allow them to reach more learners, gamification plays a key role and has been identified as the must-have in learner engagement theory.

Further reading

We also emphasized the need for personalized and adaptive learning, programs that allowed learners to adapt their learning paths to their needs and this was also proven to be true as one-size fits all programs were less successful in 2018.

We predicted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would continue to grow as machine learning allowed for smarter learning. Even though it has not become as mainstream as we thought, it’s still firmly on the up.

Here are top ten 2019 training trends that will be on every HR and Learning professionals list:

1.  Embracing the Modern Learner

Understanding your learners’ profile, their strengths, weakness, likes, and dislikes is critical to designing training solutions that will engage our tech-savvy, eager learners.

Modern Learners relish the ability to connect and share information with colleagues. They expect accessible, interactive, multi-modal learning experiences anytime, anywhere and on any device. They demand real-time feedback, that their learning experiences be meaningful while fun, and most importantly these time-poor learners want immediate results that improve their productivity.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

They have two key questions which must be answered affirmatively.

If I learn this, will I be able to perform my tasks better and more efficiently? Does this align with my end goal which is a happy, more productive and stress-free future?

Understanding what drives the Modern Learner is the first step to deploying effective training solutions in 2019.

2.  Focusing on “sticky learning” that changes behavior

Learning isn’t effective unless it sticks. Learning isn’t effective unless it changes behavior. For learning to change behavior, we need to dig deep into the science behind training the brain.

Learning psychology models show that to make neural connections stronger there needs to be repetition and review built into training programs.

Learners need multiple opportunities to take in new information, they need multi-modal training programs where they can self-assess their learning progress. They need to have spaced learning opportunities where they can review key concepts. Without this training will not achieve its objectives.

3.  Ensuring C-Suite buy-in through collaboration between HR and Leadership

Getting leadership to support your training strategy is essential if you want your employees to commit to their training in 2019. A closer collaboration between HR and managers this year will encourage employees to prioritize their training. It helps reinforce the message that training is valued at a managerial level, which promotes higher levels of learner investment.

Leadership must champion learning by making is part of their team’s KPIs and lead by example.

Training departments should create an environment that thrives on innovating, an organization which prioritizes knowledge acquisition and values the application of this knowledge in order to achieve companywide goals.

It’s the C-suite’s job to emphasize the importance of training and personal development. Make sure this is high on their agenda in 2019.

Further reading

4.  Leading by example and prioritizing learning cultures

Learning cultures open the doors to a happier, more engaged workforce who will actively seek to generate new learning experiences and who have a need to share that learning with colleagues.

There is no one-size fits all learning culture, and L&D should aim to put employee development and satisfaction at the heart of the learning experience.

The goal for L&D in 2019 is to create a corporate environment that supports continuous learning.

Achieving this means that employees are focused on acquiring new knowledge and skills that will maximize their potential and increase their productivity. It also means that employees will be happier, will perform better, will be more receptive to change and ultimately will help improve the bottom line.

Build learning into your employees every day this year by giving them opportunities and time to learn.

5.  Making learning accessible with mobile learning

Learning should be ubiquitous for it to stand a chance of engaging today’s learner.  All modern training programs must offer flexible solutions that facilitate the accessibility of learning.

The popularity and accessibility of mobile learning is growing exponentially as a democratic solution for language learning and skills programs.

Mobile learning means designing training programs that allow employees to increase their knowledge on an ongoing basis over time without feeling overwhelmed. It means designing training programs that enable them to squeeze their learning into tiny gaps in their day. It means on-the-go learning that can be accessed while waiting for a meeting to start, or sitting around in the departure lounge having a coffee.

Ensure that mobile learning is an essential part of your 2019 training strategy or lose out to disengaged employees.

6.  Microlearning

Microlearning is fast, affordable and can be deployed quickly. From an L&D point of view, organizations see immediate impact and benefits of the training program. From a training point of view, it’s optimal learning as it is in line with the way the learner’s brain naturally takes in information.

It focuses the learner’s mind, which means the brain is most open to receiving an answer. It’s short repetitive learning that increases long-term retention.

How can my organization benefit from Microlearning in 2019?

  • Better engagement rates

The learner can achieve objectives in a short spurt of learning so perfect for time-poor learners with decreasing attention spans.

  • Better retention of content

Learners understand what they need to do to be able to reach that objective, provides instant feedback to keep learning on track.

  • Immediate impact for a better transfer to the workplace – More focused learning that the learner can relate to and apply to their lives
  • Relevant, just-in-time learning tailored to individual needs

7.  Harnessing AI

Tailoring learning content to a learner’s situation allows a meaningful learning experience to take place.

Personalized learning has been given a major boost by technologies such as learner management systems. These maintain each learner’s development profile in a single database. This data can be used to personalize every part of the learning experience. The system acts like a professional development coach, monitoring progress and suggesting further resources based on objectives and achievements.

Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning
Demystifying the Modern Learner
How technology and new learning preferences are shaping modern-day learning

In simple terms, learners can now adapt their educational path depending on their specific goals, simply by having access to a Learner Management System. Expertise, literally at the push of a button.

8.  Incorporating elements of Gamification into your training solution

Gamification is more than just a buzzword. HR and L&D professionals should not underestimate the benefits of gamification in corporate training.

Infusing gameplay and leveraging competitiveness will not only make your corporate training more dynamic in 2019 it can also significantly increase learner engagement too.

One of the key benefits of gamification is that it makes learning informative and exciting, mainly thanks to its interactivity.

Role-play and competitive elements add an immersive angle, which, if set up well, can quite simply make learning fun. Another, rather surprising, benefit of gamification in learning is the natural high it can give us, and the impact that ‘high’ has on the retention of knowledge.

When our brain wants to reward us, it releases dopamine into our bodies, so when we win a game or achieve something important to us, we feel good.

9.  Video-based learning

Video-based learning is another trend that looks set to continue in 2019. There are multiple studies supporting the theory that learners are likely to remember significantly more from video content than purely textual content

Video learning is a fundamental tool for an enriched eLearning experience.

The multi-sensory nature of video appeals to learners of diverse abilities. All video content should use a blend of learning styles to meet the needs of all sorts of learners.

Your training content should aim for short 2 to 3-minute videos with an enthusiastic, expert presenter who can maximize engagement and awake passion for their subject combined with simple text.

We think that narratives and storytelling based on authentic workplace scenarios are going to be a huge this year for soft skills and 2019 training trends.

10.   Soft Skills: confidence boosting training

Envisioning a happy, more productive and stress-free future? Want to accelerate the drive to the finish line for your time-poor learners? Then soft skills training is a must for your organization in 2019.

Your training solution must create experiences that help learners practice their new skills in the context of the job. It’s about allowing behaviors to become ingrained and designing the learning experience for retention. Most importantly, it’s about giving the learner the confidence to apply their new knowledge and skills. Allow employees to learn from their mistakes and encourage them to embrace change.

Further reading

Encourage your learners to self-assess current skills and map out where they would like to be after the training and expect to see a growth in demand for courses that help with stress reduction, mindfulness. A happy employee is a productive employee. Look for the joy factor in your training solutions!

By following these key 2019 training trends, your organization is more likely to reap the benefits of empowered autonomous learners who invest in their training programs and demonstrate tangible progress. Effective learners are effective employees who will help their company achieve strategic goals for 2019.

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