2019 Predictions: A New Era in Learning and Development

In 2018, learning has gone through what I prefer to call a Revolution (with a capital R). While we in learning think of what is happening to us as disruptive, it has been more of a revolution of Democratized Learning for our clients. Command and control is moving over to the learner. The advent of technology in learning, along with the ability to easily create new types of content and easily curate content has brought us to a new era. Now we see a blending of content: internal, external, formal, and informal to bring in a plethora of resources.

So, what’s next? How do we manage all of this power at the same time as we give power to the learner?

2019 Themes

If I had to narrow it to one theme, I would suggest Re-skill/Upskill. We are moving fast. Technology is changing so quickly that it is hard to keep up. Artificial Intelligence is taking over mundane tasks everywhere. We all need to re-skill and upskill. This not only applies to jobs in technology, but also in manufacturing, retail, office, everywhere. The digital transformation is at every level.

For Learning and Development, that means we have to get people up and running in skills that did not even exist two years ago. It means that we need to see the future of work and prepare people for those roles. It also means that the so called “soft skills” are more important than ever.  

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After Re-skill/Upskill, I would suggest the following key themes: 

·       Personalization
·       Social Learning
·       Blended Learning
·       Learning in the flow of work

Personalization

Content personalization provides the exact content an individual needs, often using AI and Machine Learning. Learners today want to be able to easily answer a moment of need. Time is short and they want the right content to the right person at the right time.

There are numerous tools that help to create this in your ecosystem. And, by the way, that ecosystem is a key part of driving to deliver digital learning. As described in an earlier blog, the learning ecosystem will bring in content from multiple sources and personalize it to the role or person.

Social Learning

We have long acknowledged that people learn through relationships. Coaching, mentoring, and learning from experts and leaders is one of the best ways to learn. Now, we have tools that enable social networks, comments, team and communities of practice.

Adding in content from experts drives engagement and communication. Be sure to design in content from leaders, experts and other thought leaders and to allow for comments, likes, and other aspects they use in their personal lives.

Blended Learning

The power of curation has grown significantly over the past year. Curation lets you blend, filter and select content from many areas. Use the mix to wrap around a face-to-face or virtual class to improve retention and allow for practice. Blend in micro, macro with external trusted sources. Add labs and exercises and, where applicable, AR and VR to provide practice.

Blending modalities and sources improves effectiveness. There are new tools to design and build new digital content that make this easier. Resolve to learn new tools in 2019; it will make you more effective as well.

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Learning in the Flow of Work

While some see this as nothing new, technology has changed how we execute learning in the flow of work. Think about someone who spends most of their day in one application. Why leave that app to learn? Click on a bot or a part of your ecosystem to find an answer or learn something new for the day, right from that same app.

Technology exists to not go to a portal or the LMS to find what they need. And, if it is tied to your ecosystem, it is all tracked.  

The Importance of Soft Skills

Call them professional skills, soft skills, interpersonal skills; they are back for 2019. Several surveys have shown that enterprises are spending more on building employee skills in the following areas: 

·       Change Management
·       Conflict Management
·       Customer Service
·       Communications

And more. With the advent of more automation, people need to focus on what we can do better than technology. Automation is taking over the mundane tasks, leaving us to be more creative and use our empathy and service skills.  

For us in learning, the easy way to address soft skills is to subscribe to one or more of the abundant third-party programs. But I believe we need to blend and adapt those generic pieces to the role and the company. Get to know your options and curate a blend of resources that meet the needs of your learners.  

Upskilling Learning and Development

This is the year for Learning and Development to upskill ourselves. This is no small task. We have new skills to learn, like creating in video, audio, microlearning, and more. We have new tools to learn, and we need to be aware of all the great new technologies available. Focus yourself on one area at a time. To me, the top areas to research include: new development tools, ecosystems, and curation.  

Learning and Development has the opportunity to lead the Revolution, but only if we take the time to upskill and re-skill first. Where would you like to focus? Please add your comments and we will strive to help!