7 of Today's Top Learning Trends: What Your Learners Need to Succeed
The ways in which professionals learn has changed drastically over the years. Gone are the days where you needed to be chained to a desk, attending night classes, or carving time out of your work schedule to advance your career. Advancements in digital learning programs and increased accessibility to technology have transformed the learning experience.
Today, there are a number of learning trends that make for a more impactful, more successful learning experience. Let’s look at some of these progressions, and you can discover a few creative ways to integrate them into your own learning environment.
1. Online and Blended Learning Opportunities
Forget week-long study sessions. Today, professionals have more opportunities to learn online than ever before, and online learning provides a whole new host of opportunities that are available to users. And, as an NMC Horizon Report points out about online learning, “If institutions do not already have robust strategies for integrating these now pervasive approaches, then they simply will not survive.”
Totally online or blended online and in-person learning environments offer a convenient and more efficient learning process. This learning trend allows employees to learn when they have time and at their preferred pace, using tablets or mobile devices. Now carrying around heavy books or packets of studying materials is a thing of the past. All the information they need is at their fingertips, for increased convenience and accessibility.
2. Personalized Learning
When it comes to learning, one size doesn't fit all. With old studying models like week-long sessions or generic materials, it was nearly impossible to ensure each learner had a personalized experience that fit their specific needs. And, in large group learning environments, it was nearly impossible to gauge individual progress.
In contrast, the learning trend of a personalized experience is sure to have numerous benefits for learners. With online learning models, the user can take assessments to gauge where their strengths and weaknesses exist. Once these areas are identified, materials, activities, and tests can be assigned based on each users’ specific needs. With this process, learners are using their time wisely, instead of going over information that they may already know.
3. Social Learning
You may worry that a move to e-learning programs will require you to sacrifice the social aspect of classroom learning. In reality, when you adopt e-learning solutions, it’s easy to facilitate social engagement. In a world that’s fully immersed in social media, people (especially millennials) are becoming more and more dependent on digital communication.
From chat rooms to discussion boards to comment capabilities, users can interact with other learners to share ideas and collaborate on materials. For example, if your learning management solution includes an instructional video with a message board below it, users can comment with questions or discussion points. Other learners or even the instructor can answer these questions, benefiting both the user who asked the question and other users who might be interested in the answer. Instead of waiting until the next training session for questions to be answered, learners can benefit from quicker response times.
4. Real-Time Feedback
One learning trend that’s sure to have a major impact on learner success is real-time feedback. In the past, when learners were participating in a study session or preparing for re-certification exams, there was a delay in feedback. Maybe they filled out a test and didn’t receive their graded exam back until the next week. This made it difficult to immediately identify areas that needed improvement.
Now, users benefit from instant feedback thanks to online learning solutions. If they’re taking a quiz, they instantly see what answers they got right or wrong. Learners receive this feedback when the test information is still fresh in their minds, and they have instant insight into where they need improvements and what areas they’re excelling in.
5. User Experience
In the past, organizations relied on stock education materials distributed to all users. There’s not a lot of variety or consideration for user experience when each study session is uniform. Now, organizations are taking a closer look at the experience their employees have while learning, and they’re adopting creative approaches to making that experience more user-friendly.
One of the biggest developments in improved user experience over the last decade has been the increase in omnichannel delivery. Instead of being stuck at a laptop working on training, users can work on the go, via their smartphones or tablets. This progression in the user experience is leaps and bounds ahead of the training booklets of the past. And, mobile-centric omnichannel delivery offers insights at your fingertips, like the next study task, user strengths and weaknesses, and progress tracking. The convenience and valuable content associated with omnichannel delivery has transformed the user experience.
Another creative approach to improved user experience is the use of augmented and virtual reality. Augmented reality and virtual reality programs provide an futuristic, immersive, learning experience and a more impactful way of role playing real-world situations. And, as prices for virtual reality headsets and smart glasses are dropping, this new type of learning is easily accessible for large companies. For example, companies like Walmart, PepsiCo, and the NFL all use virtual reality methods to train new employees for their roles at the company.
These high-tech approaches to improving the user experience are easily replicated; one virtual reality program can be used for many employees, all with different outcomes. It’s also a more engaging process for the learner. And while they may be predominantly used by large companies right now, small to midsize business are sure to adopt this trend in the future.
6. Artificial Intelligence
Do Siri and Alexa have a place in your learning environment? You might be surprised to learn that the answer is yes. While artificial intelligence is still in the early stages of development, intelligent assistants and chatbots do have the potential to help users navigate lessons or answer questions they may have about the material.
When you log into Twitter or Facebook, much of the information you see displayed is curated based on your specific interests and activity on the platform. You see the material that is relevant to your interests. It’s easy to see how these algorithms could be applied to e-learning in the future.
One challenge that commonly comes with studying or professional training is retaining the learner’s attention. Gamification is one way to engage users and keep their interest. Learning often feels more like an activity than a chore. And, as technology progresses, these gamified learning environments are sure to become more sophisticated and impactful.
So, what does gamification look like in real-world learning environments? Users can complete lessons or take quizzes to achieve badges or earn points. This incentivizes users to keep going, cover more material, and ultimately sharpen their skills and handling of the material. And, when all the learning materials are on a user’s mobile device, it’s easier to play these educational games when they have a spare moment.
These learning trends have transformed the way users consume information today. To ensure you’re keeping up with advancements in learning, it’s important that you have a comprehensive learner success platform. Consider your options carefully, and choose a learning solution that can keep up with today’s learning trends. And, when you adopt them in your own organization, you’re sure to get a high return on your investment.
In the next 5 years, Millennials and Gen Z will comprise 75% of the workforce. Is your content designed for these young professional learners in mind? Watch our on-demand webinar, 5 Tips to Engage Gen Z and Millennial eLearners in 2020 and Beyond, to learn how to upgrade your learning strategy to meaningfully engage Millennial and Gen Z learners.