2019 Predictions for Learning and Development Best Practices

2019 Predictions: Learning & Development Best Practices

As 2018 draws to an expeditious close – seriously, where exactly did the last 11 months go? – all signs point to yet another strong year for eLearning in 2019.

Because where once the future of eLearning seemed to rest squarely on the shoulders of burgeoning virtual reality, new-new technologies such as artificial intelligence and timeless favorites such as soft skills now seem poised to transform the eLearning and development landscape in the not-so-distant future. Additionally, we may see even more posturing for the top spot in the LMS market.

But how much growth is expected exactly? According to a report, the global eLearning market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 7.2 percent over the next decade to reach approximately $325 billion by 2025.

A 2018 eLearning Refresher

When we published our list of ‘Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2018’ in January this year, we predicted the following:

  • Gamification
  • Microlearning
  • Video-based learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Responsive eLearning design
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Social learning
  • xAPI
  • Open platforms
  • Content curation

And this year, we may even see some of 2018’s top trends and predictions make a resurgence for continued trending and growth.

7 eLearning Trends and Predictions for 2019

So here, in no particular order, are what we think are seven eLearning trends to watch for in 2019.

1. Soft Skills Development

Easy to underestimate but hard to overvalue, soft skills often spell the difference between a good workforce and a great one. As such, more emphasis will be placed on the development of soft skills for employees in order to facilitate communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence, and employee retention.

2. Personalization

As we’ve discussed, one of the most distinct advantages of eLearning is that it comes with a relatively captive audience, present and prepared to learn. But how do you make your content compelling and engaging? It’s the difference between telling and showing.

You can tell someone that a particular chemical at work is dangerous and to handle it with care. Or you could show them – through a real-life story of someone you know mishandling that same chemical. Your content now has names, faces and – more importantly – the emotional investment of the listeners. Why? Because facts selectively come and go through our brains; stories stick with us.

Further, personalization can take engagement one step further by customizing the eLearning to the exact requirements of the learner, at the exact time and place of need for maximum benefits and impact.

3. LMS vs. LXP

Learning Management Systems and Training Management Systems and Talent Management Systems, oh my! Learning technology, just like any other technology, has a finite shelf life in order to evolve to meet the needs of its users.

In fact, this article discusses how the traditional LMS may soon be shelved in favor of learning experience platforms or LXPs.

“These new ‘learning experience platforms’ … don’t have the business rules and traditional compliance processing of the LMS, they have paths, recommendation engines, smart search and lots of social tools to help make them easy to use, fun to experience, and they’re designed to author content quickly.”

Most simply put: LXPs put the learner in the driver’s seat of their learning experience, giving them greater control over what they want to learn, how they want to learn and when.

4. Employee Retention

According to a report, over half of all existing employees are looking for new job opportunities. And as we’ve mentioned before, an engaged employee is a happy employee and a happy employee is a retained employee. So allow us to reiterate the statistics that speak to the importance of robust and thoughtful eLearning programs:

Did You Know? 42 percent of employees reported receiving too little communication related to important aspects of engagement, such as career development.

Did You Know? Nearly 75 percent of employees who are high retention risks seek to leave because ‘they’ve bumped up against their career ceiling prematurely in their current organization.’

Did You Know? 68 percent of employees prefer to learn at work, 58 percent prefer to work at their own pace, and that 49 percent prefer to learn at the point of need.

Did You Know? 87 percent of millennials consider ‘professional or career growth and development opportunities’ important when choosing a job.

5. Artificial Intelligence

AI is everywhere – though that’s not to suggest that the robots are coming – at least not yet. But even jobs and industries that are less vulnerable to technological advancements may need to shift focus to different, unautomated skills within only a few years as professional ecosystems evolve – and quickly.

Further, new roles will likely also be needed to bridge the gap between technologies that were once distinct and separate, such as information and operations technology, as they continue to converge.

But for those still convinced that a dystopian West World is nigh, take heart: More than 2.1 million jobs will be created as part of a changing workforce as skills we consider to be intrinsically human – sociability, empathy, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability and a willingness to learn – will hold even more value. Soft skills, anyone?

But with AI, recommendations and relevant learning materials can be suggested and provided predictively as AI adapts and responds to a learner’s behavior and their specific requirements. Technology and personalization? Two top trends for 2019 make for one perfect pair.

6. 3D Modeling & Animation

3D animation, often referred to as computer-generated imagery or CGI, is now being used for content delivery to transform numerous fields, including filmmaking, computer games, architecture and product design, with the underlying fundamentals of high-quality 3D production originating in traditional design and animation methodologies.

Interestingly, the addition of 3D animation content delivery comes as Vector Solutions launched its first Virtual Reality training course for firefighters and rolled out its first Augmented Reality prototype.

7. AR & VR

Both augmented and virtual realities help provide an environment in which learners can experiment through trial-and-error in simulated work environment for risk-free learning.

Further, both realities offer interactive multimedia elements which engage learners and eliminate distractions.

In fact, according to a report released by CCS Insight, extended reality hardware is poised to become a $4 billion market by this year as they are leveraged in online learning to create simulated working environments, supported gamification, immersive learning, interactive multimedia elements, and even motion tracking.

Though crystal-ball technology is still not quite yet trending for 2019, we feel confident predicting that the eLearning industry will continue to have limitless potential for growth, and these top-5 trends definitely make our ‘Must Watch’ list for the year to come.