Six L&D trends for 2017 and beyond

Rochelle Roberts asks what the future holds in learning and development.

When looking to the future and what it might mean for Learning and Development (L&D), it’s important to look at current learning trends. Here are my top six, which I believe will inform the immediate future of L&D.

  • 1. Learning for the future. The need to be flexible and embrace change through continuous professional development (CPD). There will be a continuing need for professionals to be curious and agile and for HR and L&D professionals to promote this in organisations and lead culture change. To help individuals learn how to learn, the industry needs to nurture and reward agile behaviours.
  • 2. Learning through social media. Sharing real-time information with employees and enabling quick information sharing, e.g. using newer tools such as Facebook Live. This is a move away from the traditional L&D set-up. Again, the challenge for HR and L&D professionals is to lead cultural change. It’s important to model and implement processes and support facilitation as roles for the rest of the organisation.
  • 3. Productive failure. Putting focus into the deep learning that comes from making mistakes. ‘Failure’ is actually success - if we learn from it. HR teams need to help build a culture that allows for failure and the learning that happens as a result.
  • 4. Formative analytics. Gaining insights into how we measure learning, enabling automated feedback in real time. This sets the scene for a more personal, adaptive learning experience. L&D professionals should seek to understand behaviours and how they can measure the support learners receive. This is not just a job for virtual learning environments; measurement can also be made of face-to-face and content learning. Measurement can inform how we design our learning, and set and measure learning goals.
  • 5. Learning from the crowd. Acknowledging that the HR team don’t always have the answers and encouraging colleagues to learn from each other. Useful sharing spaces might include mentoring programmes or informal environments for colleagues to share their expertise.
  • 6. Design thinking. Working with learning design teams to develop the right solutions.

It’s important to remember that many of the learning platforms we use already give us the capability to make these changes.