5 Learning Trends to Watch in 2017

In many ways, 2016 has continued to break with global norms in technology, industry, business and politics. The new ways in which people consume media have been disrupting established flows of information around the world and impacting virtually everything we do in business. What are the implications for your organisation’s learning and development initiatives? Udemy, an online e-learning course provider, shares their perspective in a report on the trends and predictions they have seen for 2016-2017. The 5 Key Trends:

1. People Around the World Increasingly Learn Online

Online sources now are critical to how people around the world take in information. 70% of modern learners rely on search engines like Google to find in formation and 50-60% now access online courses in one form or another. It’s not surprising then, that today’s workforce is now much more comfortable with online learning for L&D training than in years past.

To keep up with modern search, browsing and reading habits, online learning platforms need to be responsive to the devices people normally use to access online content. For many this means mobile. In fact, according to Udemy’s research, mobile now accounts for one quarter of all learning worldwide.

2. Millennials are Addicted to Learning and It’s Reshaping L&D

Millennials now make up more than one-in-three U.S. workers today and have surpassed Generation X in 2015 as the largest segment of the workforce, according to the Pew Research Center. Having grown up with the latest technology, Millennials have a keener interest in technology-based learning solutions and tend to be more open to new approaches than older generations. Research also suggests that Millennials tend to be more interested in career development than pay, and being relative young, Millennials are still highly focused on skills development. This dynamic is shaping L&D for the future as organisations respond to the demands of the incoming crop of managers.

3. Mobile Video On-The-Go is the New Normal

Video is by far the fastest growing category of online mobile traffic. According to Gartner Research, video is expected to account for over 60% of mobile data traffic in 2018, and Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts 55% growth in mobile video traffic, every year, through 2021.

As the general population spends more free time on smartphones, consuming all types of video content (sports, news, entertainment, how-to tutorials, etc.) we can be certain that workplace skills development supported by mobile video will be expected.

4. Optimal Learning Occurs Mid-Week

Employees expect to be given time to learn new professional skills while at work and prefer not to spend time studying on their weekend. Wednesdays, mid-afternoon (around 3:00 p.m.) is the most popular time of day for workplace learning. For mobile self-directed learners, content also tends to be consumed during the morning commute.

5. Technical Skills Across Industries Continue to be In-Demand

Online learning is especially popular for technical skills such as IT, software development, office productivity, data analytics and design. Each of these categories saw massive growth during 2016 and are expected to continue growing in 2017.

At the same time, certain areas of soft skills development will continue to rely heavily on coaching and immediate facilitator feedback delivered in a classroom or during a virtual instructor led training session on a platform such as WebEx. In the coming year, L&D departments will need to consider approaches that blend online learning with live instruction, so that each of the right skills are developed using the right approach.