Technology And Learning Engagement Trends 2020
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Learning Technology And Learning Engagement Trends For 2020

As we begin 2020 with new excitement and vigor, it’s also the time to plan ahead and look at what the year has in store for us for corporate Learning and Development (L&D). With workplace learning trends embracing technology on a larger scale, one thing we can say for certain is that emerging technologies are transforming the world of work, and businesses need to rethink their approach toward L&D and employee training.

One of the key shifts observed in 2019 and going into 2020 is learning in-the-flow of work, which only makes more and more sense as we live our connected lives in this connected world. Meanwhile, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping how organizations do business, engage with clients and customers, and manage their operations. As a result, an increasing number of organizations are now depending on emerging technologies to gain the desired competitive advantage. However, with such rapid changes happening around us, most businesses are facing challenges in terms of keeping up with the technology itself.

For instance, 65% of business leaders feel AI is a (very) important aspect in human capital, but only 26% of surveyed companies feel they are ready for such a proliferation. So, given such massive technological disruptions, there is a pressing need for global businesses to respond effectively and focus on the future of L&D.

Let’s explore the top 6 learning technology and learning engagement trends that organizations can use to bolster their L&D initiatives in 2020

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

According to Gartner, AI bots are set to fuel 85% of customer service interactions by 2020, while 20% of business (training) content is set to be created by AI. The availability of limitless data waiting analysis to draw actionable insights has enabled global organizations to leverage AI and facilitate the huge impact on L&D. Today, AI is helping L&D leaders offer employee training in more ways than ever thought possible. AI is capable of helping L&D leaders personalize training content to suit learners’ needs through data-based content recommendations, learning patterns (mapped), style and behaviors, role-based learning, along with real-time, auto-generate learning content. AI-enabled adaptive/personalized learning can also go a long way in transforming employee engagement. However, AI is still believed to be in its developmental stage in corporate learning, with tools and solutions for many business services still unavailable. Be that as it may, global tech companies are hard at work preparing to adopt platforms that can be used to create AI solutions. Data, however, still remains a top priority and its analysis in terms of AI-adoption.

2. Geofencing

Speaking about learning in-the-flow of work, geofencing has emerged as a top trend in corporate employee training. So, what is geofencing? Mostly used in marketing and retail, a geofence can be defined as an (electronic) border-line etched around a specific zone or area which organizations use to track the movement of its target customer base (in the set zone) to push offers and/or coupons. Although geofencing may have begun as a marketing gimmick, it can be a real game-changer in corporate L&D. So, in terms of workplace learning, organizations can use geofencing technology to deliver on-the-job training to their employees on their smartphones or other devices whenever they are at a specific job site or in the field.

3. Big Data And Learning Analytics

Achieving or, more importantly, showing the learning ROI has troubled L&D professionals for ages because it is not easy to link employee training with ROI. Almost 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, but data doesn’t generate much value until it is organized and analyzed. This is where analytics comes in. It is fast becoming an absolute must-have for every industry. One of the industries where analytics is quickly making a huge difference is the learning industry, where the "raw" or "big" data collected from learners’ activities, performances, completions is refined and analyzed by L&D professionals to glean actionable insights. Like any other function in an organization, L&D exists to develop employees’ skills to bolster organizational performance and business growth. And, learning analytics is a must-have solution for every organizational L&D function.

4. Self-Directed Learning: Learning Experience Platform (LXP)

Learn-tech professionals have also seen a major boost in the past years in self-directed learning or pull-learning as opposed to a push-learning or top-down approach. Future-looking organizations are already on the front foot to leverage a learner-centric approach. According to Towards Maturity, almost 19% of learners are leveraging curation tools, and this space is expected to witness a high growth rate (between 90%–190% by 2020).

An LXP is an advanced, more intuitive and flexible version of an LMS, which is designed to drive learning engagement through easy discoverability of (relevant and recommended) content. Although the LMS is still widely accepted as the go-to solution to deliver employee training, an LXP offers a new and more convenient experience for today’s learners, who expect simple and engaging learning environments. An LXP provides an increasingly self-directed learning approach by curating content, recommending skills and developing learning journeys, among others.

5. Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality (VR/AR)

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) in corporate employee training are on the rise and promise to be a truly holistic solution for any and all industries. VR/AR have been around for quite a while and their adoption in organizational training has been limited to certain specific industries like aviation (pilot training), manufacturing (simulations, testing), military, etc. But today, VR is slowly finding in-roads into more industries in the form of engaging and effective simulations to do a skill dry-run before actually applying it on the job. Similarly, AR stands to offer several benefits, right from customer interactions to healthcare, allowing the workforce to test critical skills with the least risk.

Likewise, VR/AR also give a newbie or inexperienced employees the chance to practice their newly acquired skills in a safe environment. An organization hiring candidates fresh from school with no prior experience (millennials and Gen Z) have more technical knowledge and understanding, but little experience with their application. VR/AR can help guide such an inexperienced workforce to quickly boost productivity.

6. Off-The-Shelf eLearning: Online Content Marketplaces

Organizations worldwide turn to L&D when faced with key business challenges that warrant instant employee reskilling/upskilling. As a result, L&D professionals need an instant solution that can quickly kick-start their employee training. In such scenarios, training managers don’t have the time or resources to develop custom content, and an online content library becomes their go-to resource. An online content library offers diverse benefits, ranging from ready-to-use courses on diverse topics, including management skills, information technology, sales and marketing, finance, and more. With organizations set to spend millions of dollars on employee skilling in 2020 to achieve a future-ready workforce, online content libraries stand to offer an instant and cost-effective solution with great learning ROI.

Take Away

As we foray into 2020, it is evident that today’s employees are pro-technology and expect high technological engagement in every walk of life, including reskilling/upskilling for the future. However, technology still remains an enabler and its adoption will be more effective in conjunction with an effective learning strategy and an organization-wide learning culture; especially when businesses want to bolster their workforce’s soft skills, like communication, customer service, etc. The Learning Management System (LMS) still remains a top priority for organizations seeking to align L&D with business objectives. And, coupled with these latest learn-tech trends, organizations stand to achieve improved learning engagement and higher productivity in the long run.

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