Which learning predictions for 2018 took off and which fell flat? Niche learning, working with remote teams, upskilling and the rise of VR/AR were expected to dominate the L&D space — and it turns out, those predictions rang true, according to a number of sources.
But thanks to more employees demanding development, a few key developments appeared and dominated the past year, too.
Niche learning in specific categories, like the emerging cannabis and craft brewery markets, was on the rise. “We’ve got multiple growing cannabis companies coming online and looking to lead in educating the market, doctors, retailers, pharmacists and others — on all aspects of this new industry,” Jeremy Auger, chief strategy officer at D2L, told HR Dive via email.
But Michelle Tasevski, director of learning and development at Addison Group, said niche learning includes more. “People are increasingly interested in personalized learning journeys, catering to the specifics of what they’re looking for as opposed to providing blanket training is vital,” she said in an email. “It is all about getting the right content to the right person at the right time.” Linking learning to a daily routine is also a big part of this; those trying to immerse themselves in a niche industry are increasingly seeking training opportunities specific to that as a part of their day-to-day.
Still, employers are wising up to “working smarter, not harder” when it comes to employee development, moving away from offering “more” and instead offering more focused opportunities. “We have to get away from systems being the work, to the systems working for us,” Chris Havrilla, VP of HR technology and solution provider research at Bersin, said. People want, and should get, learning when and where they need it so they can use it, she explained.
Training remote teams
Shifts in connective technologies have created an influx of remote workers, bringing new challenges in talent management and prompting the need for training on how to manage these workers as well as providing tools for their own growth, Kathleen Pai, VP of HR at Ultimate Software, told HR Dive. “Providing opportunities for virtual employees to connect with one another can help them feel a greater sense of belonging within the company, no matter where they work,” she said in an email. Company culture remains a critical ingredient in creating a successful business, especially in a tightening labor market, she added, “but we are increasingly moving away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to culture, in everything from benefits packages to professional development.”
Heather Doshay, SVP of people and places at Rainforest QA, agreed that getting remote learning right has been a top priority for companies in 2018. “By this, I mean not just how to be a remote worker, but also organizations needing to evolve all learning and development programs — which have historically been delivered in person — to be remote accessible,” she said.