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4 Top Learning and Development Trends of 2017

By: Carrie McFarland on August 24, 2017


When it comes to the top learning and development trends of 2017, the digital space paves the way. Microlearning, mobile learning, social learning, and virtual learning take the top four spots on the list, declaring that the new age of industry learning is upon us.

As we discover new ways to engage employees, we see a reduction of employee churn, a reduction in cost associated with waste, and the greater ability to promote from within ranks which boosts morale and performance.

Promoting digital learning within the workspace in combination with defining clear paths to promotion create a climate of engagement, interest, and compliance.


Microlearning is the number one learning trend of 2017. While it has gained popularity among industry-specific niches, it is now gaining traction among companies from all walks, from the restaurant industry, clothing and retail, and the majority of deskless workplaces.

The primary uptick in popularity rests in its benefits. Ranging from the fact that it is very cost-effective, fully customizable, and consistently provides the most tangible solutions for learning in the modern workforce.

In fact, according to a paper written by Charles Faison Jr., titled, “The Impact of Microlearning”, Mr. Faison illustrates the positive impact microlearning is having on companies that implement it.

Mobile learning

In the digital age, most people have a smart phone or other mobile device on-hand where ever they are, including the workspace.

Many companies attempt to limit their use through policy and disciplinary measures. However, companies that are now implementing mobile learning are finding that instead of limiting their use, they are better off refocusing their use. They are effectively retooling mobile use to benefit the employee through microlearning, thus, benefiting the company as a whole.

By making a space for mobile use during work hours, employers are finding renewed interest on the part of employees, which is especially beneficial in high-turnover industries.

Social learning

While this is not a new concept, it is still relatively new to the workspace. Learning through internal social constructs helps to maximize the learning experience through the promotion of an open exchanging of ideas. This alone validates its use due to markedly high engagement among employees, especially among millennials.

In fact, due to its rising popularity, Facebook has recently launched what is known as “Workplace.” This is specifically designed for companies to use for learning and development.

Virtual learning

Perhaps the newest platform to the e-learning and development space, is virtual learning. This is the use of virtual reality, which is having a high-impact on the learning culture of industries across the board.

Virtual reality affords an unimaginable level of immersion into lessons. When used in combination with microlearning strategies, businesses across the board will save on virtually all areas of the company; from employee churn and waste management to efficiency and performance, and much more.

For more information on trends and the latest research on employee learning, watch our webinar with Bersin by Deloite on Guided Adaptation & the Art of Using Work for Learning

guided adaptation and the art of using work for learning

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