TrendsJanuary. Fresh starts. Resolutions. Reflections...  Traditionally, January is the time to step back, reflect on the path your company is taking, and make course adjustments as needed. The Training Industry landscape looks different than it did even 3 years ago. You have to stay ahead of the curve to capitalize on the improvements that are rapidly changing the way people learn. Don't worry; we've got your back! As proven experts in the field of Custom Learning Solutions, here are the emerging trends we see as we support our clients...

1. Hiring is back in vogue– Is your On-Boarding Working? According to CNN Money, "hiring surged in November as employers added 321,000 jobs, crowning 2014 as the strongest year for job growth since 1999." The unemployment rate dropped from 7% in 2013 to 5.8% in 2014. Patrick O'Keefe, (Director of economic research at CohnReznick), feels that the industry is in an upward progression: "Companies are making up for hiring that was deferred earlier in the cycle."

TRANSLATION: Review your On-Boarding Material! Nothing says "we really are behind the times" like orientation materials that feature old logos, out of date policies, and other "we don't do it that way anymore" moments.

2. The Devices Won! Personal "Smart Devices" (from smart phones to tablets) have exploded in growth over the past few years (despite some employers reluctance to allow them). Research by Logicalis, high-growth markets (including Brazil, Russia, India, UAE, and Malaysia) demonstrate a propensity of almost 75% of users to utilize their own device at work.1

TRANSLATION: Manage risk levels of employee devices by implementing a company policy that protects your company's intellectual assets. From a training perspective – Make sure your Learning Management System reflects this usage trend and offers up optimized content to all users (keyword: "responsive design"). Additionally, when designing your eLearning – keep in mind that a lot of your users will consume the content on their personal device. TIP: Less words per slide (it's too small and hard to read) and more use of video and voice over.

3. Seeing is believing – Use more video! Experts say there are three main cognitive learning styles: visual, auditory, and hands-on. Video is accessible like never before. (Remember the ice bucket challenge video?) Those videos helped drive the fundraising to nearly 10X the previous year.2

TRANSLATION: Video is powerful. The cost of producing high quality video that delivers a message in a clean, crisp, and entertaining way has dramatically dropped. If you're not incorporating video into your eLearning – you're missing the use of one of the most powerful tools available today to drive team member learning!

4. Learning Happens All the Time- Use this to Your Advantage (there is a formula)! "Lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly: 70% from tough jobs, 20% from people (mostly the boss), and 10% from courses and reading." While this isn't a new concept (it's over 60 years old), it continually proves true!3

TRANSLATION: If you're a learning professional (or if you are responsible for the development of others) – heed the 70/20/10 model. Include bite sized chunks of eLearning that can be consumed on the job. Teach coaching skills and IMPORTANT: teach mentors how to mentor!! Give stretch assignments and let employees learn while doing (in a controlled environment). Recognize that learning happens – and is reinforced – in a multitude of ways. It's more than having a class and handing out "smile sheets."

So, there you have it. Our Top 4 trends that will continue to shape the learning and development industry in 2015... More on-boarding, personal devices are king, don't forget the video, and more learning happens outside the classroom than anywhere else. Have some insight that adds to (or even differs from) these ideas? Drop me a line at and share what you think. I'd love to hear from you!

3 Lombardo, Michael M; Eichinger, Robert W (1996). The Career Architect Development Planner (1st ed.). Minneapolis: Lominger. p. iv. ISBN 0-9655712-1-1.

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