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As we turn the calendar to 2017, we see resolutions and various “lists” everywhere we look. Well, the Orgwide blog is no exception. As a practitioner in the adult learning space – working daily with our instructional designers and developers and discussing training needs with our wide array of clients and friends – I consider myself somewhat of an expert in the learning and development industry. As such, I present to you, my very own “Top 5 Trends in Training for 2017.”

1. Let the Games Begin (Continue?) – By definition, Gamification is “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.” In 2017, we’ll see gamification continue to be a buzz word in training circles with the inclusion of “game principles” such as avatars, challenges, levels, points, and badges in new eLearning content.

2. Mentoring Returns – Millennials are now squarely a force in the work place. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years for Millennials and end the generation in the mid-1990s– so that makes them 22 to 37 years old. This generation has been plagued with the belief that every Millennial believes they deserve a reward simply for participating. This stereotype may or may not hold true, however researchers do believe this generation is exhibiting a strongly held need for “Work-Life Balance.” And as such, will be looking for help in doing the work part faster to open time for the life part of the equation. Their “Civic Mindedness” will also present opportunities for mentoring programs. Finally, with the on-going retirement of the Baby Boomer Generation (the first Baby Boomers are now turning 70!) the transference of “organizational knowledge” from these elder statesmen to the next generation will also fuel the resurgence of mentoring programs.

3. EnterTRAINment – Let’s face it, the competition for creating “wow” training is now streaming on your phone! Our students watch videos, sporting events, and play games on their mobile devices. Our training needs to be entertaining AND educational. If we don’t mind this (and many practitioners I speak with think doing so is heresy to the learning and development profession), we won’t be successful. First, we must capture our adult learner’s attention – and to do so, we must compete with other “eye candy.” Let’s get past the negative connotation of “learning is fun” and make it…well, more fun!

4. Micro Learning is here to stay – Our students can learn anything from changing a tire to administering CPR by watching a YouTube video. My son has viewed YouTube videos to fix his smart phone. He learned how to change out a broken screen in about 5 minutes (this is a handy skill – since shattered smart phone screens are more prominent than I have ever imagined). As training creators we must break our learning into smaller and smaller MEANINGFUL chunks. As Mark Twain said; “If I had more time, I’d have written you a shorter letter.” Embracing micro-learning takes more time in the instructional design phase – but the pay-off in student experience is well worth the effort.

5. VR and AR are coming soon – One of the hottest holiday gifts this past year was the Samsung Gear VR. See # 3 above – Our students are playing with this technology today…How long until we, the learning and development community, learn how to harness this technology to improve our learning outcomes and create changed organizational behaviors.

So, there you have it. 5 Trends in Training that I think we’ll see throughout the year ahead. Whether you’re looking to include gamification into your new learning products this year, are looking to increase the learner engagement in your course offering (enterTRAINment is not a dirty word!), or need to break down your training into smaller chunks of time - give us a call. We’re here to help make your 2017 the best year in learning ever!

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