Training trends for 2016

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Written by Donavan Whyte on 4 January 2016

Reading time: 3m.

Time and money for employee training is always tight. As such, learning and development (L&D) departments striving to meet business objectives efficiently are constantly looking for ways to maximise their return on training investment. 

Current trends in the marketplace indicate that in 2016 there will be a move towards bite-sized training and training on the move, so employees can dip into programmes when and where it suits them. Also, increasingly sophisticated ‘gamification’ techniques will help boost learner engagement in training programmes by making learning more fun and entertaining.  Here are five trends to look out for this coming year: 

  • Bite-sized learning – in today’s digital age of the rapid consumption of information, attention spans are short. Learning modules need to adapt to suit the fast-paced world we now live in. And they need to be available at home, at work and on-the-go. Understanding the psychology of learning helps as one size doesn’t fit all; people learn at different rates and in different ways.


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We’ve seen that flexible training approaches that can adapt deliver the best results for enterprises, and online learning programmes are ideal for a personalised learning experience. They can adapt the speed at which topics are presented to conform to the learner’s needs, make use of more or less repetition to reinforce learning, and bring back content that learners show weakness in. Adapting content delivery in this way helps learners train at their own pace and retain the information much more effectively 

  • M-learning, or Mobile Learning – tech-savvy employees relate to digital learning; it fits with their lifestyle. As more jobs move away from the traditional office-based ‘nine-to-five,’ mobile learning, or ’m-learning’ is gaining ground. With people working flexible hours across a number of locations, working from home or spending a lot of time on the move, the availability of learning programmes on mobile devices means they can do their training at a time and place that suits them.

This approach also helps L&D departments implement campaigns across geographical locations. Digital learning programmes that synchronise content, providing access to the full functionality via whichever device is being used, are particularly versatile.

  • Access to the world’s best talent – technology transcends borders making learning accessible to more people, regardless of time zone and location. Online and virtual learning environments can provide high-quality content driven by well-qualified teachers and tutors. Private or group tutoring sessions can be delivered online, giving learners access to the best tutoring, regardless of location. This can be particularly valuable for language learning, where access to a tutor who is a native speaker of the language, and the opportunity to practice with live interaction, can help build confidence.
  • Gamification – training can pick up some valuable tricks from the gaming world. By emulating some of what make digital games so addictive and using this to create a more gamified user experience, learning companies can try and achieve the same level of engagement gaming providers enjoy with their audience. This approach, known as ‘gamification’ makes use of tools and techniques rooted in an understanding of human behaviour, motivation and engagement.

They include goal-setting, the creation of a competitive atmosphere and the giving of feedback and rewards. Success at this can result in a more enriched training experience and a more successful training campaign.

  • Languages for business – businesses will continue to recognise the need for language skills to help them be globally competitive. A large majority already realise their importance; in a survey by Rosetta Stone, 79 per cent of businesses said they think language skills are critical for business success. Global businesses interact with customers, suppliers and partners in a range of languages. Among sales teams, language skills help improve customer satisfaction and across diverse teams, it helps intra-company communication.

About the author 

Donavan Whyte is Vice President, EMEA Enterprise & Education at Rosetta Stone.