The current calendar year is not even yet over, but training industry experts have already taken note of major training trends that have taken off in 2018. What are they, why should your company care and what can you do to adapt to—and adopt—these trends?
Corporate learning and development professionals across the board are reporting that past predictions of major changes in how businesses train customers, partners and employees in the future are finally becoming a reality.
1. Virtual Instructor-Led Classroom Training is Growing
A critical mass of human resources departments and other corporate learning experts have apparently come to integrate virtual learners into the training classroom like never before. There are many factors why. First, corporate trainers have figured out what kinds of learning can be done via eLearning modalities, which are most effective with live instructor-led training, and video-conferencing technology has advanced to make the Virtual Training Room an achievable reality.
Perhaps training experts have incorporated these changes not just due to personal experience, but also because of compelling industry data suggesting the benefits of involving remote attendees in the live classroom experience.
A Training Industry report found:
- 86% of virtual classroom participants rate the experience as “just as engaging” or “more engaging than” traditional training methods
- 100% of participants were highly satisfied with virtual classroom experiences
- Virtual learners scored an average 90% on a skills tests—one point more than traditional classroom students
That same report found "no difference between the virtual and traditional classroom participants with regard to behavior change" after the training. For both groups, it was immediate. In other words, virtual classroom learning not only is proven to work, but it is here to stay.
2. Executive-Level Buy-In is on the Rise
Gone are the days where the L&D department needed to present reams of data and presentations to prove the value of workplace training. Signs indicate that C-level buy-in is at perhaps its highest-level ever.
The reasons for this shift are multiple. But one major driving factor behind leadership's support and investment in training is that unemployment is at historic lows. According to the federal government, the current U.S. unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent. For comparison, the jobless rate ten years ago was nearly six percent. One result is that employers are competing not just with other companies for market share, but they are competing for a workforce share. Studies show that a major attraction to a company, especially for younger workers, is the ability to grow and learn.
As Fortune magazine has reported, happier employees are more productive employees. One way to increase happiness on the job is to expand worker knowledge. This notion is nothing new. Well over 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
The data prove this to be truer than ever in today's business world.
A study by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) has found companies offering well-developed professional training programs have 218% higher income-per-employee than companies without such formalized training programs. Further, companies with robust training programs also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than companies with smaller training budgets.
Nothing gets the attention of CEOs and executive leadership better than data such as this. As a result, it's expected that training budgets will continue to increase at companies that are seeing a direct benefit to their bottom line.
3. Corporate Learners are More Engaged Than Ever
As the Millennial generation carves a larger slice into the workforce pie, modern corporate learning is seeing a shift in learners demand quicker, more convenient and more technologically savvy training programs to help them stay informed in their field.
Modern learners consumer information at a faster pace and are willing to engage with training in a wider variety of environments. A LinkedIn study finds that corporate learning is happening via a wider variety of sources and devices—and in a more diverse range of environments. While organizations are still heavily investing in in-person classroom-style training, the LinkedIn report found these behavioral trends in modern learners:
- 47 percent are willing to engage in learning in evenings or on weekends
- 42 percent enjoy learning at their office desk
- 27 percent are willing to participate in training on their way to and from work
Clearly, the combination of technology, macro-economic trends and the influx of flexible and engaged learners into the workforce is driving the revolution in corporate training. Not every company has the same training needs as others, but understanding these broader training trends holds great value to organizations seeking to remain relevant and profitable in today's economy.
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