The Future of Workplace Learning: 5 Trends to Watch

Shaped by technology, new advances and alternative ways of thinking; the way we learn is changing. International teaching providers, pulled highlights from the report ‘Trends in Learning’ by the Open University to show how learning has evolved to include 5 trends that will transform the way we learn.

1. Spaced Learning

In terms of memory (both short and long-term), we learn best in a series of short learning sessions. This is the reason why Spaced Learning is popular. Typically, with spaced learning, individuals are encouraged to study for a 20-minute period, followed by a 10-minute break when the learner will engage in a related activity (putting the learning into practice.) This is repeated with the focus on recall, where the learner will apply their learned knowledge.

The process of learning, reflection, repetition, and application can help people rapidly learn new skills and retain information. This has become increasingly valuable to employers in recent years. Employers are aware that the luxury of whole days or weeks dedicated to employee training is fading fast. Today, quick but impactful teaching is prioritized.

Compliance training is one area where Spaced Learning has proved popular. It enables organizations to break down the technical and (slightly) boring annual program into small, accessible sections.

Tip: Gamification is an effective way to introduce the concept of Spaced Learning.

2. Post-Truth Learning

To combat the fake news epidemic, people are seeking out information that is reported responsibly and accurately. How do we know what information to trust? What sources to trust? The questions we are beginning to ask fall under the umbrella of ‘epistemic cognition,’ which basically means knowledge about knowledge.

Epistemic cognition refers to knowledge about important, fundamental concerns around objectivity, subjectivity, rationality, and truth. At the root, it is about encouraging people to question rather than accept what is fed to them blindly.

This is important in the current world because people get their information from endless sources – be it traditional media, social networks, blogs, or apps. It is essential learners begin to take a critical, analytical approach to information gathering.

In the workplace, encourage employees to think about scenarios that involve conflicting accounts. In doing so, individuals will learn to question information and decision-making processes.

Tip: Make challenging assumptions a positive in the learning environment.

3. Immersive Learning

Using innovative technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), the concept of Immersive Learning allows individuals to experience realistic scenarios, which make for an interactive and memorable learning experience.

Immersive Learning is effective in providing point-of-need training and support, which makes it an appealing tool in the workplace. There are significant benefits to learning how to respond to and overcome crisis situations in a simulated, safe environment.

At its core, Immersive Learning is all about experience and exploration.

Tip: Identify a real business problem where you think an immersive experience will be most effective.

4. Learner-Led Analytics

Using algorithms to determine the best, most targeted path for individuals to learn, Learner-Led Analytics is a far more personalized route to learning. By using data to identify goals and ambitions, learners can monitor their own performance and gain a deeper understanding of how and why they learn.

By using data in this way, companies can paint a picture of the learner and organization, creating a far more engaged workforce. Moreover, employers can use analytics to gain a deeper, more holistic understanding of the skills situation in their organization. Where are the skills? Where are the skills gaps? Are there any trends to note?

That is the way learning is going – a targeted, personalized approach that meets the needs of learners and the organization.

Tip: Be prepared to put learning in the hands of the individual.

5. Humanistic Knowledge-Building Communities

Humanistic knowledge building communities promote the development of knowledge, both individually and collectively. The humanistic element focuses on helping people to be creative, self-directed, and open to experience. Whereas the knowledge-building element focuses on enhancing and sharing knowledge.

In the workplace, technology can be used alongside this trend, to create a better-connected and more engaged workforce that is also human. Think tools like Slack which bring elements of personal communication (such as emojis and GIFs) to the formal world of work, to make communication more light-hearted; more human.

However, organizations should be mindful that these tools and ways of working take time to embed. Communities such as these are formed gradually and blossom when the mindset shifts from “What’s in it for me?’ to ‘What’s in it for us?” Workplace culture needs to nurture, encourage and support the idea of an open, shared environment.

Aside from tech, practices such as working out loud circles and other initiatives around ‘show your work’ are a fantastic way to start building your community and supporting and encouraging individuals to be visible in sharing what they know.

By Guest

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