In today’s world with new technologies outpacing skills every 3-5 months, it’s time to take a good look at your company’s learning and development (L&D). Think of all the positions in your organization that didn’t exist just ten years ago—social media manager, digital marketer, SEO specialist, app developer, or cloud services specialist. Is L&D ready to meet the challenge and equip employees with the changing skills to succeed as an organization?

According to the latest 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, the answer is a resounding “no.” 90 percent of CEOs realize their company is facing disruptive change driven by new technology, yet 70 percent say their organization does not have the skills to adapt. Not a great statistic!

It’s time for HR and L&D professionals to reinvent an entirely new kind of learning experience that inspires employees to learn continuously and keep their skills up to date.

To help HR and L&D professionals shape a next-generation learning environment, we took a deep dive into the profile of the modern learner based on our global student population of 15 million learners on Udemy. The goal: to uncover key learning trends in 2017.

Here are the 5 trends we discovered:

1. The days of classroom learning are over

In today’s digital world, the Internet is increasingly where people learn today. 70% of modern learners rely on search engines like Google and 50-60% access online courses for knowledge, according to Bersin by Deloitte. So it’s not surprising that today’s workforce prefers online learning sources instead of traditional in-classroom L&D training. On-demand online learning is accessible, mobile, and fits into our fast-paced digital environment.

2. Millennials are addicted to learning because it cures workplace boredom

Millennials love to learn. They were the largest group of online learners on our Udemy platform, just ahead of Generation X. With Millennials accounting for the largest segment in the workforce today, they have introduced a whole new way of thinking that’s revolutionizing company culture, engagement, and learning.

Not only do Millennials prefer a more fun and addictive digital learning environment, they also deeply care about their future career and personal development.

In our recent 2016 Udemy Workplace Boredom Report, we surveyed 1000 US office workers and found that Millennials were twice as likely to be bored and disengaged at work than baby boomers. When asked the top reason for their boredom, workers said it was the lack of opportunities to learn something new.

3. Mobile learning is popular, but it depends on what you’re learning

Mobile learning is on the up. In our analysis of Udemy’s 15 million global online learners, we found that mobile offline usage grew by 69% between 2015 and 2016—indicating that users are increasingly downloading courses to consume on their mobile devices while on the go. What’s more interesting is that mobile learning is most popular during morning commute hours, between 6:00am-9:00am.

But whether learners used their smartphone to learn also depends on what they’re learning. For leadership courses or personal lifestyle courses, the mobile learning format was more popular. Watching a marketing or a meditation video can be done anywhere while sitting on the bus or on the beach. But more technical topics like data science and development require a larger screen and keyboard, so the desktop was the preferred choice.

4. Wednesday is the most popular time to learn at work

When we looked at our workplace learners, we discovered the peak time to learn is on Wednesday at 3:00pm. The bottom line: employees don’t want to spend their weekend time acquiring professional skills for their job. This means companies need to build in time at work for their employees to learn. Scheduling “learning hours” just like you schedule meetings as well as ensuring managers prioritize learning are great ways to make time for learning.

5. Automation is creating demand for new skill-sets

With automation redefining today’s workplace from the office to the factory floor, we’re seeing an appetite for a new set of skills. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning require data analytics skills to make sense of the mounds of data being collected by these new technologies. Cloud-based innovations mean organizations continue to prioritize cloud network and cyber security skills. As factories become increasingly automated, today’s “factory workers” are learning engineering drawing tools like AutoCAD to manage complex machinery. These are the kinds of skills your organization will need to master to stay ahead of technology innovation.

To find out more about the hottest skills, key learning preferences, and our learning predictions for 2017, check out our 5 Workplace Learning Trends and 5 Predictions for 2017.

Empower your team. Lead the industry.

Get a subscription to a library of online courses and digital learning tools for your organization with Udemy Business.

Request a demo