Download our latest report 5 Learning Trends and 5 Predictions for 2018 here.

Innovative new technologies are poised to revolutionize workplace learning. We’ve come a long way since the days of traditional instructor-led classroom learning. Learning & Development (L&D) departments are embracing new approaches and methodologies as they develop their learning strategies. But what are the key learning predictions in the L&D space that you should pay attention to in 2018?

In our new report 5 Workplace Learning Trends & 5 Predictions 2018, we analyzed the learning patterns of 20+ million learners on Udemy and polled 263 L&D managers to shed light on what L&D can expect in 2018.

What are our learning predictions for 2018?

There’s so much going on in the L&D space, but here are a few of our learning predictions.

1. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create personalized and adaptive learning experiences

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are transforming the L&D industry by customizing the digital learning experience for the individual learner. By studying learner behavior over large data sets, AI can track learning habits, search requests for content topics, and provide course recommendations similar to Amazon and Netflix’s user experiences.

Machine learning and AI can help L&D professionals understand and predict what employees want to learn. While machine learning powers only 4% of L&D offerings today among those surveyed, 24% of L&D managers plan to add machine learning capabilities over the next few years. 50% of L&D managers indicated they plan to provide more personalized learning paths for their employees. By serving up learning recommendations for each individual in real-time, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer opportunities to scale personalization like never before.

2. Gamification will be a game-changer when done correctly

More L&D teams plan to incorporate gamification to increase learning engagement and reinforce learning. Layered beneath every successful video game is a complex foundation driven by behavioral science and psychology. This same foundation can be applied to learning experiences, making them more engaging and motivating for our learners. While only 8% of L&D programs are using gamification today, a third (31%) of the respondents plan to add gamification to their corporate learning programs in the next few years. Gamification can help L&D create better value for their employees—making learning engaging while helping them retain and apply their new knowledge. However, gamification is more than just adding leaderboards and badges. In order for L&D leaders to effectively leverage the power of gamification as a learning tool, they must understand the science behind it and thoughtfully design their programs. Read my blog post on how to do this, Gamification is Actually About Motivation, Not Badges.

3. Virtual reality and augmented reality will gain ground as costs come down

Virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) are set to revolutionize L&D and how people learn—the biggest disruption to learning since the internet.

Augmented reality (AR) experiences like the popular Pokemon Go game involve enhancing natural environments by adding virtual information on top. The applications for the learning space are endless. AR makes “in-the-moment learning” possible. Training can be delivered digitally while employees actually perform the task. AR can overlay digital objects for guidance or provide a remote instructor to provide step-by-step direction and correction on the job.

Virtual reality (VR) enables immersive apprenticeship-style learning at scale—providing an environment for employees to apply what they learn in “real-world” situations. It makes sense for industries like healthcare—allowing hospitals to simulate ER or operating room scenarios to train nurses and doctors. But as virtual reality costs come down, organizations are also starting to use it for soft skills. For example, diversity & inclusion VR training lets employees experience the workplace in someone else’s shoes. While still a small component of today’s L&D resources (only 4%), 20% of L&D departments are planning to introduce VR in the next few years. Read my blog post, 4 Easy Steps to Implement VR Training.

This is just a taste of what to expect in 2018. To see our other key workplace learning predictions and an in-depth analysis of the learning trends we’re seeing on Udemy (i.e. hot skills for 2018), download our report 5 Workplace Learning Trends & 5 Predictions for 2018.

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