A new year and new predictions! What’s in store for 2017? The biggest changes I’ve seen building is the swing toward a more employee-empowered learning environment.

The speed in which job change is happening is much faster than times’ past. Those who don’t take the initiative to improve their skills are going to find themselves falling behind. To meet learning needs of the “masses,” most organizations have used a model of corporate training centred on the eLearning course catalog – but this kind of training is outdated and clunky. Instead, many employees have opted to seek their own solutions and use the internet to learn.

So what are the 2017 trends regarding employee-empowered learning? Here are a few trends I have noticed for myself and a few others I found in HR Technology Disruptions for 2017: Nine Trends Reinventing the HR Software Market (2016 Deloitte Development LLC.)


  1. Wearables

We know that the consumer electronics industry has introduced wearables, and these tools can also help improve the experiences an employee has at work and empower the employee to take ownership of their own health. Employees who are overloaded and overworked often feel tired. Many companies realize that employee performance and engagement depends heavily on their emotional fitness and well-being.

But, consider how wearables can be used in learning. Imagine a wearable that could give you insightful customized and personalized feedback in the moment of need?  Think of it like a personalized coach that empowers the employee to learn new skills in a way that feels organic and not at all like “training.” And, imagine being able to use the data to improve the entire department’s performance. Stay tuned for some exciting work I’m a part of that meets this training need through wearables.


  1. Moving Away from Traditional Classroom Training

There has been a major change in how companies are teaching their employees. Since 2009, there’s been a significant decline in instructor-led training (from 77% to 32%)1. This change has led to companies to use virtual learning, collaborative learning and on-the-job-learning. There’s no time, patience and budget for people to attend classes – it’s not the way it used to be.

That doesn’t mean the classroom setting is gone forever. It only means the L&D departments are putting more attention on the face-to-face experiences and making significant changes to their content systems to address the demand for high-quality online learning. As this happens, they force the company and management to put their attention on expert support, coaching and internship.


  1. Importance of Additional Content Curation

There is a plethora of amazing learning content available. In fact, new material, videos, courses and MOOCs are being developed every day. The problem comes with establishing an integrated experience.  Last year, just 12% percent of companies were experienced in offering MOOC-like learning courses. Today, that percentage is up to 26%. Only 6% percent were experts in creating high-quality video last year; the number is now 13%. 1

What’s going on? Corporations are now spending money on tools that can assimilate, combine, gauge and curate the material for their employees. With the entropy of information overload, organizations need culled learning content that makes sense to their employees.


  1. Learning Experience Platforms

Learning experience platforms look similar to curation systems and these may be the next generation of learning management systems. More vendors are developing content aggregation and curation platforms that provide a plethora of information in one location. Since they offer so many things, users can easily locate what they need, make recommendations, make comments on and more. Thus, these emerging tools may be an indispensable system for many companies.


  1. Video Learning Management Systems

There is a new line of LMS systems coming – video-based learning. They are set up to work like YouTube instead of a course catalog. Best of all, a company has more control over it than what YouTube can offer.


  1. Micro-Learning Platforms, Recommendation Systems & Cognitive Learning Tools

Because of the amount of material available, intelligent learning systems are needed. These systems can make recommendations and push learning when it’s called for. They can also ensure that small learning pieces are brought together and they can assist companies to develop micro-learning. Overall, they will help people to use their learning material in more powerful ways.



So what does 2017 have in store?  I can’t wait to find out!


1 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey data, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2016.