2017 Predictions on Hot Trends & Rising Stars in Learning and Development

As learning professionals, we are typically very good at looking back and reflecting on what has and hasn’t worked, drawing on past successes and – hopefully – avoiding repeating mistakes. We are also forward thinking, and we are increasingly quick to react to technological developments and innovations in other industries and elds. But how good are we at accurately predicting developments in learning and development? How aligned are we as learning professionals, globally? And can we avoid potentially exciting developments becoming passing fads with little impact?

In the annual 2017 Learning & Development Global Sentiment Survey led by Donald Taylor, 728 people from 52 countries provided feedback on what was hot in learning and development and these results were compared to the last few years’ surveys to analyze trends. Most representation (c. 80%) came from five areas (North America, UK, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, India), with almost 50% from the UK and North America.

Collaborative/social learning and personalization/adaptive delivery not only remain unchanged from 2016, but also gained almost 25% of the votes between them (Table 1). Personalization/adaptive delivery, in second place since 2014 when the survey began, moved to first place this year.

Meanwhile, micro learning, new last year in fifth place, climbed to third place with strong global support. In 2016, North Americans led the voting on micro learning – they were twice as likely to vote for it as the other regions. This year more regions supported the option, and it ranked first in Australia.

Virtual and augmented reality (#4), mobile delivery (#7) and artificial intelligence (#8) all placed well. These 4 options collected over 30% of the overall vote. Two are new this year: Virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

With showing value up to #6 and consulting more deeply with the business at #5, it would seem L&D is serious about working with the business. But is it serious about growing its skills base to do so? Developing the L&D function has fallen to #13.

For more information and detailed analysis, download your own copy of the 2017 Learning & Development Global Sentiment Survey, sponsored by OpenSesame!