2019 Global Sentiment Survey

What learning technologies will be hot in 2019?

Since 2014, the Learning & Development (L&D) Global Sentiment Survey conducted by Donald H Taylor, Chair of the Learning and Performance Institute, has asked L&D professionals across the globe: “What do you think will be hot in L&D next year?”

This seems an odd choice of words, right?  Wouldn’t it be better to ask people detailed questions about goals for the year? Or what initiatives or new technology will they undertake? Turns out, when you ask L&D people what they will do next year, the answer tends to always be ‘more of everything’! Checking back at the end of the year to what changes L&D programs actually made…the results were always fairly limited. Although well-intentioned, intent is not always a guide to the future.

In contrast, the question “What do you think will be hot in L&D in 2018?” explicitly assesses sentiment rather than intent, hence the survey title, The Global Sentiment Survey. In a recent OpenSesame webinar with Donald, he revealed and analyzed the results of this year’s survey results, which included 1,953 voters from 92 countries. Voters select up to three answers from a list of 15 options, and generally finish the survey in less than a minute. The 2019 options included:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Collaborative / social learning
  • Consulting more deeply within the business
  • Curation
  • Developing the L&D function
  • Learning analytics
  • Learning experience platforms
  • Microlearning
  • Mobile delivery
  • Neuroscience / cognitive science
  • Performance support
  • Personalization / adaptive delivery
  • Showing value
  • Video
  • Virtual and augmented reality

The results

(3 options were dropped from the 2018 survey: MOOCs, Games/gamification, and Next generation learning platforms. The numbers in parentheses next to the options is the position that options was in 2018’s survey)

Personalization / adaptive delivery stayed in the top spot as the hottest L&D technology from last year, with artificial intelligence (AI) and learning analytics rounding out the top three.  What does this tell us?

  • Personalization leads the table for the third year in a row, but for how long will this continue? Its share of the vote declined this year, as it did the previous year. L&D could be shifting to a better approach to personalization, as opposed to going away all together. We’ll keep a closer eye on it for next year.
  • Artificial intelligence continues its unprecedented rise from #8 in 2017 to #3 in 2018 to #2 today. This is very significant as no other technology has seen such growth in interest across the history of this survey. This is a trend we don’t see declining any time soon. If anything, we see the technology developing and people getting more excited about it as it becomes adoptable at organizations.
  • Learning analytics led the voting for several weeks at the beginning of polling. This new entry to the 2019 survey is clearly a strongly-favoured topic and indicates a future trend in data to be paying close attention to.

Personalization, AI and learning analytics all taking the top selections reflects that this year will be all about data. This is a new trend from the 2018 survey, which focused mostly on learning and development as part of the business with an increased interest in AI, but nothing significant to note as a trend yet. We are now seeing based on this year’s results that learning and development is switching to be a potentially purely data-driven department. Adopting and understanding this change will be a crucial part of the future of how we deliver learning.

To learn more about the 2019 Global Sentiment Survey results, check out OpenSesame’s webinar recording here.

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