17 Education And Learning Trends That Will Affect Your Organization This Year!

A history lession for the mini Clones and the Mini-Stormtrooper

Today, if organizations don’t take the time, spend the money and learn how to build world-class learning programs both for their customers and their employees, they will not be able to compete or lead their stakeholders into the future.

Learning investments are more important now than ever.

Learning Trends That Will Be Adopted This Year

Here are 17 education and learning trends in alphabetical order that many organizations are adopting this year. These trends are disrupting most traditional education programs.

1. Active-Participant-Centered Learning

Science proves that passive learning is a myth. Learning is a biological, cellular, electrical process that occurs in the brain and is active by nature.

2. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

More learners are bringing their own devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices) to work and learning opportunities. Organizations can leverage BYOD as research shows that a learner using his/her own device increases productivity and engagement.

3. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to expandable, on demand services and tools that are served to the user via the Internet from a specialized data center and do not live on a user’s device.

4. Collaborative Environments That Lead To Peerology

Research from several organizations illustrate that most adult learners prefer collaborative education opportunities with their peers. Listening to lectures is out!

5. Digital Habitats/Communities Of Practice

Online ecommunities and networks where learners can access information, post questions, leave comments and share with peers.

6. Evidence Based Education (EBE)

Education programming designed by the scientific evidence that leads to learning. Evidence coming from the field of Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, NeuroLeadership, Biopsychology and Organizational Psychology.

7. Fewer full-sized courses.

More learning snacks, small ePublications, videos and reference tools that can be accessed in short time spurts, anywhere, anytime. Too often in the past, organizations have used courses as a way to push out content instead of really trying to provide a learning opportunity for their customers. Online courses will remain big and designed to be consumed in small, consumable chunks.

8. Less focus on LMS and more focus on Tin Can or Experience (xAPI) API.

Typically a Learning Management System (LMS) has become a fixture inside of organizations. Yet few organizations seem to really use the LMS effectively except to house courses. While many online course providers ask for SCORM-compliant courses, (Sharable Content Object Reference Model which is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning), social learning and mobile devices have edged their way onto the learning scene. SCORM and LMS cannot track what individuals are doing on mobile devices.

Many believe that Tin Can API will ultimately replace SCORM as it allows tracking of lots of learning experiences including informal ones rather than course completion. An experience might be completing a course but could also be playing a game, participating in a Twitter chat, reading a blog or viewing a video.

9. Less Tell And PPT-Only

More focus on participation, interactivity, gamification and innovative formats. Less focus on delivery and more focus on learning design.

10. Less Trainers and More Facilitators, Curators And Community Managers

More focus on the audience as learners and less focus on speakers talking at audiences.

11. Mobile Learning

Bite-sized learning in small chunks that leads to specific implementation of outcomes. Less desktop, more mobile. The shift to mobile has happened faster in K-12 and college classrooms. It is also happening in business as the trend BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) advances.

12. MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses

Enabling learners to supplement their education and experiences with increasingly rich, and often free, online offerings.

13. Personalized and Customized Learning Opportunities

Personalized learning has been evolving for some time, and includes a wide variety of approaches to support self-directed and group-based learning that can be designed around each user’s goals, including personalized learning environments and networks, adaptive learning tools, and more.

14. Social Learning

Leveraging learning opportunities through social networks and social media. Less focused on formal structured training.

15. Tablet Computing

The rise of tablet adoption as a learning tool

16. Video as A Learning Tool

The flipped classroom is leveraging video today as a learning tool. Learners watch a video online and then attend face to face sessions to discuss.

17. Work=Learning; Learning=Work

The science proves that learning is work. It requires resources to think and be mentally engaged which is one of the requirements of learning. We have to shift our mental model of school as the correct way to learn to the model that the person who does the most work does the most learning! In today’s world of rapid change, the race will be won by those who see work and learning as synonymous and have embraced learning and unlearning.

Sources: NMC Horizon Reports, Bottom-Line Performance, Internet Time Alliance, Centre For Learning And Performance, Edutopia, Informal Learning Technologies, MindShift-KQED

Which of these learning trends is your organization adopting and using online and in face to face education programs? What barriers exist to keep your organization from implementing these learning trends?

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  1. Kevin says:

    Could you point me to an exemplar for MOOCs? In looking at a couple, I saw nothing to distinguish it from any other online course. Also, they were anything but “rich” experiences, with most of it still being text on screen (a 30+ yr old model)

    1. Jeff Hurt says:


      I’ve not spent time evaluating MOOCs for excellence and good adult learning techniques. Like in all courses, there will be good and bad ones. The biggest thing to remember is that they are semester and year long courses with a blend of synchronous and asynchronous techniques that are free and provide certificates. That’s what is disruptive about them.

  2. Sarah Lugo says:

    This is awesome! Good stuff!

  3. Deirdre Reid says:

    Kevin, I took Modern & Contemporary American Poetry at Coursera last year. It’s being offered again in September: https://www.coursera.org/course/modernpoetry. Taught by a UPenn professor with the help of several teaching assistants, it was a surprisingly excellent and effective learning experience.

    If the professor doesn’t know how or isn’t comfortable teaching in this way, the class is going to suffer. Al Filreis is a natural. Each week, we read poems and (sometimes) commentary on our own, watched videos of Al and his TAs discussing poems, sometimes watched other videos or heard the poets themselves reciting their poems, participated in discussion forums and had a live webcast. During the webcast you could ask questions or comment via Twitter, Facebook, discussion forum, phone or in person if you were in Philadelphia. If you wanted a certificate you also had to take simple quizzes and write (and review) essays.

    No text on screen, online learning has come a long way!

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