Since the onset of COVID in early 2020, we have been witnessing rapid changes in the way learners want to learn. And there is no sign of that slowing down. In fact, there is even more pressure now for training providers to deliver truly effective and accessible training that meets the needs of modern learners. But what does that look like in 2022? In this article, we delve into the top trends.
When COVID hit in 2020 we saw the training industry pivot to remote – zoom webinars and self-paced platforms. Online, self-paced learning seemed like the perfect solution in a rapidly changing training industry and we saw a mass roll-out of new learning tech companies (Go1, Thinkific etc).
In 2021, with the world mostly still in lockdown, online training remained the most prevalent. But, completion rates of self-paced, online courses were plummeting. Both learners and trainers alike started to pull back from these types of platforms. So much so, that Thinkific posted a $26.4 million US dollar net loss and laid off 20% of its employees as a result.
2022 came along and the world started to return to normal. With people once again craving face-to-face contact, it means adapting our approach to training once again. This time to a blended learning approach using a variety of delivery formats. Including face-to-face, live online webinar, quizzes, video, podcasts and surveys.
2022 will continue to see the growth of blended learning in the training industry. But even within blended, there are ways to extend and improve its effectiveness. We’ve drilled down into four more trends we expect to see in 2022 – micro, mobile, continuous and social. Let’s take a look at them in more depth.
2022 training industry trends
Gone are the days of one, two or even five-day long classroom-based block courses. When COVID hit the world in 2020, we saw a pivot from classroom to remote instructor-led training. But with this new delivery method came new challenges in keeping learners engaged. Training providers adapted by creating shorter sessions over a longer period of time, sometimes complementing them with eLearning modules.
Two years on it is clear that this isn’t a temporary approach to weather the COVID storm, but a permanent change in the way that we learn.
Why? Because it’s proven to be more effective and more accessible.
And now, we’re seeing training providers refine this approach by breaking course material down into even shorter learning bursts. Otherwise known as micro learning. Micro learning is about focusing each training session around just one single learning outcome. Whether that be instructor-led, on-demand, or an eLearning module.
Should you implement micro learning in your training strategy? According to RTPS research, Micro learning improves focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80%. And with hundreds more stats just like that one, it’s a no-brainer, really.
Micro learning tips for training providers
- Create your micro learning content to resemble social media content – bite-sized and media-rich.
- Aim for 3-7 minutes of learning via one medium before switching to something else. For example if you’re running a live online instructor-led training session, then switch to an activity or breakout room after no more than seven minutes of talking.
- Remove as much unnecessary history, background and theory as possible. Add just enough for context, then cut to the chase.
- As mentioned, focus each micro learning session around one single learning outcome.
A recent study by EdTech Magazine shows that 67% of learners are already using mobile phones to complete their coursework. That includes everything from interacting with an LMS, accessing a live online session with a trainer, researching topics, and completing modules and assignments.
What we can gather from this is that mobile learning is a trend that has been driven by learner preference. It is a trend that has well and truly arrived, whether training providers are ready for it or not.
Another recent study by Growth Engineering UK shows it’s a trend worth investing in. They found that 64% of learners find accessing learning on a mobile device essential to their progress. 70% of learners are more motivated to learn when they use mobile devices. And that mobile learning can increase engagement by 72%. Those numbers are overwhelmingly positive.
“Mobile learning can increase engagement by 72%” – Growth Engineering UK
There is no doubt that mobile learning is a truly powerful trend for learners and trainers alike. It is essential that training providers jump on board and adapt their materials and delivery accordingly. But what does that look like in practice? Here are some top tips.
Mobile learning tips for training providers:
- Ensure course content, assignments and resources are mobile-friendly
- Ensure websites and LMS systems are mobile-friendly
- Or, have a downloadable app
- Ensure instructor-led online training sessions can be easily attended from a mobile device.
British psychologist Cecil Alec Mace first came up with the idea of “spaced repetition” in 1932, and wrote about it in his book “The Psychology of Study”. The idea that spaced repetition could be used to improve learning was tested on more than 3,000 students and was proved to be effective.
There have been many more studies since, further proving its effectiveness. Including a recent one cited by the Harvard Business Review that shows by using spaced repetition we can remember about 80% of what we learn after 60% days.
In short, spaced repetition is about studying material in short sessions, over a continuous period of time. This supports the trend of micro learning that we touched on before, but it also means providing learning opportunities well beyond the completion of the training course. This could be in multiple forms – including:
Continuous learning tips for training providers
- Giving learners access to an online resource library
- Ensure they know how to apply the learnings to real-world situations immediately. Get managers on board too, and create feedback loops
- Creating a community group for ongoing peer-to-peer discussions
- Automated emails in the following weeks and months with links to surveys and quizzes to reinforce key knowledge points
- Providing ongoing support and access to trainers
- Reinforce learnings with follow-up courses.
Continuous learning is not only an effective way to improve knowledge retention, but improves return on investment for businesses, and creates a premium learning experience that will make more money for your training business. It’s a winning recipe.
Traditionally instructor-led training has been based on students listening to a trainer for a lengthy period of time, with little to no interaction between learners themselves. But studies have shown that social interaction is key to keeping learners engaged and driving better learning outcomes.
“Social interactions lie at the heart of engagement, motivation, persistence and learning” – Inside Higher Ed
If you’re not already familiar with the 70-20-10 model, the breakdown is this: Individuals obtain 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational events.
The 70-20-10 model was designed as a corporate learning model, and the 20% “interactions with others” is through a variety of on-the-job activities. These include social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning and other methods of interaction with peers.
However, it can be easily translated to the training industry and training providers can harness the benefits of this approach too. Encourage collaboration between learners during classroom-based, and live online learning. Set-up and encourage peer mentoring. Set-up forums for ongoing group interaction and support pre and post-course.
There’s a growing list of tools available to support interaction and collaboration. Here’s a few we think are worth exploring.
Social learning tools for training providers:
So, is micro learning the top training trend in 2022?
Yes. But we think it’s one of four top trends – micro, mobile, continuous and social. Focus on implementing these trends into your blended learning strategy and you’ll be well on your way to training success for 2022 and beyond.
Micro learning takes blended learning to a whole new level – delivering short, focused bursts of content and activities to your learners. This type of learning provides even more flexibility for learners, caters to different learning styles, reduces Zoom fatigue, increases focus, and improves learning outcomes.
Mobile learning covers everything from interacting with an LMS, accessing a live online session with a trainer, researching topics, and completing modules and assignments. And with 67% of learners already using mobile phones to complete their coursework, mobile learning is a trend that has well and truly arrived.
Continuous learning is about studying material in short sessions, over a continuous period of time. Similar to micro learning, but it also means providing learning opportunities well beyond the completion of a training course. Think online resource libraries, discussion forums, and mentoring.
Social learning is about encouraging interaction between peers. It is key to keeping learners engaged and driving better learning outcomes. Encourage collaboration between learners during classroom-based, and live online learning. Set-up and encourage peer mentoring. Set-up forums for ongoing group interaction and support pre and post-course.
Is micro learning the top training trend in 2022? We think it’s one of four top trends – micro, mobile, continuous and social. Focus on implementing these trends into your blended learning strategy and you’ll be well on your way to training success for 2022 and beyond.