If you missed last month’s conference, or haven’t had a chance to reflect on what you took away, here’s your chance to hear about the latest elearning trends and hot topics for senior HR and L&D strategic thinkers.
Saffron Interactive was on the ground at #LT20, the industry’s foremost annual conference and exhibition in London. As well as holding court at our famous orange stand, we were recognised in seminar discussions by Rob Lang and Shivani Patel-Solanki of ACCA, and Ian Borkett of TUC’s unionlearn. They mentioned our ground-breaking work creating content that is learner-centric and gets verifiable engagement, as well as dealing with real-world problems such as identifying transferable skills. This is of particular importance in an age where automation will result in the disintegration of many job roles. We also had interesting discussions with senior members of high performing organisations about their focus for the coming year. Read on to find out more about the latest elearning trends.
1. Data and analytics
The ’20s, roaring or otherwise, are set to be the decade of data. Major corporations are already squirreling away as much consumer data as they can get their hands on. They use this data to create more effective product and investment strategies, and for increasing revenue.
It’s dawning on the L&D industry that consistently measuring the results of training provision is key to creating reliable success. This has been something that Saffron has always encouraged from its inception. That’s why we help clients periodically measure the effectiveness of the training after the program rollout.
At our stand, we were inundated with questions about just how we do this. We were quizzed on what internal quantitative and qualitative measures of success could be used to validate results as well as how we use random control testing to get reliable data analysis. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But since we’ve been doing this for over 20 years, we’ve developed a great methodology. We’ll be sharing tips on securing your data strategy in our newsletter. Sign up here to make sure you don’t miss out.
2. Soft skills
The seminar we presented at the exhibition discussed not only the importance of soft skills in the fourth industrial revolution (that we’re currently inhabiting) but also how these can be acquired at speed. We proposed techniques such as deliberate practice and creating time for learning through easing cognitive load.
The main topics of conversation surrounding soft skills right now are securing employment for experienced workers and developing skills in younger workers. HR departments are no longer just relying on strategies to get the right skills within an organisation. Now they’re incorporating multi-tiered approaches that look to keep older workers in employment for longer.
3. LMS, LXP, or something else?
Every year at LT20, LMS and LXP systems seem to multiply in numbers. But many of the people that came to us were thinking outside the box. They asked what can be done through Tin Can API mixed with robust marketing analytical tools This is exactly what we’ve been talking to clients about over the last year. We’ve recently started implementing these types of bespoke solutions – three in the last month alone.
4. The science of learning
You might notice a theme amongst the latest elearning trends presented here. Clients are demanding a higher standard of accountability with the learning they are being supplied. Training and development are rightly being recognised as a vital part of business success. As more money is invested, leaders need to be sure they’ll get a strong return on their investment.
That’s why Saffron uses behavioural science to inform our products and services. Relying on hard research to shape the nature of elearning courses means that training is built in response to human behaviour as opposed to rational thought. Incorporating behavioural insights and digital learning pedagogy into learning content means that business leaders can be more confident of its success, and better understand how it will work to upskill their employees. Measuring these outcomes and testing and refining them is key to getting that ROI to keep increasing.
As Saffron is a training consultancy, this approach has always been at the heart of our learning design – we codified it back in 2009. All of our designers are steeped in learning this methodology, which speaks to the transformative results that we have achieved for such clients as Michelin.
5. Point of need/ performance support tools
Point of need and performance support tools have started to become part of the L&D vocabulary again. We have been promoting learning in the workflow for the last three years, developing our own response to this need through Saffron eaSe. Point of need tools come in all shapes and sizes, but we saw a great response to our unique systems and processes software. It overlays any system to provide support just when needed and facilitates learning within the workflow. This is the sort of efficiency that business leaders are looking for when creating their training strategies.
As technological disruption and the pace of international trade increases, businesses are looking for solutions that will make sure their workforce can compete globally. In a time when productivity rates are dropping, Point of need tools are an attractive prospect. It’s becoming increasingly clear that agile, modern solutions are required to plug the skills gap urgently.
Like we discussed in our seminar, Chatbots are everywhere in the retail sector. They’ve been widely adopted as customer service agents by businesses looking to cut costs on human operators. But one of the latest elearning trends is to deploy these chatbots internally, to assist employees rather than customers.
Chatbots can be a very effective tool in assisting users to complete complex tasks, depending on what data and conversation flows they’ve been populated with.
It’s important to choose the right bot for your requirements. The Q&A bot is the bread and butter of the chatbot world – you’ve probably spoken to a few. It’s stocked with answers and can recognise certain phrases, but beyond that, they’re not intellectual heavyweights. Chatbots like these are great to support users in areas where they might have been trained already, to help remind them of finer details.
Saffron’s Skillsbot is a more sophisticated proposition, much more like speaking to a human mentor. These can offer the power of an entire learning solution, all in a conversational format. Examples might be a chatbot that coaches you to develop leadership and other soft skills, mentoring you through how to have a difficult conversation or negotiate a deal.
If you weren’t lucky enough to make it out to #LT20 or any of the other recent conferences in the L&D industry, now you’ll be up to speed with the latest elearning trends. The demand for quality training is huge and companies are under pressure to improve performance and productivity. That’s why the savvy elearning provider needs to use a combination of cutting-edge technologies with tried and tested methods. This is the way to hit the sweet spot between proven results with great value for money.
Why not come and visit us at the LT Summer Forum, coming up in a few short months.