As learning partner to more than 300 organizations within the Asia Pacific region, we have seen some interesting learning trends emerge throughout 2015.
More business leaders are recognizing their organization must evolve and innovate to stay competitive. Re-thinking the way employees work is critical for organizations to make sure their workforce is agile and responsive to the pace of change. This need has, of course, only increased as a result of new technologies as well as innovation across business models.
So what’s in store for organizational learning in 2016? Here are my top predictions:
- Greater organizational preference for mobile devices
I have personally witnessed the “leapfrogging” of mobile-only learning technology in emerging and established markets across APAC – notably China – where some organizations have ceased using PC’s as the channel used to deploy learning materials, and have chosen Smartphones as their standard platform.
This is of course comes as a result of organizations’ broad desire to enable greater workplace flexibility, as well as a greater consumer preference for mobile devices generally. Mobile devices have become everyday tools for consumers, business professionals and learners alike. This proliferation of hardware will naturally lend itself to the proliferation of mobile learning content.
- Spike in buying intentions for mobile learning solutions
In 2016 we will see more organizations make mobile learning a greater portion of the learning mix. This is particularly pertinent when looking at China. China’s adoption of mobile learning for an organizational setting is by far the fastest growing in APAC. Research by Ambien Insight (2015) shows that after the United States, China was the second-largest Mobile Learning buying country in 2014. The research also shows that by 2017, China will overtake the United States as the top buying country.
Further, as employees become increasingly time-poor, it’s no wonder they are after Learning and Development (L&D) content that is more accessible – learning that embraces technology, curates content and places the power of learning into their hands.
- Increase in Big Data
Big Data is already being used at all levels of business for more accurate forecasting and strategic decision-making, and business decision makers are realizing the benefits of big data when it comes to organizational L&D. We believe organizations will truly start to embrace big data and predictive analytics as the forefront of L&D.
Why? The ability to provide learners with personalized and prescriptive learning options based on their past behaviors and preferences is a first for the L&D industry. At Skillsoft, we have almost one trillion data points for analyzing when, where and how employees learn best within business. By applying big data technology to this, we can optimize the learning experience and uncover new learning patterns through predictive analytics. Through this we have been able to create significantly more value for organizational learners than classroom-based instruction could ever have come close to offering.
- Security to remain a primary concern for IT
Of course, organizations will continue to face challenges when it comes to deploying mobile L&D solutions to learners. This is largely a result of security concerns, which will likely remain the single biggest issue for IT globally for some time yet.
The challenge for IT will be to quickly develop a strategy and then execute in order to support the organization. If this does not happen, opportunities will be missed and organizations will be at a high risk of losing their competitive advantage.
- L&D professionals will have a greater say in the procurement of learning resources
Business decision makers are increasingly understanding the relationship between poor quality content and a decline in overall organizational performance. With employees exposed to many sources of content – some good, some bad – L&D professionals will be given more responsibility around selecting relevant and credible content that aligns to organizational competencies and goals.
Only then can employees make well-informed decisions about their own learning. Empowering learners is key to good learning culture, and L&D professionals must be the educators and facilitators for change.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Asia Pacific customers for allowing Skillsoft to lead them through the organizational learning journey in 2015, and one step closer to becoming ‘Self Developing Organizations.’ I look forward to working together in 2016.
Glenn Nott is vice president and general manager, Asia Pacific.