10 Opportunities for Learning Leaders to Drive Change in the Industry

Learning leaders

In some ways, the learning industry evolves quickly and trends change all of the time (like these 3 trends we found earlier in the year). But in other ways, it’s not changing fast enough. Innovation in leadership development, employee development, and education is the lifeblood of staying current and competitive in today’s corporate landscape, and it’s up to learning leaders like you to drive that change.

Whether you’re an educator, an L&D pro, or a business owner, thought leadership and thinking beyond traditional learning is what separates the greats from those who are willing to follow–rather than lead.

Here are some opportunities for true visionaries to disrupt the learning industry.

1. Targeting The Most Reluctant Leaners with Soft Skills Training.

Not all students are amenable to learning, especially when it comes to soft skills like communication and leadership. Still, learning leaders can help even the toughest students (think healthcare professionals or industry vets) improve soft skills by highlighting what’s in it for them and changing learning paths so they’re more flexible and personal.

2. Thinking Beyond the Learning Environment.

Learning environment usually refers to the immediate circumstances in which a learner experiences training. But true leaders know that organizations need more than just a great classroom for learning to take place; in fact, a learning ecosystem–where a number of departments participate to shape attitudes on leadership and training–makes the biggest impact on how the entire organization learns.

3. Improving Productivity with Flexible Options.

By using eLearning applications to block out distractions and earn learner respect, high-level learning organizations are making employees more productive overall. Flexible options mean learners are able to take courses and experience learning on their own time, reducing time wasted on irrelevant material or one-size-fits-all applications.

4. Managing Millennials.

The big story in training for 2016, managing millennials centers on an organization’s ability to give them what they want: leadership opportunities; respect; support. The right onboarding makes all the difference in helping to create leadership pathways that keep millennials from leaving (while tapping their true potential). (P.S. We created a Millennial eBook that will help guide you in the right direction)

5. Learning and Development Outside the Office.

Today’s employee isn’t as tethered to his desk as he once was. Mobile options, telecommuting, and work-related travel means training needs to be as quick and agile as the learners themselves. Options for on-the-go learning as well as microlearning keeps training top-of-mind when learners are outside of the office.

6. Using Gamification for Intrinsic Motivation.

Game elements aren’t just for pure entertainment value. Rather, gamification can be used as a way to tap into learner motivation on a personal level. Adding competition, recognition, and the ability to “level up” makes learners want to participate and excel in their training based on their own drive to succeed, rather than simply checking something off of a list. (P.S. We have a free Gamification eBook all about how to apply gamification to your learning strategy.)

7. Filling Leadership Gaps via Soft Skills Training.

It’s no secret that organizations are struggling to fill the gaps in their leadership and succession training. From over-eager millennials to soft skills training, learning leaders know that the right eLearning needs to fill these gaps to turn out prepared, creative, skilled leaders. Utilizing microlearning can definitely help keep would-be leaders on the right track, but soft skills training should become a priority for organizations looking to groom the leaders of tomorrow.

8. Keeping Employees in the Zone.

Employees have tons of distractions, which makes keeping them in the learning zone an elusive task at best. But learning leaders can utilize neurolearning concepts that tap into sustainable learner engagement. Short bites of learning that create an emotional connection between learner and content actually light up the prefrontal cortex–the part of the brain responsible for memory, planning, and reason. By engaging these “executive functions,” learners have a better chance at remaining in that learning zone to absorb the information they need.

9. Using eLearning to Improve Customer Loyalty.

When you think eLearning, you probably think employees. But thought leaders know that employees aren’t the only ones that can benefit from better training. When customers are better educated on the function and use of a product or service, it can engender a strong sense of loyalty and pride. If knowledge is power, eLearning can open a new era of powerful consumers that are deeply loyal to the organizations that take the time to educate and engage.

10. Training with Wearable Tech.

Say what you will about Google Glass or the Apple Watch, but wearable tech will generate $30 billion in revenue over the next five years. The challenge for learning leaders is figuring out how to harness the power of that tech for eLearning applications. Nanolearning on a smartwatch or even incorporating virtual reality for scenario-based training could be the next wave of eLearning applications.

Say what you will about Google Glass or the Apple Watch, but wearable tech will generate $30 billion in revenue over the next five years. The challenge for learning leaders is figuring out how to harness the power of that tech for eLearning applications. Nanolearning on a smartwatch or even incorporating virtual reality for scenario-based training could be the next wave of eLearning applications.

Most L&D professionals are already well aware of the trending topics in training and eLearning, but it’s the true learning leaders that will take the industry to the next level through thought leadership and adapt to new techniques and technologies. Prove you’re a learning leader by acting as a champion for better training, improved leadership philosophy, and helping your company to become a high-level learning organization.