Top 5 L&D tech trends to test drive yourself

We understand; the amount of new emerging in L&D tech can be mind-boggling – and outright scary – for many organisations. It’s hard to choose which bandwagon to jump onto.

As in other areas in life, the adage of ‘try before you buy’ can help inform you of the opportunities a new technology solution may hold, and your team will be coming out of it with new skills.

Having personally seen some incredible results, here are a few trends we believe live up to the hype and are worth giving a go.

1. Discover what a learning record store can do to make learning engagement more personal

Some things in life need to be experienced to be understood – and we believe a learning record store (LRS) is just one of those things.

An LRS has the potential to hugely improve the way you offer and track workplace learning. That’s why it’s well worth investing a little time experimenting with low-risk eLearning assets and some essential LRS functions to understand how it all works.

Dipping a toe into this new tech is as easy as finding a free LRS online, setting it up and trialling its functions with a voting or rating feature in one of your existing eLearning courses. Tracking and displaying learner ratings or votes and presenting them to a course ‘live’ is a great way to experiment. It will give you a first insight on your way to determining whether this technology could be suitable for your needs and it’s also a practical first step to building a business case for it.

2. Explore chatbot technology as part of L&D tech to help streamline your operations

Chatbots can be very useful in supporting any business function that encounters frequently asked questions (FAQs) from internal and external stakeholders.

If you have an extensive FAQ database, feed the questions and answers into a chatbot and test how people interact with it. Ideally, the person seeking information will instantly receive the answer they seek within the chatbot and find the correct information on your central location. Thus, they are no more waiting in helpdesk phone queues.

3. Consider user-generated content to freshen up your learning

Did you know your subject matter experts may have the highest credibility – and therefore highest learner buy-in – when it comes to job skills training?

Entice SMEs to create content such as vox pops, piece-to-camera interviews or videos of processes using smartphones that can be shared with learners. Review their effectiveness and curate any collaboration.

4. Add performance support tools to boost learning transfer

Performance support tools can be a powerful way to carry learning into workplace practice, but they are often neglected in the L&D tech stack.

First, incorporate principles like policies and concepts into a formal learning piece so your learners understand the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ that is involved. Then move the actual ‘how-to’ learning into moment-of-need learning pieces that people can search for and find when and where they need it.

These tools are especially useful for job activities that people don’t perform frequently and need that little extra support to get right.

5. Practice mobile-first learning design to understand its point of difference

eLearning design for mobile-first is different from its traditional counterpart where the deployment primarily happens on desktop screens. Mobile learning has played a more significant role for a while now, especially in engaging cohorts that aren’t desk-bound. Therefore, it would help to practise a few specific design principles behind good mobile learning design.

Use modern, mobile-first authoring tools to test this new way of learning design. Consider how the characteristics of mobile design will impact your learning content and structure, for example vertical screens and scrolling, screen haptics – and the limitations in some functions eLearning designers often use such as drag-and-drop activities.

Some interactions do not meaningfully translate onto a mobile screen, but on the other hand, there are many new interactions to discover in the vertical, mobile-learning world.

Reach out for help

If you are unsure where and how to start, you can always engage a learning consulting service to help you work through your barriers and to make sure the learning tech you’re trialling will actually fulfil a real business need of yours.

This article originally appeared in the Training & Development magazine, December 2021 Vol. 48 No. 4, published by the Australian Institute of Training & Development.