3 Trends in Workplace Learning Programs You Need to Know For 2018

3 Trends In Workplace Learning Programs You Need to Know For 2018

By Marquie Lazaro | March 29, 2018

A strong workplace learning program will have an impact beyond improving current employees’ skills. Many companies are recognizing this and rolling out or improving their learning and development (L&D) programs. A strong L&D program works for attracting top talent – and retaining key employees. It helps reduce turnover as employees upskill and advance their career by going into other roles within the company.

You may be worried about investing in employee training, only to see them leave. But a Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program report showed that 74.2 percent of its participants that increased training for employees also increased revenue within 18 months. So, what is good for your employees is also good for your business.

Whether you’re just starting to build your workplace learning program or you have an established L&D offering, there are some new trends to consider.


Research conducted by Microsoft showed that the average human attention span in 2013 was only eight seconds (one second shorter than a goldfish). And my bet would be that it’s gotten even shorter in the past five years because of the inundation of technology. So microlearning is the perfect answer for busy professionals to continue their education.

The idea of microlearning in the workplace is to offer short lessons – often, a series of them – to accommodate employees’ short windows of time between projects. A library of modules (for example, videos or interactive digital content) allows employees to do a quick lesson here and there as time permits. It empowers them to be in control of their training.

While microlearning works well for ongoing training, it is also useful for onboarding. You can automate some of this information by delivering via training videos or digital modules. Set a deadline for each group of mini-sessions so new employees can start integrating with their team immediately.


The days of learning only through higher education are over. There are so many options to offer employees when it comes to an L&D program [read: apprenticeships with senior employees, certificate programs, educational videos, learning management system (LMS) modules, universities and colleges]. But one thing is for sure: According to Deloitte’s “Global Human Capital Trends 2016” report, employees at all levels expect “dynamic,” “self-directed,” “continuous” learning opportunities from their employers.

Everyone learns differently, and some are more motivated than others to continue their education. So, make your L&D program as self-directed as possible. Sure, you may have some required ongoing training that employees need to complete, but when it comes to upskilling, empower employees to take control. This is where self-guided modules and access to a large library – and multiple learning options – will be helpful.

Instead of dictating how employees should learn, give each level of employee a budget to work with on a yearly basis. HR Magazine found companies that invested at least $1,500 a year per employee on training had 24 percent higher profit margins than companies that invested less. By giving employees a budget for continuing education, it gives them the option of getting an advanced degree, completing a certification program or doing some Lynda.com courses, for example.

Soft skills

According to LinkedIn’s2018 Workplace Learning Report,” the top priority for L&D programs in 2018 is how to train for soft skills. After all, as companies are required to be more adaptable and innovative than ever, they value employees with strong soft skills to keep up with the ever-evolving work environment and business landscape.

Deloitte’s2017 Global Human Capital Trends” report showed that 92 percent of executives rated soft skills as a critical priority. So, give your employees an advantage by offering learning opportunities for skills like communication, time management, problem-solving, teamwork, stress management and creative thinking. It’s often said that technical skills get employees a job but soft skills help retain them.

eLearning courses offer a solid foundation for soft skills, then you could host web-based simulations that provide more of a hands-on experience. Once your employee has learned these soft skills, it’s important to have an open discussion with them about how they’ve incorporated the skills into real-life situations. This way, they’re comfortable with feedback and coaching when it comes to these newly acquired skills.

The trends in workplace learning may be different next year, but these three movements will still be relevant to employees. So, investing the time and energy to make improvements to your L&D program will be worthwhile to your employees – and your business – for years to come.

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