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Corporate Learning Trends Climb Toward the Cloud

Bob Little 

September 8, 2017

These days, the stock answer to questions about L&D delivery seems to be “blended learning.” Cynical? Perhaps. But it does illustrate how blended learning and e-learning have become part of the education landscape in the past few years.

However, the challenge for L&D professionals isn’t simply justifying the use of blended learning to enable learners to meet their organization’s changing needs. It is also to implement it by using the latest cost-effective cloud technologies.

About 31 percent of companies in a learning trends survey say the “70:20:10” (Experience, Exposure, Education learning ratio) framework is now an important part of their culture.  A further 17 percent say they plan to introduce it over the next year, according to the research by German online language training provider Speexx.

Technology and Learning Trends

“These responses illustrate a strong awareness of a blended learning model that was unfamiliar to these same L&D professionals a few years ago,” says Armin Hopp, president of Speexx.

“This comes as the technology platforms that are available to host all aspects of the 70:20:10 framework have developed greatly. Increasingly, organizations are making immersive use of collaboration and knowledge sharing platforms such as Yammer and Wikis.”

L&D professionals in France and Germany remain focused on the role of teachers and face-to-face training delivery, says Hopp. Elsewhere, however – notably in China, South America and Africa – a number of organizations are early adopters of online collaboration methods.

“Many Chinese companies, for example, are using WeChat and have integrated this across their whole organization,” Hopp says.

“Their experience is showing that this type of delivery can be as effective as teacher-based delivery. In time, this could encourage more teacher-focused organizations and cultures to try a more technology-enabled approach.”

Face-to-Face, or E-Learning Trends

The Speexx report also shows that 90 percent of organizations are using e-learning. And 43 percent say that they’ve “established or embedded e-learning” In the previous year’s survey, the figure was just 17 percent.

Only 11 percent say that e-learning is the most important training type, while 43 percent opt for “face-to-face training.” However, 51 percent believe that e-learning provides flexibility and instant accessibility.

“Maybe, these people believe that e-learning is already the leading corporate training delivery method,” says David Patterson, of market analysts Learning Light.

“In which case, opting for face-to-face training to become most important this year could be interpreted as signifying the inauguration of cyclical learning trends, where face-to-face training and e-learning take turns at being primary learning delivery methods. If so, this represents a logical but major advance for e-learning as a learning delivery mechanism.”

Mobile and Secure

Hopp says, “The apparent paradox in these responses arises from an evolving understanding that e-learning needs to be part of a wider portfolio of training delivery, embedded into the workplace experience, if it’s to be effective.

“These days, we all use mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets – both in and away from the workplace. Yet only 18 percent say that ‘leveraging learning everywhere’ is among their biggest challenges.

“A few years ago, L&D professionals were hampered either by their organizations’ ‘bring your own device’ policy or they had to work out how to secure personal or corporate mobile devices.

“Today’s issues are more to do with driving usage and less to do with security,” Hopp says. “There still appears to be an idea that data-protection issues are preventing the spread of mobile learning.”

Cloud is the Next Level

“E-Learning has delivered benefits of consistency, cost-effectiveness and ease of delivery,” Hopp says. “Now the challenge is to take e-learning to the next level and implement more elements of best practice.

“Cloud platforms for collaboration and L&D solutions are enabling mobile anytime, anywhere, access to learning,” he says. “L&D professionals are under mounting pressure to make good on the promise of cloud technologies.

“Ideally, you want to combine all the benefits of traditional face-to-face L&D delivery with cost-effective and consistent electronic ways of doing things.

“The more the technical environment emulates human one-to-one tuition, the more appealing and effective it is.”

Five Steps to Flexible Learning

Hopp argues that L&D professionals play a key role in driving their organization to develop a mature and flexible learning environment. He suggests a five-step process to achieving this:

1. Establish a benchmark – this should help an organization to find where it is on the journey to mature learning provision.

2. Audit the use of technology in corporate and private life. So, if there’s an app that you find useful in a non-work context, consider reflecting this in e-learning provision.

3. Make communications skills key.

4. Opt for easy wins. Identify a topic that lends itself to speedy, successful e-learning implementation.

5. Tap into current teaching expertise – rather than attempting to bypass existing, in-house teachers and trainers. Identify people in your organization who could be encouraged to become advisors and “champions of change.”


What mix of learning styles can you accommodate at work, and what are your hopes for learning trends? Leave your comment below!

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