1. Mobile learning
The way information is consumed is always going to have a huge impact on learning, so the fact that mobile devices have become so completely interwoven with our working (and personal) lives means there is a real opportunity to capitalise on that from an L&D perspective.
People expect to be able to get what they need from a tablet or mobile now, but that doesn't mean learning can be solely delivered via this medium. Instead, what we will see is some really interesting ways of blending 'on the go' or 'just in time' learning with other types of experience such as classroom or experiential learning.
2. Leadership development
In our own learning and development survey carried out at the beginning of this year, respondents cited management and leadership development as their top priority. This ties in with other research from the London Business School, which found a worrying 60% of companies are facing a shortage of leadership talent which is impacting on performance.
It is clear to see, then, why leadership development is so high on the agenda for many organisations. In an increasingly competitive commercial world, great leadership can make or break a business, particularly when that business is experiencing significant change or uncertainty. The mix of experience, exposure and education is key when planning a long-term leadership development programme.
3. Coaching in talent management
The CIPD's 2014 annual learning and development survey highlighted coaching as one of the most popular talent management activities, and I would only expect its popularity to increase in 2015 as more businesses try to keep tabs on their talent pipeline.
Coaching can be a great way to identify and develop talent in a really targeted, personalised way, and it is a relatively cost-efficient way to embed learning throughout the organisation.
4. Alignment of L&D with business objectives
An increasing number of businesses are realising the true capability of L&D beyond simply training people. At its most powerful, L&D can have a huge impact on organisational performance. But in order to achieve this, the learning strategy must be intrinsically linked with the overall company goals and objectives.
I would expect to see this trend continue in 2015. Many organisations have already realised the benefit of aligning learning with business strategy, but this year we will almost certainly see those ideas being turned into action.
5. Measuring impact
The last few years have seen a change in the way L&D is viewed by organisations. People are less willing to throw 'training' at employees in the hope that something sticks. Today, companies want to make intelligent decisions when it comes to investing in learning, and they want to see a return.
We will therefore see an increasing number of businesses requiring L&D providers or departments to demonstrate measurable results both on investment and engagement and this is going to be a huge challenge for L&D professionals.
These are just some of the trends I predict for the coming year. But the L&D world is constantly evolving, with so many innovative ideas, and it will be very interesting to look back at the end of 2015 and see what really turned out to be the biggest trend.