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Are we in a golden age of learning? It certainly feels like we are. Each year we get some new tool to make learning easier. And every year employee training becomes more interactive and more cost effective. Driving these trends are, of course, changes in technology. But it’s also being driven by changes in the way that businesses organize themselves too.

 

The industry is clearly changing. We’ve seen double-digit increases in the amount of e-learning since 2010. And that trend doesn’t seem to be stopping. We’ve also seen the rise of increasingly intuitive tools that make employee training much more straightforward.

 

Today we’re going to look at some of the trends that are defining the way businesses train employees in 2016. What implications do they have for HR departments going forward?

 

Gamification

 

Businesses are starting to innovate when it comes to education. They want to make sure that they get the biggest bang for their buck. And so they’re turning to some of the most effective ways to learn that have come out of the education industry in the last decade. Perhaps the most commonly known of these is so-called gamification. Gamification is fundamentally a way of turning the process of learning into a game. And it works because employees are truly engaged in what they’re doing. Gaming gives employees an immediate purpose to the learning experience. It isn’t something abstract. It’s objective-driven and something that is rewarding, as explained by cio.com.

 

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The trend is particularly popular among millennials. This is the generation that has grown up with videogames as a part of their lives. And because of this, they’re highly receptive to the technology. They have an understanding of what makes gamification such a compelling concept. And they’re able to benefit from the rewards.

 

The science behind gamification is also now quite highly developed. The fact that science suggests that gamification is a game-changer makes it very interesting to companies. Here they have a tool that can genuinely excite and engage their employees, especially younger employees. But companies have to be careful. There are many different ways in which people learn. And so it’s important that if games are used, that they are tailored to individual need. There’s no point trying to get a hands-on learner to try to learn from a 3D video experience. It’s unlikely to be effective. But aside from that small caveat, gamification looks here to stay as the state of the art learning tool.

 

Health And Safety As The Driver Of Efficiency

 

Companies used to believe that health and safety was an overhead. It was something that they had to do because of regulation and the threat of legal action. In other words, it was a drag on their business.

 

But that view has changed significantly over the last few years. And this year we’ve seen a critical mass of new opinion on the subject. No longer do businesses consider health and safety to be a drag. Rather they see it as a way to improve the efficiency of their companies.

 

Here’s why. For starters, workers who feel safer and who are healthier are more productive. Thus health and safety training is now seen as an investment, not a cost. It’s a way of increasing the human capital of your business. But health and safety training is also regarded as a way to better market your business. Companies that treat workers well generate massive amounts of positive feeling among the general public. And this feeds in nicely to their brand image. So health and safety have become a way to secure the ethics of a company in the minds of customers.

 

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Now many companies are turning to health and safety consultants, like those at elliswhittam.com. These experts provide in-depth advice on how businesses can improve their health and safety. The idea here is, of course, to be compliant. But there’s also an awareness that health and safety can drive ROI as well.

 

Customised Learning Experience

 

The old -model of learning was that employees engaged in long sessions with trainers. Often these sessions could take up to eight hours a day. They were designed to be intense, but they weren’t often that focused.

 

But things are changing. First of all, the learning platforms themselves are becoming more consumerised. That means that they’re becoming a lot more intuitive to use. Thanks to tools like the cloud, external IT companies manage the systems when they used to be done in-house. And employees can far more easily use the systems.

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But training services have also realized that the old approach wasn’t all that efficient. Sitting employees down for hours at a time isn’t an efficient use of their time. Employee time was mainly wasted when training services covered material that wasn’t entirely relevant. Now the trend is towards more micro-interactions with training software. Employees come to train when they need to learn something specific. In other words, training is becoming more “on-demand.”

 

Diversity Training

 

Diversity has become something of a buzzword over recent years. But it’s becoming something that is increasingly important to businesses in general. Why? Well, there’s some science behind all of this. For starters, training in diversity is important for a healthy social environment. Colleagues need to be able to trust each other, no matter what their background. But there’s also evidence that suggests people work better when there are a variety of cultures.

 

One of the traps that many businesses fall into is employing people who are very much alike. This becomes especially bad when they do this for all their senior posts. People who are alike are all likely to agree with each other. Because of this, companies can end up making mistakes on direction. Having a mix of cultures and background introduces new ideas to the mix. And these new ideas can prevent companies from getting into the habit of group-think. Challenging colleagues about the direction of the company is healthy for the company overall. And so that’s why diversity training is so important in 2016. Companies recognize the importance of culture, and they’re doing what they can to change it.

 

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