Technology is impacting our daily lives and work spheres, and training and development is no exception. Companies are using advanced software, technology tools and techniques to transform their traditional learning methods and strategies. With gaps in skills and talent becoming more complexed and challenging, organizations are using technology more than ever to understand their training requirements and create impactful learning and training programs.

Here are some of the top technology trends taking place in the learning and development industry:

Mobile Learning: According to e-Marketer, the number of smartphone users worldwide is expected to surpass two billion by the end of 2016. In fact, almost two-thirds of Americans are predicted to own a smartphone by 2017, more than a threefold increase since 2010. The widespread adoption of mobile phones along with mobile devices such as tablets, netbooks, personal digital devices (iPods), etc. is allowing organizations to use the power of mobile technologies for their workforce training. Mobile learning has introduced microlearning, which is basically a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts. With creative and digestible learning modules such as five-minute how-to-do videos, or bulleted help document, learners have a higher absorption and retention rate of knowledge. Mobile learning will soon be the most preferred medium to reach the millennial workforce, who wants everything at their fingertips, anytime and anywhere.

HTML 5 and Responsive LMS: With the advent of mobile learning, learners can take the training course at their own preferred time and place from varied mobile devices. Hence, it is important to look into aspects such as user experience, responsiveness, etc. from the mobile users’ point of view. HTML5 is the most recent version of HTML, which is adaptable, faster and accessible on all platforms, devices and browsers. Learning management systems (LMS) are also incorporating responsive technologies, which modify the content delivery and placement according to the device’s capabilities and limitations. HTML 5 also enables offline storage and data management to help users even when they are not connected to the internet.

Big Data: Big data refers to the large amounts of both unstructured and structured data available within and outside the organization. In the learning world, as most learning activities take place through digital tools such as LMSs, content management systems (CMS) and other media, people have the accessibility of rich information providing details and insights on user’s learning process, behavior, etc.  With big data analytics, one can now find out hidden insights, which is almost difficult to find out in traditional learning settings. Organizations can find out user’s learning patterns and based upon patterns, have the power to predict where learners may struggle, as well as where they may excel.

Virtual Learning and Avatars: Virtual avatars usually carry a human-like appearance, in the form of a cartoon, photographic representation, or very realistic looking 2D/3D characters. These avatars are used to bring the human touch and interaction into the e-learning world. Avatars are used to deliver online learning in a human-like manner to make learning interesting, engaging and memorable. Virtual platforms such as Second Life, Minecraft are used by organizations to create an engaging learning environment.  These virtual platforms are actually 3D computer environments where each user is represented by a character – avatar, which is used for creating simulations and environments for learning and interaction.