Have you seen the latest list of learning trends for 2015, yet? It might sound familiar to you. “Big data, gamification, mobile/micro/social learning.” These trends are supposed to be your focus for the year. You are supposed to be an innovative learning professional who integrates these throughout your learning strategy.


The real trend in learning and development, or in any business function where training is needed, is how the central challenges and pain points do not change much year after year. In many ways, organizations are still faced with the same central issues they dealt with five years ago… or more.

We conducted a Learning and Remembering Survey in December 2014 to learn more about these issues from subscribers to our Lessons on Learning newsletter, which includes our clients and other L&D professionals at Fortune 500 organizations. Do any of these challenges sound familiar?

  • Too much content delivered to learners and/or content that changes frequently.(39%)
  • Lack of knowledge transfer, lack of learner retention. (38%)
  • Lack of organizational buy-in, gaps in process and management support. (29%)
  • Lack of learner motivation, lack of focus. (26%)

See the full survey results here.

These four challenge areas came up again and again in the responses we received. The real trends to watch in 2015 are not new technologies or products, but rather recurring problems and pain points that organizations need to solve.

Organizations overload learners with content, and it changes quickly.

Organizations have more “information” to pass on to their employees than ever before. Product and service offerings may change frequently, or a compliance standard might have a new wrinkle that is critical to employees on the job. Regardless of the “what,” it’s clear that content overload is a big problem. It’s no wonder that survey respondents noted that…

Employees struggle to internalize the knowledge and skills they need to perform effectively.

Maybe your sales reps are spread across multiple locations… and the follow-up resources are dependent on what each location wants to do. Or maybe it’s difficult to actually connect what is covered in training to the job experience. Employees are often asked to internalize a large volume of information and recall it when needed. Is your training helping them do that?

The problem is that, even when L&D knows there is too much content, and that employees are not retaining it…

Stakeholders do not buy in to new training approaches.

Maybe it’ a middle manager who does not want to take employees off the phones long enough to play the new serious game you want to implement. Or perhaps it’s a shift manager who is not enforcing the compliance training that you need learners to take, even though you made it engaging and instructionally sound. Other times, stakeholders might be completely disconnected from what’s happening in the lab or on the sales floor.

Whatever the barrier, knowing that your training is broken is not enough to fix it. And when a manager or stakeholder becomes an immovable barrier and training stays the same…

Learners are not motivated to embrace the existing training.

Maybe they find the eLearning course boring. Perhaps sales reps are working around your training to Google facts on the products they need to sell, even though you tried to deliver product knowledge training that would help them retain this information. Sometimes, employees simply do not see the value in training. The return on investment for their time is unclear.

The training delivered needs to change… but how?

Is There a “Quick Fix”?

Controlling the flow of content to learners, ensuring knowledge transfer and maximizing learner engagement are all tall orders. If there was an easy answer, organizations would have figured it out by now!


Before you launch your next training initiative in 2015, take some time to identify the issues you are facing, or the problems you need to solve. It’s great to imagine how one or more of the “trendy” approaches can help solve these problems, but also consider what existing tools and resources can be used in a different way. Don’t forget to focus on the “why”… and measure success.

And no matter what programs you launch or delivery methods you choose, make sure the training you create is rooted in effective instructional design that truly drives both learning and remembering.


TiER1 Performance Indy

4022 Arbor Lane
New Palestine, IN 46163

See all our locations here.

phone: (317) 861-7281

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