Five L&D trends to watch for in 2019

It’s another predictions piece! This way to find out what Doug Stephen thinks 2019 has in store for L&D.

Reading time: 4 minutes.

L&D has come a long way in recent years. In the past, many companies only offered one-time training programs to help employees with their onboarding process. Now, companies are using continuous L&D programmes as a competitive advantage for recruitment, upskilling and retention.

In fact, a recent workforce study found that an overwhelming majority of employees (86%) feel it is ‘extremely important or important for employers to provide learning opportunities.’ It is no longer a question of whether you need an L&D strategy, but rather what is the best strategy for your organisation?

To stay ahead of the competition in 2019, companies must continue to promote the value of L&D programmes and ensure that they align with overall business goals. This means mapping out programs that meet business needs, taking stock of current technology and skillset needs and helping prepare for the future. 

If you’re looking to refresh your L&D program this year, here are five trends to keep in mind: 

Video gets less fancy and more effective 

If you had a full-time job in the 80s, you probably remember watching a corporate video that included a monotone instructor, bright pantsuits and big hair. Video has been a compelling training format for decades and is still one of the most-effective platforms for disseminating L&D content.

The 2018 Training Industry Trends Report notes that artificial intelligence and machine learning is being used in L&D solutions to help organisations better understand learner behaviours. 

But today’s YouTube generation, video training needs to be created quicker and in more-digestible formats. Classic film cameras and green screen studios are being supplanted by mobile devices with tripods and motorised gimbals.

In 2019, we can expect to see even more of this ‘guerilla’ film production with high-end features with interactivity that will be distributed on mobile devices and applications for easy accessibility.  
Companies will embrace artificial intelligence solutions

The rise of AI technologies means that AI is now becoming cheaper and more widely adopted by online service providers. The 2018 Training Industry Trends Report notes that artificial intelligence and machine learning is being used in L&D solutions to help organisations better understand learner behaviours.


Intelligent technology can predict the training needs of an individual based on past behaviour, which then allows it to recommend content for that employee. In 2019, more companies will adopt AI-driven L&D solutions to give employees real-time guidance and personalised paths for their individual growth.

The students will become the teachers 

Employees are no longer solely looking for L&D programs to participate in – They also want a role in creating and shaping them. Many companies are finding that user-generated content is extremely beneficial for their L&D programs.

By using ubiquitous cameras and recordings, companies are able to increase the amount of content that is created by employees for training purposes. The L&D team can then curate this content and deploy it to the staff. In 2019, we can expect to see more companies empowering their employees to be part of the L&D program, both as teachers and students.

The gamification hype will diminish

For the past few years, gamification was the shiny new solution that every L&D department had on its holiday wish list. In 2019, gamification may lose a bit of its luster. Businesses are now looking for solutions that can offer the latest skills as quickly as possible to deliver immediate ROI.

Game mechanics that create ‘sticky experiences’ do not align with these priorities. Further, game mechanics often prioritise winning over other objectives, and gamification alone cannot meet the needs of a diversified business. For gamification to be successful, it needs to be supplemented with other L&D programs.

Deskless workers will get a training makeover

In addition to these predictions, we can also expect more emphasis to be put on training the deskless worker population. Google estimates that 80% of the global workforce is made up of employees without a desk or dedicated computer.

This encompasses a number of professions, including nurses, engineers and retail workers. These deskless workers often don’t have regular access to a computer, making it harder for them to receive training courses online.

To solve this problem, organisations are adopting mobile training that employees can access on their phones. Many deskless workers thrive on interactive training, which allows them to problem solve real-world situations. 

My biggest piece of advice for organisations that employ deskless workers? Customisation. Each organisation has a unique set of skills and training needs for that industry, and organisations must work with L&D vendors to develop the program that is right for them.


In addition to customisation, performance feedback is also critical. A recent survey of deskless workers found that 25% of the workers surveyed are not receiving any performance feedback from their employers. Performance reviews are critical to employee growth and retention and improving the review process should be top of mind for all employers in 2019. 

While we can’t predict everything that will happen in 2019, we know that organisations must prioritise training and development programs for their employees – or else face losing them to the competition. 


About the author

Doug Stephen is SVP Learning Division of CGS.



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