Top 7 learning trends for 2016: Open University

Written by
Changeboard Team

11 Jul 2016

11 Jul 2016 • by Changeboard Team

When you consider learning; what motivates and excites you? Think back... who was your favourite teacher at school, and why?

"Mine taught Maths, I don't even like Maths, but the teacher made the subject interesting – and this is still very relevant for organisations today," says Simon Tindall, head of new business at the Open University (OU). "Employees still see learning as a chore. This needs to change," he adds.

This prompted Tindall and Mike Sharples, professor of educational technology at OU, to write their latest research report: Trends in Learning 2016. It highlights the key areas where leaders need to focus when producing L&D strategies in the modern workplace.

Here, we've pulled out the seven top learning trends and tips from the report...

Top 7 learning trends

The report covers these key areas and questions to consider:

1. Incidental learning. We learn something new everyday, from being a child right through to adulthood. How can we embrace everything we learn in everyday life and bring it back into the workplace? 

2. Adaptive teaching. Everybody learns differently. We all have our own knowledge levels and learning potential, strategies, experiences and preferences. How can you make training more personal?

3. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). With over 4,850 free online courses readily available and 35 million students signing up for at least one of these last year – what role do MOOCs play in the workplace?  

4. Accreditation badges. Why you should consider rewarding employees a 'digital badge' for undertaking informal learning in the workplace. This will help motivate employees, drive skills progression and continuous learning. 

5. Learning analytics. Understand how you can grasp the power of big data and implement learning analytics into your organisation. This way, business leaders can work with employees to set realistic goals – and celebrate success.

6. E-books. Are e-books the learning of the future? Discover how you can use them as a tool to transform working relationships, assess reading/learning habits, and foster collaboration. Did you know you can embed performance management assessments into them now too?

7. Mobile learning (m-learning). In recent research carried out by Towards Maturity, over half (57%) of respondents said they'd like to access learning on the go. What m-learning facilities do you offer in your organisation?


Top tips to get L&D right in your organisation

Tindall and Sharples revealed that business leaders need to:

  • Set the right culture for learning: Do your people feel encouraged and empowered to learn?
  • Shift the mindset: It's not about how advanced your L&D technology is – it's more about simplicity and the content you're offering. Ensure the content on your platform is engaging with your employees, as this will encourage all age groups to get involved.
  • Break down the barriers: Offer easy to access learning, whether it's m-learning with BYOD (bring your own device) on the go or providing allocated time slots to learn.
  • Focus on the design of learning: (Think about your favourite teacher) – what does that look like? Set goals, ask employees what they want to achieve, and set those goals together – empowering the employee to meet their own learning goal(s).
  • Follow the three learning principles: 1. Tell stories, to guide you through 2. Provoke conversation – share your experiences, what have you learnt and 3. Celebrate success – setting/achieving goals, and making this progress visible in your organisation.

To find out more and download your copy of the Trends in Learning Report 2016, click here.