January 21, 2019

5 learning trends we should push this year

Learning is an important and lifelong activity for any human being. We continue to learn and absorb new things every day. But to really learn, we have to apply our knowledge in real life. There isn’t one consistent action for gaining knowledge every day.

The best way to understand this is to think about reading. Reading is one of the best ways to gain new insights or understand a topic better. But if you were to only read without thinking further about what you have read and how it could help you, it would mean nothing. Additionally, you’ll never understand or confirm your assumptions unless you apply what you know.

Learning, I’d say, is like a bowl of tom yum soup. This is a dish that has a lot going on but it works best when there’s a balance of flavours that suit your preference. So consider this recipe for learning: add a whole lot of reading, a generous amount of Q&A sessions with your teacher or facilitator, and maybe a pinch of discussion with your peers.

With all the changes happening in our world, continuous learning is the only way to keep ahead. But learning must evolve as well. As the world changes, people change too — and their learning styles change with them. The approach to learning is no longer one-size-fits-all. Because of this, here are five learning trends that you should push in your own learning journey.

The first trend is personalised learning. Learning is no longer limited to a classroom or reading books. Learning can happen through online courses or even YouTube tutorial videos. Personalised learning allows learners to tailor their learning in more effective ways, when, where and how they like.

Additionally, personalised learning also allows for learning at a higher speed. You can skip what you already know and add on to that knowledge to become better at the topic or skill.

The second trend is gamification, also known as game-based learning. Online courses and training workshops have applied gaming concepts to learning. Those gaming elements include points, achievement and reward systems.

Gamification is great for two reasons. First, in an age when information available in a few clicks, we are seeing a decrease in people’s attention span. Gamification can create better engagement with learning. Second, the ability to recall learning content has also decreased. Gamification holds learners’ interest so that they can better remember and apply their learning.

The third trend is bite-sized learning. You cannot avoid learning theory or concepts — it is the basis of understanding broad topics. But sometimes, it can be vast and boring. Bite-sized content is great because it gives learners the right amount of information to keep them engaged and able to absorb what they are being shown.

In addition to game-based learning, bite-sized content can offer learners a better approach. This applies to important basic theories and concepts. And because learning is segmented, learners can immediately practise afterward.

The fourth trend is the shift toward a learner-centric focus. In the past — and to a certain extent today — learning focused on pushing content to learners whether they like it or not. But today, learning should focus on the learner, their learning goals and how they learn to achieve those goals. This is necessary because the approach to learning is different for each individual.

Instead of pushing content people don’t want, engage the learners with what they need to grow. There is, of course, an exception for some content. When one specialises in a skill or topic, certain content is still important. But it still doesn’t mean the content has to be force-fed. The learner has to control their own learning to stay engaged and motivated.

The fifth and final trend is collaborative and social learning. Learning has always been a personal journey as each individual learner has their own goals. Yet, that doesn’t mean some goals can’t overlap with those of other learners.

Learning on your own can be great as you set your own pace, but learning with others leads to discussion and thus, more opportunities to learn. With overlapping learning goals, individuals are able to increase their learning opportunities in social and informal settings through online forums or networking events.

Learning is essential — without it we don’t grow and if we don’t grow, we cannot keep up with change. In the new year of 2019, it is time to level up your learning for yourself and for your business and organisation.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa