4 Training & Development Trends for 2016

January 7, 2016

Update: check out the list of 2018 training trends.

training trends

In 2015, there were many exciting advances in learning and development. A few of the biggest training trends were mobile, social learning, and gamification.

These things will definitely continue to evolve in 2016. But we see a bigger movement surrounding and encompassing them: strategy and execution. This is going to be a year about:

  • Connecting training to shared, big-picture business goals;
  • Collaborating with other internal teams to achieve outcomes;
  • Better measurement of results; and
  • Pursuing the most effective solutions, not just training for the sake of training.

By focusing on strategy and execution, teams will build a stronger foundation for training and, in turn, more effectively use things like mobile, social learning, and gamification to improve performance. Work smarter, not harder, right?

4 Training Trends for the Year Ahead

Alignment with Business Goals
It’s not enough to teach knowledge, skills, or behaviors just for the sake of it. Training must connect to big-picture, company-wide objectives. Team members and leaders have to ask, “What do we need to be able to do so we achieve our business goals?” and “How will we measure and show the impact of training on performance?” Starting with the end in mind helps ensure the best possible solution is implemented.

More Cross-Department Collaboration
Everything—from L&D and HR to marketing and sales—is connected. A problem in one area can have a ripple effect on other areas of the business. A gap in product or service training can result in negative customer experiences. That drags down brand perception, which in turn can hurt sales and employee morale.

Working together means a shared vision for both short-term and long-term goals. It opens the door to greater transparency and makes sharing data and correlating training to results easier.

Improved Analytics
More and more companies will call for reporting that goes beyond training completion rates and satisfaction surveys. Focus will shift to measuring changes in behaviors and KPIs such as revenue per employee and analyzing how those results correlate to training initiatives.

Problem Solving
New training courses or technology isn’t always the answer to making people more productive or successful. Organizations will dig deeper to understand the root cause of performance gaps and find the right solution—which may or may not include training.

The companies that are going to take 2016 by the reins are the ones who smash silos, establish shared goals, fight for the right solution (not just any solution), and relentlessly measure performance and business results.

How about you? What trends in training and development are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know in the comments, or give us a shout on Twitter @unboxedtech.

About the Author

David Williamson is a Director of Content Strategy. His lovely wife and charming children have turned him into a real-life grown-up, and his writing has come a long way since the delightfully unreadable work he composed as a four-year-old. His more recent output showcases a mastery of craft, style, and, most notably, real words and complete sentences.


  • […] first challenge and trend to keep track of is aligning business goals to the company’s vision and values, which means that training sessions should not be done just […]

  • True that Training needs to have a clear(er) connect with the Organisational goals, and be able to create creative solutions looking beyond standard Training and Coaching practices. The key drivers are certainly going to be what companies adopt as their Training success indicators. Radical shifts are both necessary and anticipated towards adoption of strong certification standards (and a follow up strategy closely tied in to training and performance management tools) along with success indicators like RPE, Skills Barometer, etc.

  • Suddhir.Pawar says:

    Very true strategically, but I see a gap In what is communicated in objectives and what is actually desired. Resulting in not as achieving desired results. There is a need to mentor Leadership for a productive human resource which in my opinion is very sensitive. Suddhir

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