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February 2013
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TD Magazine

Learning Technology Trends in 2013

E-learning is the number one technology-based learning and performance support method in which organizations will invest this year, according to recent research by Impact Instruction Group.

The corporate training and development firm's 2013 Learning & Development Technology Report cites that 86 percent of respondents will invest in e-learning in the coming months. Sixty-six percent will invest in webinars, 56 percent in video, 22 percent in mobile applications, and 14 percent in games and simulations.

Amy Franko, founder and CEO of Impact Instruction Group, believes the investment in mobile apps and games and simulations may grow as organizations continue to diversify. Employees increasingly expect technology to be available to them at work, and learning and development teams must incorporate technology solutions that are both current and forward thinking.

Younger generations in particular prefer to use the same technology for professional purposes as they do in their personal lives. "Organizations are branching out and allowing people to bring their own devices—called BYOD," Franko says. "This is a growing trend that has big implications for training."

Another major survey finding addresses organizations' learning and development technology strategies. Only 19 percent of respondents have fully designed and implemented a strategy complete with training, leaving 81 percent lacking either a technology plan or its execution.

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"Organizations that have laid out strategies and adopted technology are positioning themselves well to attract the best talent and ensure their people get the right training when they need it," Franko observes.

A balanced and blended strategy is most popular. The report describes several learning technology design and delivery trends, including short and focused e-learning courses combined with three- to five-minute video segments, brief webinars complete with performance support and job aids, and cloud-based tools used to assemble, share, and track learning content.

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In light of the survey's findings, Franko urges all learning professionals, regardless of role, to "be willing to research and familiarize yourself with new technologies so you can have knowledgeable conversations with your leaders and IT folks and can position learning and development as a vital partner to the business."

The 2013 Learning & Development Technology Report is Impact Instruction Group's second annual survey examining a leading topic in the workplace learning industry. Last year the company explored strategic relationship building, and this year it surveyed learning and development professionals across the United States for this pulse on current technology strategies.

About the Author
Community of Practice Manager, ATD  Ann Parker is senior manager of the Human Capital Community of Practice and the Senior Leaders & Executives Community of Practice at ATD. Prior to this position, she worked at ATD for five years in an editorial capacity, primarily for TD magazine, and most recently as a senior writer and editor. In this role, Ann had the privilege to talk to many training and development practitioners, hear from a variety of prominent industry thought leaders, and develop a rich understanding of the profession's content.
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