Trends for Learning 2018

The Changing Nature of Work and Learning

We are in a time of profound change, where everything from business and lifestyle to politics and personal lives is being profoundly affected by the impact of digital disruption and transformation. Although the full scale of this disruption may not yet be felt in many aspects of corporate learning, its potential to shift the learning landscape significantly is becoming apparent.

The scale and scope of change in our living and working environments is such that it almost defies pulling back to compile a comfortable, tidy list of trends, or a neat list of “what’s up, what’s down.” Learning trends need to be viewed in a bigger picture context, with an understanding of the wider disruptive forces that are changing and will continue to change the field of learning.

Intuition’s new series The Road Ahead: Trends for Learning 2018 looks at this changing face of learning and, against that backdrop, examines what we see as the most significant emerging digital learning trends.

In this series, we identify three big forces driving transformation that we believe will significantly impact learning: AI, Analytics and Automation. These are umbrella areas that are either already beginning to touch the learning sector or can be expected to influence the shape of learning in the medium term – impacting what people need to learn, how they learn, and how we design, develop, and deliver learning to meet their needs.

Within this shifting wider landscape, we detail the following trends that we see as the most pervasive in the learning space.


A persistent trend for some time now and one that we can expect to continue. With a dawning realization that it has some limitations, as well as its much-touted advantages, and that microlearning is good for some things and not others, we anticipate that the hype will trail off and microlearning will take its place as one more tool in the arsenal of learning formats, one more component in the blend.


This one is definitely here and now, and we can expect uptake of video to continue. With a preference for short video (under 5 minutes), it goes hand in hand with microlearning. Video is expected to continue apace, with organizations open to the full spectrum of production values, from guerilla to high-end. The challenge is to develop it in interactive ways to maximize its value, with a watchful eye on technologies such as enhanced video and 360 interactive.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

This is a great headline grabber, but in reality, it’s moving somewhat slowly, partly due to costs and complexity of implementation. That said, there are some great examples of its application in particular areas. Augmented reality may be moving faster than virtual, with 2018 expected to be a big year for augmented reality tech.


This promises to tick all the boxes of addressing the challenges and demands of being a modern learner – increasingly discerning, tech savvy, self-directed, but time-pressured – and meeting the expectations arising from consumer technology experiences and trends: provide me with what I want, when I need it, and just for me. Some long-standing features, such as using first names, diagnostics, and learning paths, are all levels of personalization. More sophisticated data analytic driven personalization in learning is still at early stages, but we can expect it become more developed as data analytics advances.

User Experience Platforms (UXPs)

An exciting area that is generating increased attention. When or if they deliver on all that they promise remains to be seen, but as an indicator of the direction that learner and organizational learning needs and expectations are taking, and potentially suggesting a growing appetite for a new model of learning and knowledge access, UXPs/LXPs are worth watching.


Continues to be important, but in different ways and for sometimes different reasons. Regulatory content dominates the conversation in some areas; content requirements are emerging in new areas, such as fintech; and the changing world of automation brings a new focus to perhaps uniquely human skills, such as critical thinking and creativity. For learning and development (L&D), increasingly user-friendly development tools make it easier and faster to produce learning content. However, issues such as managing the deluge of content to provide learners with what they really need and managing and facilitating content from many sources, including user-generated and shared content, continue to challenge.

The Ecosystem and the Blend

What becomes clear in the increasingly wide array of tools for learning is that there is no one stand-out approach that will solve an organization’s learning needs. Increasingly, solving problems becomes about drawing on an ecosystem of tools, a blend if you like, that is customized and adapted to an individual organization. We expect this area and the sophistication of thinking about these blends to evolve pulling from a wide palette, from personalization to micro, spaced, and beyond, and drawing from the thinking behind emerging technologies and emerging disciplines like Mind, Brain, and Education science. We will also highlight some more futurist but developing areas worth keeping an eye on, such as the emergence of voice-driven search, the use of Chatbots for learning, and an upsurge of interest in areas such as the booming topic of Wellbeing.

With all of these components in the mix, the question in this transformational landscape is how best to support your organization to optimize business performance.

Talent is crucial. Your people are your key success factor. Every organization gets this and is radically overhauling how their employees stay current and ahead of knowledge and skills needs: what trends to embrace, what technology to choose for your people’s learning?

We believe there is no single answer. The secret lies more commonly in using the best blend within an ecosystem of learning. Delivering successful solutions increasingly involves combining a variety of approaches and drawing on a range of tools and technologies to create destination learning ecosystems that will maximize individual, organizational, and business performance.

In the coming weeks, Intuition will be discussing the individual trends above in more detail. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss any of the insights in this piece with our consultants, email