Training Technology

5 Training Trends to Watch in 2018

Published by in Training Technology

Matte velvet-textured lipstick. Bold brows. A really good learning management system. Minimalist jewelry. “Millennial” pink.

These are the hot trends right now—at least, according to the internet. While I had to do some Googling to identify about 80% of them, I do know a lot about another set of trends: what’s on the horizon when it comes to eLearning technology.

What does the talent scene look like going into 2018? Read on to find out.

Top 5 Training Trends Going Into 2018

1. AR and VR

What is it?

The future is cool! It’s got holograms and stuff!

But seriously, augmented reality and virtual reality are cutting edge technology, and it’s quickly becoming clear just how useful their applications are in educational and occupational training settings.

Instead of watching videos or reading about a situation, soon you may be able to place your learners in roleplay situations where they can gain hands-on experience free of associated risk or hazards. If experience is the best teacher, it’s hard to beat AR and VR as a facilitator.

How can I use it?

While this is largely tech to keep an eye on and enjoy watching as it reaches maturity, there are some daring trainers and developers out there putting it into use already.

You can join them by building a VR classroom (which might be easier than you think).

2. Microlearning

What is it?

Microlearning is training broken down into bite-sized pieces to educate learners without requiring a massive time investment. It’s ideal for occupations that demand ongoing training but keep employees on the run, and it’s a good way to hold the attention of busy or easily distracted workers.

Microlearning is effective and gaining popularity, and we’re starting to see a shift from using microlearning as a course supplement to employing it as a stand-alone method of corporate eLearning.

How can I use it?

I recommend taking the app route to harness microlearning for yourself. There are plenty of microlearning-focused learning management systems out there—such as SkillPill—and there’s a lot you can do to maximize their use.

3. Increased social learning

What is it?

Social learning is education aided by making it a shared activity. With eLearning, this often means having functions such as chat boxes, forums, and intra-mail servers so users can communicate, compare notes, and collaborate on assignments. This is key, as people are more successful when they work and learn in group settings.

While some learning management software might still set learners up for solitary work (especially when it comes to onboarding and compliance training), there are more and more systems coming to market that offer social integration, and they aren’t hard to find.

How can I use it?

These social-focused learning management systems are becoming so ubiquitous that I already compiled a list of five free ones. If you’re looking to implement social learning, you can get started today.

When making your choice, keep in mind that you’ve got a few options for features:

  • Chat boxes (which allow for real time discussion)
  • Forums (which can be moderated more heavily and allow longer, more thoughtful interaction)
  • Intramail (which is just like email, but helps avoid cluttering a work inbox)

If you’d like to implement one of these features without overhauling your LMS, you can also explore an external service, such as Slack for a stand-in chatbox, and dedicate it to eLearning.

4. Digital twins for education

What is it?

Digital twins refers to any technology that has a digital component and a physical component to match it. They’re part of the internet of things, where everyday items are made “smart” with the addition of software to allow them to communicate with you on a digital front (such as your fridge texting you when you run out of juice).

In corporate and occupational training, expect to see digital twins used for learning how to operate machinery and specialized tools. Imagine equipment that logs everything from how long it takes a trainee to find the correct buttons to how many mistakes they made along the way, and sends this data to a trainer for assessment.

How can I use it?

This is another tech to watch. It’s not ready for full rollout, but you can prep for digital twins by designing lesson plans that function as they someday might.

Offer “what if” scenarios to your learners as they progress through your training modules. This is especially helpful if a student is flying through course material easily. “What if this machine jams and halts the production line?” “What if your client is uncooperative?” “What if this program freezes?”

Until we have smart machines that can automatically manufacture problems for training purposes, “what if” scenarios get the job done.

5. Smarter apps than ever

What is it?

Artificial intelligence has started to impact the tech you hold in your hand every day. AI is making phones and apps smarter than ever, and trainers stand to gain a lot from this increase.

Smarter apps (link provides great info via Gartner, but requires a subscription) mean better analytics, giving you a more complete and nuanced picture of how learners are performing when you look into the reporting features of your LMS. In the future, AI may be able to read those analytics and tailor learning experiences to each user to help create a more responsive experience.

How can I use it?

As we move forward, expect to see more LMS and training software that brag about having AI features. If you want to test the validity of those claims, there are a few actions you can take (Gartner paywall again; summarized below):

  • Ask for a demonstration (instead of a presentation) of the AI functionality. Real AI will be unique and responsive to any input.
  • Ask a ton of questions, such as why they chose to use AI, what the AI does, and why AI is superior to non-AI for this function. If the AI is well thought out and implemented properly, these questions will have clear answers.
  • Look into the requirements to make the AI function. If your hardware isn’t up to speed, you might find yourself with shiny new tech you can’t even use.

Are you loving these 2018 training trends?

Or do you think they’re still too far off? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @CapterraHalden. Be sure to subscribe to my email list for hot takes on training and talent management trends delivered right to your inbox, every week.

Looking for Training software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Training software solutions.

About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen is a former Capterra analyst.


Comment by shweta on

Hey its nice to see this much new trending technologies. AR and VR are cutting edge technology. there is so much future scope.

Comment by Shikha Gupta on

The article shared about E-learning is excellent. The points explained in this article is really good. Thanks for sharing such a nice article.


Comment by Gerben Veenema on

Interesting article. I think, before augmented reality will be accessible for everyone, video is going to play a large role! Kaltura released their report: State of video in Education 2017 and it shows that over 99% of institutions frequently use videos in lectures for various reasons. At HiHaHo we have summarized some keyfindings of the report:

In 2018, the trend of interactive video is expected to grow faster. Interactive video is often used to flip classrooms and is ideal for tracking progress of students. However, it’s also growing more and more important for businesses as well. Microsoft has cut there annual employee training costs by $13.9 million. (

The possibilities of interactive video are still being explored and via video api’s it seems anything is possible. Video is definitely one of the key trends to look for in 2018 .
Here are some articles on the topic that you might find interesting:

Comment by Mary on

Great article! Its so exciting to see the new technology slowly being rolled. Things like VR and AR are some of the most interesting and will have some major impact on both training and education industries. Can’t wait to see where it all takes us! Thanks for sharing your insight!

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