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Update yourself on disruptive change in learning trends


South African corporates are beginning to experience a number of lifelong learning trends that have emerged over the past several years. These trends are impacting the market for continuing education, professional development, and other forms of lifelong learning. In fact, learning is presently subject to major disruptive forces and is changing radically in all aspects of the value chain – from needs identification to the design and delivery of learning journeys, as well as how learning is evaluated. 

Learning providers are thus required to rethink and retool how they deliver services to their customers. We live in a knowledge economy and users of learning services are more informed, more sophisticated in their approach to buying learning services, and some may even be more cynical.

The emergence of ‘boutique’ specialist learning providers has made the competitive landscape more competitive, with many corporate clients adopting multiple-partner delivery models and some ‘taking back control’ of learning design and other components of the corporate learning value chain. 

In the current economic climate, leaders of training and learning organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to meet performance expectations. To do this requires them to understand how to create (design), and deliver content in an innovative and relevant way that positively influences the learners’ behaviour and meets the organisational clients’ needs. 

Understanding how to better engage the learner is at the heart of how our industry is evolving. As we now look into 2017 and beyond, we are seeing corporate executives and learning leaders collectively looking at how to get back to the basics of understanding what makes training or learning work, and what activities are not so effective. The focus in the industry continues to move from knowledge to skill to application.
Here are some of the key trends in learning that are causing major disruption in the industry: 
  • Automated solutions are used to create, design and deliver learning solutions. 
  • MOOCs will continue to be a permanent part of the educational landscape, allowing providers to serve a broader market and attract new customers. 
  • The Flipped Classroom will become more sophisticated, allowing core content to be reviewed outside of the classroom. 
  • Augmented Reality and Augmented Learning will allow learners to engage with action-based, real-life functionalities. 
  • Big Data will facilitate improved learning analytics and deliver meaningful and valuable insights about learner performance and course content optimisation. 
  • Gamification applies game dynamics to increase user engagement with learning content and will explode in the next few years. 
  • M-Learning or Learning on the Go will increase as mobile technologies, allowing learners to access content anywhere anytime. This together with MicroLearning (smaller more frequent chunks of learning) will change the construct of learning journeys. 
  • Personalisation and Self-directed Learning will allow learning to become more personalised than ever with learners selecting their own learning pathways, instruction modality, pace of instruction, etc., ushering in the ‘the empowered learner’.
  • Neuroscience will impact how we think about teaching and learning. 
  • Social Learning through social media will add additional dimensions to learning design and delivery. 
  • Alternative Credentials such as ‘course badges’ and standards-based certificate programmes will grow in importance. 
In response to these trends, USB Executive Development (USB-ED), together with Helen Nicholson and Associates, has launched the Learning Innovation Africa Conference to be held in September 2016. USB-ED will be releasing its Learning Trends Survey at the conference. 

The Learning Innovation Africa (LIA) Conference is being held for the first time in Johannesburg at Turbine Hall, Johannesburg on 20–21 September 2016. This conference is sponsored by USB-ED to showcase and educate delegates on all the latest innovations in learning taking place across the globe. 

LIA is designed to turn conventional conferencing on its head. All the presentations will be 18-minute TED talk-style presentations, followed by panel discussions, followed by networking. We are operating from the premise that the wisdom is in the room, so the agenda allows for maximum peer networking, where delegates have an opportunity to learn from each other’s challenges and successes.

Sonqoba Maseko, who is currently working with SIzwe Nxasana, founder of Future Schools, will be the chief orchestrator of the event. Maseko has been named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper since 2014. 

Those attending the conference will be exposed to some of the biggest change disruptors:
  • USB-ED will be launching its report on learning trends in Africa. This is the first time this research has been undertaken. 
  • A talk on micro-learning, presented by Christine Tutssel, strategic vice president of Axonify, will answer the question: What are the implications of bite-sized chunks of learning in your business? 
  • A talk on gamification by Kirsty Chadwick, CEO and founder of the Training Room Online, will uncover the good, the bad and the ugly of gaming for Millennials, X-ers and Boomers. 
  • A talk on augmented reality by Ulrico Cumbo of DeepVR will deal with two questions: Are you aware of some artificial intelligence transformative technology where avatars become your instructors? And how are some leading companies in the world using this technology? 
  • Isaac Nkama, director of facilitation Africa, will talk about key trends in Africa and provide answers to the questions: How do you create a learning culture throughout your organisation with an African footprint? What are the cultural issues you need to be aware of? 
  • A talk entitled Finding True North in the Digital Storm, by Abdullah Verachia, will throw light on key trends in learning, leadership and technology in 2016. 
  • In a session on next-generation learning technology, mentoring apps, mobile learning and real-time learning will be discussed.
  • A talk on de-mystifying the cloud by Nkosi Khumalo of Oracle will reveal that the future of all learning will be cloud based and explain how you can ensure that your organisation is cloud ready. 
  • Lee Naik of Accenture will talk about Big data and discuss what the implications are for deep learning using data analytics.
  • Innovation readiness and how to ensure your organisation is innovation ready – so as to obviate become irrelevant – will be covered by Brad Shorkend and Andy Golding. 
  • Graeme Codrington will guide you on how to lead, manage and teach your Millennials 
  • A session on accelerated learning through 70:20:10 will tell you it’s all about results not activity.
  • A talk about mindfulness by Helen Nicholson, CEO of the Mindful Leader, will clarify why Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are teaching their staff to be more mindful. She will also discuss the neuroscience links between mindfulness and innovation 
Fireside chats for smaller groups will also take place where delegates can rotate through a number of sessions:
  • L&D Professional Fireside Chat – Escape extinction: Four ideas for restoring relevance to L&D
  • Managing talent in tough times 
  • The new world of mobile learning
  • CLO Fireside Chat – the burning platform issues that keep CLOs awake at night
  • Discussions on case studies
Pete van Kets and his adventurer wife, Kim van Kets, will be closing the conference with their extraordinary story on Grit and Resilience – The Keys to Surviving Tough Times. 

For further information, please go to or Facebook: Learning Innovation Network , Twitter @LIA_Network , LinkedIn: Learning Innovation Africa 

Eric Albertini (2).jpg

Dr Eric Albertini is the director of Customised Programmes and Strategic Partnerships at USB Executive Development (USB-ED). His research interests include leadership, trends in executive education, the future world of work, skills, personal mastery, and knowledge and behaviours required to be effective in the future workplace.  

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