5 Tech Trends Impacting Learning And Development

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Learning has become more delicate arena with the development of concepts like learning on the go, online learning, e-learning, microlearning, and social learning. Also emerging technologies have made an infinite amount of information easily available which is a major drawback for learners as they aren’t sure which information to absorb or which skill to learn.

The rate of technological change is swift, outpacing research and practice. How can L&D practitioners choose the right technology? Rather than competing with these emerging technologies, it is wise to take advantage and implement them in learning. L&D professionals are constantly extrapolating all available metrics for better learning and training processes and to determine levels of business impact or ROI. In this article, I will be sharing insights on how these major technology trends are poised to impact the L&D and corporate training and learning.

Virtual Reality (VR)

One of the most dominant emerging technology trends in L&D is Virtual Reality (VR). It has been around on the digital learning trends lists for quite a while but it’s only now that organizations are recognizing the potential of VR in the L&D space. The effectiveness of VR is based on two important aspects – Immersion and Presence. Researchers Chris Wilson and Alessandro Soranzo in their paper, ‘The Use of Virtual Reality in Psychology: A Case Study in Visual Perception’ stated that “Immersion is an objective description of the technical capabilities of the VR system that describes the level of detail with which a virtual environment can be rendered, while Presence describes the user’s psychological response to said environment.”^[1]

Virtual Reality in L&D

Immersion and Presence together can allow learners to experience being in the situation right away through a digitally simulated environment. This yields a high level of engagement and retention among the learners.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR, on the other hand, produces a unified and enhanced view of a situation with the help of real and computer-based scenes. With a 3D view of objects and situation, Augmented Reality enhances the learning process for better comprehension. Watch the following video:

In an HBR article, Magid Abraham & Marco Annunziata suggested that upskilling technologies and employees in any organization generate a balanced partnership between humans and smart machines, and AR can augment workers’ abilities, resulting in dramatically improved performance, greater safety, and higher worker satisfaction. [2]

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes like decision making, speech recognition, visual perception,  translating between languages, by computer systems or machines. AI can influence learning in many ways. In a workplace or virtual classroom, an AI virtual assistant can offer a microlearning by providing relevant information instantly or by figuring out the employee’s particular learning needs. Apart from personal assistance, AI with the help of Big Data and Data Analysis of training and L&D related data of various organizations can figure out the best learning solutions for each trainee employee. It can patch the loopholes of learning and its effectiveness so that work efficiency constructively increases.


Gamification in learning is not about introducing “fun” but is integrating game mechanics into e-learning and training to motivate engagement, participation, and loyalty and that’s why it is here to stay and keep influencing the L&D arena for long. Corporates were hesitant to use gamification for serious learning but not anymore. It has proved to create high-impact training and effective application on the job. As the learner engagement quotient is high with the use of gamification, organizations can challenge the learners and get the best out of them. It also creates a friendly and healthy competitive environment to yield better results.

Big Data

Big Data, as the name suggests, refers to the science behind collecting, storing, and analyzing large volumes of data order to identify trends and behavior for better decision making. But how can it help training, L&D or corporates? There are a number of reasons why big data may, very well, revolutionize the L&D industry. Well, it can be used to understand a learner’s information acquiring and retention capability in terms of volume and rate.

Big Data can also analyze social or peer learning patterns, and predict where learners are struggling or excelling. In this entire process, Big Data enables instructional designer or trainer to develop more personalized learning paths.

Future of Technology and Learning

Data suggests that mobile, collaborative and game-based learning are key emerging technologies. [3]

Future of Technology and Learning

Mobile learning can refer to learning on devices, not just smartphones, but through a laptop, tablet, or personal digital assistant are also considered in mobile learning literature. Any sort of interaction between learners facilitated by technology is branded as a collaborative learning tool. Gamification refers to initiatives where the rules of games are applied to a situation – for example, introducing leaderboards into a learning environment. A ‘serious game’ in an L&D context refers to a game with a purpose.


[1] The Use of Virtual Reality in Psychology: A Case Study in Visual Perception

[2] Augmented Reality Is Already Improving Worker Performance

[3] Future of Technology and Learning Survey Report 2017


About Payel Bhowmick

The author is an analyst at SpringPeople & writes on emerging technology trends for IT professionals. Passionate about technology, her current area of focus is the digital revolution currently underway in the edu-tech industry. When not at work, Payel splits her time between writing, reading and watching sci-fi movies.

Posts by Payel Bhowmick

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