The big digital learning trends for 2019, according to the experts

What does 2019 have in store for digital learning trends? We asked 15 top industry experts to share their predictions and their hopes for the year. Could 2019 finally be the year for truly putting users first? Can micro learning get meaningful? And are bots going to take-over? Read on for fascinating insights, and some strong calls for more people-focused approaches. We share some of their responses here, for the full response, visit

What’s the future for elearning, digital learning and L&D professionals?

We reached out to 15 industry experts ranging from experienced in-house learning managers, established solutions providers and consultants, presenters, authors and thought-leaders, with two key questions:

  • What digital learning trends do you think we’ll see rise in 2019?
  • What are you most hoping to see happen in the industry in 2019?

1. Nick Shackleton-Jones

Trends: More (please, no) microlearning

“Sadly, I think we will see a rise in sales of ‘micro-learning’ content, continuing the trend towards breaking content into ever smaller pieces in an effort to make it more relevant. But of course, content does not become more useful simply by virtue of breaking it into smaller pieces. To create useful content we would actually have to talk to the people we are creating it for.”

Hopes: Design Thinking is embraced industry-wide

“I would really like the industry to embrace design thinking, by which I mean the idea that whether we are procuring learning systems or designing learning content, we should put the employee experience at the heart of the process.”

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2. Lori Niles-Hofmann

Trends: Microlearning to gain meaning, with the help of campaigns

“Digital learning campaigns. We have heard over and over again the trends of microlearning and fewer course and more resources. What is lacking is the method to contextualize, link together, or insert these into a learner’s day in a meaningful way. Everyone is bombarded with email, texts, and notifications. We need to drip feed all of these pieces of content, similar to how marketing automation runs digital campaigns, to nurture learners to goals and outcomes.”

Hopes: More responsible, people-centered design

“More focus on the learner. I know this sounds obvious, but too often I hear learning impact measured in business KPIs. Yes, those are important. However, as we shift to gig economies with fluid careers, the content we design and deliver could mean the difference between a person remaining relevant in the workforce or left behind. In this fierce employment landscape, we must exercise responsibility, manage our SMEs, and design only for learning effectiveness.”

3. Steph Bright

Trends: Virtual Classrooms will get a new dawn, as humans are needed to prop the rise in digital

“As well as the ongoing fads I believe we may see a particular rise in virtual classrooms – despite the growth of digital, organizations are still primarily sending employees out on training courses and looking to reduce this. The use of virtual classroom technology also brings a required skill set to deliver effective learning and I think this reflects a more general shift we’ll see – a trend in new skills to support the learning technologies we continue to rave about.”

Hopes: L&D professionals give more focus to people’s well-being and enable individuals to grow more holistically

“I’m hoping to see a greater focus on personal well-being and development. With an increasing need for an agile workforce those fundamental human skills, how we lead, communicate and problem-solve, will become increasingly important in coping with rapid technological change and disruption. I’d like to see L&D look at ways to build mentors, and equip people with, not just the right information to do a job but, the right mindset and skills to tackle it independently.”

4. Kim Edwards

Trends: Bots and AI serving up what you need before you knew you needed it

“I think we’ll see the use of artificial intelligence or machine learning becoming more commonplace in the workplace, using data on past activities and trends to help predict future issues and needs. We already see this in our personal lives – automatic replies popping up in our emails; suggestions, reminders and notifications on our phones; Google offering alternative routes or asking if you need certain things because it knows you’re in a particular place – and I think it’ll become more expected for AI/ML to be used to support employees with repetitive tasks like scheduling meetings, matching candidates to job to roles, responding to system-related queries via wizards and chatbots. Two examples of AI I’ve experienced at work for the first time this year are the auto-transcribing audio in Zoom meetings and various bots in Slack – so helpful!

It sometimes feels like the boundaries between our home or personal lives and our work lives are blurring and while that can be a little worrying or feel like added pressure, I welcome the influence of tech and the increase in people’s digital literacy to get things done in smarter, easier, faster ways.”

Hopes: More focus on mental health in the workplace, by all

“This isn’t specific to our industry but something I’d like to see happen in all society and workplaces; more awareness of, acceptance of and empathy for people’s mental health and how it can affect work just like physical health can, or indeed be affected by work and our work environments.

I recently interviewed Matthew Holman of Simpila Healthy Solutions on Learning Now TV; he helps companies, groups and individuals who are struggling with challenges that the world brings and he believes that the stigma and assumptions around mental health can be eased or broken down through education and communication. Senior leaders, HR and more people, in general, need to talk about mental health more often, in more humane ways. Everyone has mental health just like they have physical health and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not so good and it’s ok to need support – it’s actually important to seek support and guidance just like we would do with recurrent headaches, broken limbs or chronic pain, especially in the ever-changing world we live in with increasing amounts of information to process and the pressures to stay connected and ‘on’.”

For the full responses, visit


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