5 trends shaping the future of online training software

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated May 8, 2023

In today’s remote workplace, online training software has become an essential tool for maintaining workforce productivity and performance.

In the years ahead, online training software will only become even more widespread and critical in the digital workplace. The digital adoption platform market, for instance, is expected to triple in size in the coming years. 

Naturally, some of this growth is being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, though the pandemic is only advancing trends that were already in existence.

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why online training platforms, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs), will become even more common in tomorrow’s workplace.

5 trends shaping the future of online training software 

Here are some of the trends and factors that are both shaping the online training software industry and driving its growth forward:

1. Just-in-time learning

Just-in-time learning is an approach that provides information in the moment of need.

Unlike traditional training, which provides information in bulk and without context, just-in-time learning tells learners only the most relevant information, exactly when they need to apply it.

For instance, in a video course that teaches a particular software platform, students may learn about wide range of features, workflows, and concepts. Yet they will not apply those lessons until later, and even then, they may use only a portion of what they learned.

If, on the other hand, employees are taught how to perform a specific software task just before they apply it, they will retain more information and waste less time.

2. Contextualized learning

While just-in-time learning provides training in the moment of need, contextualized learning provides information in the same context where the training will be applied.

For instance, online training software such as DAPs provide training directly inside the target software platform through features such as in-app walkthroughs, pop-up tips, and chatbots.

In line with the previous example, however, traditional training methods are often divorced from context. 

Learners may opt to work alongside a video course or instructor, and this can add context and improve knowledge retention. However, there is still a gap between when students learn and when they apply what they’ve learned.

Share of employees worldwide who believe learning technologies are effective in 2018, by type of technology:

Credit: Statista

Studies have shown that experiential learning delivers better outcomes, so it is unsurprising that context-based software training is becoming more popular.

3. Personalization

Personalization is a popular topic among business units that focus on customers, such as marketing and product design.

The rationale behind this focus is simple – when content and experiences are customized to meet one’s own individual needs, engagement goes up.

The same principle doesn’t just apply to customer experiences, however. It also applies to facets of the employee experience, training included.

When training content can be tailored to meet the needs of an individual’s job role and career needs, that employee will naturally become more engaged and productive.

Popular training tools such as learning management systems and video courses do offer a certain degree of flexibility. 

However, they still lack the personalization of in-app training solutions. These, as mentioned, only deliver information that is both practical and immediately relevant.

4. Practical skills vs. broad knowledge

Many of the trends discussed so far represent a divergence from the traditional approach to workplace training. Namely, they focus on practical skills, rather than broad knowledge, theory, or abstract concepts.

A wide, comprehensive approach to training certainly has its place, particularly in the academic system.

However, in the workplace, employee skills and workforce productivity are the main focus.

Many training software tools, as a result, orient their training content around practical skills, contextual learning, and just-in-time learning, as mentioned above.

Over time, upwardly mobile employees will need more career development options, which means acquiring more generalized knowledge.

However, as we have seen, training software is geared towards practical skills, not broad education. Since training software tends to emphasize employee productivity, this trend will most likely become more pronounced in the years ahead.

5. Data-driven training

Effective use of data can improve productivity wherever it is applied, so it should come as no surprise that software training tools also leverage data.

Different types of training tools, of course, apply data differently and, as a consequence, offer different insights into training programs.

For instance, learning management systems are, in essence, a cross between content management and online course management tools. Their data, therefore, focuses on training content consumption, test scores, attendance, and similar areas. 

Digital adoption solutions, on the other hand, directly track software usage. The data provided by these platforms, as a result, offers more direct insight into areas such as employee performance, workflows, and software utilization. 

Harvard Business Review Analytics Services recently surveyed over 500 corporate executives on how they are using digital adoption to accelerate their digital transformation. They found that 81% agree or strongly agree that the ability to rapidly adopt new technologies and embed them in their employees’ everyday work is a competitive differentiator in their industry.

These deeper insights can, among other things, help managers more accurately assess employee skill levels, design better training programs, and enhance workforce productivity.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.