4imprint, LLC

4 min read

As remote work and virtual learning skyrocketed last year, a few new professional development trends began to emerge. When companies shifted away from in-person interactions, they had to tackle unprecedented challenges as well as exciting opportunities. As a result, many businesses have found fresh ways to offer training. In fact, 56% of companies are retooling or repurposing their current professional development program.

Four people wearing virtual reality headsets participating in training


If you’re looking to do the same, consider the latest trends.

Clipboard, virtual reality headset and man popping out of computer monitor.


Trend 1: Curate training content

Many companies are moving away from creating training materials from scratch because it’s time-consuming. Taking advantage of pre-built content that can be quickly curated is expected to be a huge trend in 2021.

Several platforms offer a library of pre-built training for different industries. You can tailor these pieces of training to your needs—whether you’re training front-desk staff to provide better customer service or the marketing team to become sales email experts. As an employee training incentive, consider offering a comfortable T-shirt for associates who complete professional development goals.

Trend 2: Provide immersive experiences

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are significant professional development trends that immerse employees in learning, so they quickly connect the dots between theory and real-life applications. The technology provides unmatched accuracy and exploration.

In healthcare, staff training that incorporates VR places employees in a 360-degree visual to create a highly realistic scenario. In this way, VR helps team members experience real-life situations without real-life risk.

Trend 3: Offer microlearning

With microlearning, training content is broken into bite-sized chunks.

Smaller pieces of training have been shown to make the learning transfer from classroom to desk 17% more efficient.

Microlearning is more focused, cutting out fluff and clutter. Each video and piece of content focuses on no more than two learning objectives.

What’s more, employees can access this learning style on the fly when they need immediate training in a specific area. Because of its accessibility, microlearning works well for people who want to spread professional development out over time and at their own pace. To encourage your team to embrace microlearning, offer a small incentive after working through a set of materials. Send a notebook and pen after employees watch 10 videos, or give them a travel bottle for completing a test.


Trend 4: Virtually train the trainers

Transitioning from an in-person classroom to a virtual environment can be challenging for trainers. One upcoming trend is showing trainers how to deliver virtual training that is engaging and interactive.

The training curriculum also may need to change. If trainers relied on in-person engagement before and had very few materials to accompany it, they may need to adapt. For example, trainers may need to send digital pop quizzes to each employee—or provide short breakouts for colleagues to discuss their biggest takeaways. To help motivate trainers to design and deliver effective virtual training, offer them premium employee training incentives, like a tailgate party cooler stand or a stylish tote, when the new curriculum is complete.

Tap into top trends

When exploring different professional development trends, think about your team’s needs. Do you have paid trainers who need to learn virtual training skills? Are you in an industry that could benefit from AR or VR? By taking advantage of the top professional development trends, you can take your training to the next level.


Top Takeaways:

  • Training content curation saves time
  • Trainers are being trained how to present virtually
  • Immersive learning offers experience without risk
  • Microlearning includes focused, short sessions