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Five learning trends to adopt this year and beyond

Feb 26. 2019
Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s lifelong learning centre
Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s lifelong learning centre
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TRUTH to be told, learning is an important and lifelong pursuit for every human being. We continue to learn and absorb new things daily. But to truly understand, we use must apply our learning to real-life applications. And understand there is no one way to gain knowledge.

The best way to understand this is to think about reading. Reading is one of the best ways to gain new insights or understand a topic better. But if you were to only read without pushing further, it would mean nothing. In fact, you’d never understand or confirm your assumptions unless you applied them.

Learning is not about reading alone, but is, I’d say, like cooking – you have a lot going on but it only works when there’s a balance in flavours that suit your preference. You add a whole lot of reading, a generous number of Q&A sessions with your teacher or facilitator, and maybe a pinch of discussion with your peers.

With the constant change now underway in our world, continuous learning is the only way to keep ahead. But learning must evolve as well. As the world changes, people change too – and their learning styles change with them. Learning can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all approach.

But what’s really on the horizon in the learning sphere? Here are five learning trends that you should adopt in your own learning.

1 Personalisation: Personalised learning is no longer limited to a classroom, or to reading books. Learning can happen through online courses or even by watching YouTube tutorial videos. It allows learners to tailor their learning in more effective ways.

Personalised learning also allows learning at a higher speed. You can skip what you already know and move on to acquiring knowledge to make you better at the topic or skill.

2 Gamification: Through gamification, otherwise known as game-based learning, online courses and training workshops apply gaming concepts to learning. Those gaming elements include points, achievement and reward systems.

Gamification is great for two things. First, with the information available in a few clicks, we’re seeing a decrease in people’s attention span. Gamification can allow an increase people’s engagement with learning. Second, the ability to recall learning content has also decreased. Gamification keeps the learners’ interest to better remember and apply their learning.

3 Bite-sized learning: You cannot avoid learning the theory or concepts – they are the basis of understanding for large topics. But sometimes, it can be vast and boring. Bite-sized content is great because it gives learners the right amount of content to stay engaged and to absorb the learning. Added to game-based learning, bite-sized content will offer learners a more engaging approach. This applies to important basic theories and concepts. And because learning is segmented, learners can immediately practise afterwards.

4 Shift towards learner centrism: In the past – and to a certain extent still today – learning focused on pushing content to learners whether they liked it or not. But today, learning should focus on the learner, their learning goals and how they learn as they move towards achieving those goals. Underlying this approach is the reality that learning is different for each individual.

Instead of pushing content that people don’t want, engage the learners with what they need to grow. There is, of course, an exception – when specialising in a skill or topic, certain content must be mastered. But that doesn’t require a forceful content push. The learners have to control their own learning to stay engaged and motivated to learn.

5 Collaborative and social learning: Learning has always been a personal journey, as individual learners have their own learning goals. Yet, that doesn’t mean some goals cannot overlap with other learners.

Learning on your own can be great as you set your own pace, but learning with others brings up discussions and thus, more opportunities to learn. With overlapping learning goals, individuals are able to increase their learning opportunities in social and informal settings through online forums or networking events.

Learning is essential. Without it we don’t grow and if we don’t grow, we cannot keep up with change. As we progress in 2019, we should focus our energies on these evolving trends, and make a commitment to level up your own learning – for yourself and for your business and organisation.

Contributed by ARINYA TALERNGSRI, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s lifelong learning centre. She can be reached by email at or 


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