Where can you find reliable information about future trends to inform strategic decision making?
Curated Resources on Emerging Trends
With the pace of change these days along with high demand workplaces, it can be difficult for learning professionals to keep an eye out for what’s coming. It’s always interesting, of course, to see the top trend lists issued at the turnover of every year, but these don’t generally go into any depth and are often simply educated opinions.
There are, however, a number of well-known thought leaders, researchers, professional organizations, and consulting organizations that provide more in depth analysis on a regular basis. Here is a short list of some of my go-to organizations for these kinds of reports. While I don’t always agree with the interpretations and recommendations contained in these reports, these are credible sources and it’s worthwhile to ponder what they report and predict. Please contact me to suggest other organizations and people who should be added to this list.
Deloitte Center for the Edge
Deloitte has many research arms, and the Center for the Edge “develops original research and substantive perspectives on new corporate growth.” They offer free access to their reports, many of which focus on learning and human resource issues. The principal researchers of the Center for the Edge are known thought leaders, including John Hagel III and John Seely Brown.
Bersin by Deloitte
Josh Bersin is a long-term thought leader in our field, and his team’s research and analysis is widely quoted. While membership is required for complete access to materials, you can find complimentary research, free webinars, and other events on this site.
Pew Research Center
PEW positions itself as a “nonpartisan fact tank” and issues reports on a wide variety of topics. Of special interest to learning professionals are trends in internet and technology, and you may find other helpful information in the complete topic list.
Corporate Executive Board
CEB Learning and Development Leadership Council
CEB Corporate Leadership Council
CEB Blogs / Human Resources
Corporate Executive Board is a “a best practice insight and technology company” that offers member-driven research and insights across a wide range of practice areas. Check to see if your company holds membership in the Corporate Executive Board relevant practice areas (it may not be widely known). But even if you do not have member access, CEB issues some free reports and shares some of their insights in blogs and other resources on the site.
The Association for Talent Development is the premier professional organization for those who work in talent development arenas. ATD often reports highlights of their research in TD articles and blog posts on their web site. ATD issues an annual “State of the Industry Report” that documents trends in L&D (free to members). Members can often obtain abbreviated white papers based on other major research reports, and may have a member benefit to get one free full report.
eLearning Guild Research Insights
eLearning Guild is a highly popular community for elearning professionals. Through their research arm, they aim to share trends and best practices including case studies and white papers.
i4cp – Institute for Corporate Productivity
i4cp focuses on research related to “people practices that drive performance.” Membership is required to access some reports, but there are free trend reports available.
Accenture is a professional services company that has many research arms. The Talent and Organization research area is most relevant to L&D practitioners.
Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning
Jane Hart is a consultant and thought leader based in the United Kingdom. Since 2007, she has run an annual survey to list the tools that are useful for learning and development. It provides a nice snapshot of popular technology over the years.
// Higher Education >
These organizations are active in the education arena. I find that corporate and academic thought leaders are often having similar conversations, and their insights overlap.
New Media Consortium
The New Media Consortium is an international community of educational technology experts. It issues the widely read Horizon Reports along with other technology outlook reports.
EDUCAUSE is a professional organization for those who lead technology in a higher ed academic environment. This site has many relevant materials, including trend reports, research reports, and initiatives. EDUCAUSE has a number of focus areas, one of which is teaching and learning. Some materials may require registration or membership to access.
Digital Media and Learning Research Hub
The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub states that its mission is “to advance research in the service of a more equitable, participatory, and effective ecosystem of learning keyed to the digital and networked era.” Much of their research is in the K-12 space, but can be relevant to L&D as well. I find the Connected Learning Research Network has interesting materials.
The mission of RAND Education is “to bring accurate data and objective analysis to education policy.” They publish a variety of reports and research briefs on education at all levels. You may find some of their research initiatives relevant as well.
US Department of Education – Office of Educational Technology
The OET was formed “to provide leadership for transforming education through the power of technology.” While much of their work is in support of K-12 education, the initiatives can be informative.
Last updated: June 7, 2016 by Catherine Lombardozzi
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