10 years of learning trends

Every year The Open University looks at emerging workplace learning trends and publishes a report identifying which trends are already having, or are most likely to have, a big impact on learning in the workplace. Download the latest report

Over the last 10 years, the OU has been producing two reports – Innovating Pedagogy and Trends in Learning. Each year, researchers from the OU and the organisation collaborating on that particular year’s Innovating Pedagogy report look at any new or emerging trends, pulling in ideas and experiences from different places. We hone in on the ideas and experiences that we think are most important, impactful and interesting and will have most relevance to our audience. Then we gather all the evidence we can around those subject areas – how a particular trend has emerged, where, what impact it is having or is likely to have, the driving forces behind it and how it is being or could be implemented in different settings. And then, together, we pick the final selection. 

Some of the big themes reflect underlying societal trends and what’s going on around us. That’s definitely true of wellbeing, hybrid and social justice, all of which have been under the spotlight during the Covid-19 pandemic and not just in the learning space. 

What we aim to do with our Trends in Learning reports is demonstrate to the business community and to learning professionals how some of these trends are transforming workplace environments and practices, leading to better outcomes for learners and for employers.  

There are some trends that we’ve had our eye on but are waiting for them to take off. Mobile learning, for instance. Over the next 10 years we expect that trend to grow exponentially and to become proper mobile learning – not sedentary learning on a mobile device, but learning while on the move, through the technology we are carrying or wearing or can access from the environment around us. Over the next 10 years we expect the real and the virtual world to come together in a much more blended way. Wherever we are, we will be able to call on the virtual world on our device. It’s going to be very interesting to see what emerges in the next two to five years, let alone the next 10, so watch this space.

Download the latest Trends in Learning report