4 key trends in learning content (backed by research)

L&D functions are feeling the pressure to produce increasing amounts of content to support organizational learning and meet business goals. Durable, organization-specific learning content, in particular, presents the biggest challenge for L&D, according to RedThread Research. A recent report has revealed the four top trends in learning content that are enabling organizations to move to a collaborative strategy as the solution to this challenge.

learning trends

The ‘Addressing The Learning Content Dilemma’ report, created by RedThread Research, provides great insights into the ways in which organizations need to change their strategy to beat the growing learning backlog. Switching to a new collaboration strategy is suggested so that L&D don’t have to do it alone.

This report has collated knowledge from a literature review, a roundtable discussion and multiple interviews with learning leaders, to create a framework to guide L&D teams and help shape their learning content strategies.

It provides fresh ways to think about learning content, which has been discussed in greater detail in the panel discussion with real-world examples of how practitioners are unlocking capacity in their organizations.

Download the learning content dilemma report

4 trends in learning content to keep an eye on

RedThread’s research has revealed the top four trends in learning content that are helping to shape learning content strategies in forward-thinking organizations – read on to learn more…

  1. More learning content is out there

There is a substantial increase in the amount of learning content being created, as well as the number of types of content created by a wider range of authors. Learning content is no longer solely created and controlled by L&D teams but instead can be created by any employee

Employees now have access to a wide range of content due to L&D’s limited control over it This includes: 

  • SME content
  • Industry-specific content
  • Company reports
  • L&D function-created content

Learning leaders are now producing systems, processes, and policies to guide organizations and their employees through the choices to find or create impactful elearning.

”Learning functions need to recognize we never owned learning content in the first place, and we certainly don’t now. We need to embrace the chaos.”

— Nick Halder, Senior Director of Talent, Snow Software

  1. More enabling, less pushing

Research says that learning leaders are empowering employees to find and engage with content themselves rather than being pushed to content. Giving employees the initiative and guidance enables anyone to consume learning content when there is a learning need, to aid their professional development.

“We’ve got a licence to create. So, you’ve got to do a little bit of learning and demonstrate some confidence which then opens up access to asset libraries, templates, rapid authoring…Because they know what they know. We just need to give them the framework to impart that knowledge.”

– David Hepworth, Learning Technology & Design Lead at Aviva

  1. Refocusing on skills

Learning content should always be relevant and helpful to employees, but this is not always the case. To help focus on creating relevant content, forward-thinking organizations are aiming to close critical skills gaps by investing in learning content that will develop the skills of their workforce.

“Without insight into what skills are in demand and what skills people have, L&D tends to focus on the learning content we think people need. That’s rarely an effective approach.” 

— Participant of “New trends in learning content & content management” roundtable

  1. More access for all employees

Learning leaders are moving towards increasing access to learning content for all employees, helping to close skills gaps and to keep an organization more agile, responsive, and competitive.

Here are three ways learning leaders can improve access:

  • Remove artificial barriers – certain organizations have unnecessary boundaries which can be discarded. This is particularly relevant for organizations that provide learning content on a ‘need to know’ basis.
  • Make learning content easily findable – removing non-essential passwords, optimizing search mechanisms, authorizing organizational standards, and ultimately inspiring employees to view more relevant content.
  • Improve the accessibility of learning content on mobile devices – many employees, particularly those frontline workers, require mobile access to learning content so they can learn as they work. Mobile use should be at the forefront of an authors’ mind when creating learning content. A greater number of organizations are now seeking ways to increase employee interaction by making the learning experience more engaging, usable and transparent.


To overcome the growing backlog of content, we need to recognize that learning is everyone’s job – and a collaborative strategy is the answer. RedThread’s latest report has identified the top four trends in learning content that organizations should implement to help shape learning content strategies.

These learning trends are:

  • More learning content is out there – more authors are creating increased amounts of learning content in varying formats.
  • More enabling, less pushing – learning leaders are giving employees the initiative and guidance to find and engage with content themselves rather than being pushed to content. 
  • Refocusing on skills – organizations are now investing in learning content that will develop the skills of their workforce.
  • Greater access for all employees – skills gaps can be closed by removing artificial barriers, making learning content easily findable and improving the accessibility of learning content on mobile devices.

What next?

RedThread’s learning content key trends show that a collaborative strategy is the solution to overcoming the growing backlog of content. Want to learn more about how to empower others to create content or to digest the framework further? Watch the full panel discussion.

Ready to dive into the full research report? Download your copy to unlock a new model for learning content production.

Download the learning content dilemma report