As 2017 draws to a close, we come to the silly season of predictions for 2018 about our field. Naturally, I can’t resist chiming in. Here are my 15 predictions about what will be predicted, with just a little bit of my tongue in my cheek.

I predict:

  1. There will, of course, be predictions that more people will discover the wonderfulness of instructional design—and then fail to follow it. This will be balanced by a similar number of predictions of its demise.
  2. There will certainly be predictions around new technologies as “game-changers.” These will be forgotten and replaced with new game-changing shiny object predictions in 2019.
  3. Learning pundits will predict that training is dead. Others will predict that we are at the dawn of a new golden age of training. Few will be able to adequately explain the rationale behind either.
  4. Some companies will cut back on learning and development, often at the wrong time; but I can’t predict if they will do so before or after cutting back other equally important costs, like coffee, donuts, and travel.
  5. The debate as to whether learning (aka training) should be a part of HR will go on, likely forever.
  6. Many learning prognosticators will note the transformation from learning to performance, like they have predicted for almost three decades. The struggle continues.
  7. There will, of course, be new “hot” buzzwords and jargon in our field. But our ability to explain them to upper management on their terms remains unpredictable.
  8. Learning soothsayers will continue to hype new adjectives in front of the word “learning”— “blended,” “virtual,” “informal,” “rapid,” “macro,” “micro,” “workplace,” and more. The latest is “modern learning” (whatever that is). But the continuing inability of many of them to clearly define how the second word, “learning,” really works will be continue to be particularly troublesome.
  9. In 2018, some training organization will invest everything into virtual and/or augmented reality. Prediction: they may not be around in 2019.
  10. Real learning science will continue to advance what we know about human learning. These studies will continue to be published in print and online journals that few will read.
  11. Speaking of learning science, new unproven learning science and fads will, predictably, be all the rage until the next one comes along.
  12. Someone will invent software that turns bad PowerPoint into good PowerPoint. OK, let’s drop this one; it’s much too scary.
  13. Somewhere, in some training organization, someone will utter the phrase “seat at the table” just one too many times, and their head will explode.
  14. The name “Kirkpatrick” will be mentioned 14,473,891 times in 2018.
  15. Finally, the learning and development predictions business will predictably continue to boom, with no predictable end in sight.

On a serious note, watch for multiple columns, blogs, and articles with predictions about our field for the coming year. Some predictions on what’s hot and what’s not may be self-serving and promotional; others may be fanciful or way too futuristic. Look out for predictions that appear just a little ridiculous, simply wishful thinking, or not based on any data. And yes, there will be some well-grounded and practical predictions for 2018; look carefully as you separate them from all the others. Consider them, but also take them all with a grain of salt. Remember, these training fortune-tellers are not in your organization. They don’t know you or the challenges and opportunities you face. Only you can say for sure what the future of your work will be.

Happy New Year!