As a Masie Fellow, I participate in monthly Masie Learning Consortium calls hosted by Elliot Masie. This month's call was on Learning in 2012. I won't give away the store and undermine the value of Consortium, but I'd like to share a few interesting thoughts from the discussion of what learning organizations and training will be like in 5 years.
I heard some trends on the call that people are both observing and hopeful for these trends continuing. One trend (or goal), is moving training departments from a cost center to a revenue & performance contributor; integrating what was "training" into performance, knowledge, collaboration & compliance integration. This may take a variety of forms.
An additional trend was the increasing role of leaders in leadership development. More organizations are seeing their own leadership as critical in being active participants, presenters and resources in leadership development training.
Another one of the many trends discussed was the move to shorter & tighter e-learning modules and transitioning of learning modules into performance support tools. I couldn't agree more and I think this is reflected in all the Rapid Elearning and SME-authoring trends and tools we've seen in the last 4 years. That said, there will always be a need for fundamental skill development, and it is my opinion that performance support and SME-authoring are not the most effective approaches for fundamental skills development.
Elliott also made some predictions that he stands behind and are quite clear. The predictions focus on disruptive (to me, enabling) technologies that will undoubtedly impact organizations in the next 2-4 years. They are Multi-touch and haptic interfaces (like the iPhone uses), ubiquitous mobile device with parity in broadband connection speed relative to current desktops, and mobile devices with "big" high-resolution display capability (it may be in the form of wearable, virtual or projected screens or ???).
There was tons more talked about and it wouldn't be fair for me to publish it all here. So if you are a Learning Consortium member and missed the call, be sure to visit the members site and check out the recording later (hint: login and scan the page or use search to find 'podcast'). Who knows, your organization might already be a member as many big corporation are, or your organization can consider joining.