When was the last time your employees got excited about training? Those responsible for training must continually find new, creative ways to “sneak in” learning opportunities whenever possible to make it accessible and engaging.

Technology has drastically changed the way we learn, and employers are incorporating it frequently to reduce the time and costs of training. In fact, technology-based training is up to 90 percent less expensive than traditional classroom based training. It cuts down on the time employees spend traveling as well as travel expenses (airfare, gas, mileage, hotel rooms, food).

In the coming year, we’ll continue to see companies adopting new, innovative forms of learning. Here are three leadership training and development trends to keep on your radar for 2016 and beyond.

1. Blended Learning

Blended learning—using e-learning or the virtual classroom as well as in-person sessions to give employees the best of both teaching styles—is on the rise as technology becomes the norm for training. More than 29 percent of training hours were delivered through blended-learning programs in 2014, which was a 0.8 percent increase over the previous year.

2. Using Gamification as a Training Technique

Companies are moving toward using games and simulations to foster greater employee engagement by tapping into the innate human preference for fun. By applying games to work related scenarios, employees can use their problem-solving skills to develop business solutions.

For example, Deloitte built a leadership development training program for its senior executives, but had difficulties getting them to complete it. The company revamped the program to include gaming components like badges, leaderboards and status symbols to track the executives’ progress. This change resulted in a 50 percent shorter completion time and a 46.6 percent increase in the number of users returning to the site daily.

3. M-learning as a Training Technique

Said to be the future of learning, mobile learning—or m-learning—is expected to coincide with the rising use of mobile for everything. The key benefit mobile provides is access to information anytime, anywhere. For learning purposes, m-learning condenses lessons into shorter, bite-sized micro lessons that can be easily absorbed on the go. Microcontent such as graphs, charts or 2- to 3-minute videos can be consumed while commuting on the train or during a lunch break.

Less formal than structured learning environments, m-learning is mostly done in between other tasks and is self-initiated. Some mobile learning platforms even include social elements that encourage learners to share their experiences and learn from one another on social media. The global market for m-learning is expected to reach $12.2 billion by 2017.

The Bottom Line

Research has shown that when companies spend more time and money on training they have lower turnover rates, more top-performing employees, higher promotion rates and overall higher engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel like their company invests in them by providing training and advancement opportunities, they are more likely to perform better. This means employees are more satisfied in their positions and with the company as a whole. The ROI of leadership development efforts is clear for high-potential employees who aspire to leadership roles.

As workplaces continue to update their training processes, it’s important to choose approaches that will keep employees engaged and design programs that play to their preferred methods of learning. Using newer training techniques like games, m-learning and blended learning can set your employees up for success and have a positive impact on your organization.

OnPoint Consulting is an organizational consulting firm that specializes in 21st century training and development solutions. We now offer e-learning programs designed to make training more scalable and affordable. Learn more about our e-learning programs for virtual leaders and cross-functional teams.