Curated Insights: Wrapping up 2016 with L&D Thought Leaders

The month of December means different things to different people. Holidays. Time away from the office. Winter weather. Family and friends. On the internet, December is the official month of recap articles. Websites from every genre and interest area are publishing their “best of 2016” reflections. Here are the best 11 video games of 2016 according the The Verge. Mashable published their thoughts on the best tech of 2016. And here’s National Geographic’s look at the best photos of 2016.


L&D tends to follow suite with practitioners sharing their 2016 insights along with suggestions for a better 2017.  To help you navigate amongst our industry’s December recap offerings, this curated insights post includes a sampling of year-end articles from a few of our favorite L&D personalities.

#C2XMAS Series by Jane Hart

Even though Christmas has passed, you can still get into the holiday spirit with Jane’s Countdown series of free learning resources on her Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies blog. Need directions on how to build a wooden Christmas tree? Want to learn to dance online (really)? How about some card tricks to entertain the family during the holidays? Jane has scoured the internet to provide a series of fun daily resources. This is also a great reminder regarding the resources we have readily available to support our learning needs and the potential for making this type of resource availability a foundational component of our workplace learning and engagement strategies.

2016 Reflections on Games and Gamification for Learning by Karl Kapp

If you’ve spent time with your extended family over the holidays, odds are good that you played a game of some type. You’re definitely not alone in your gameplay based on insight shared in this blog post from Karl Kapp. Karl confirms what many of us who leverage gamification in our work observed this year – interest in games for learning is increasing. Gamification in corporate training was seen as a trend just a few years ago with the momentum seeming to have stalled. Now, with improved understanding and evidence of real business impact, organizations are again taking a serious look at the power game mechanics have to promote desired workplace behaviors, including learning and performance.

In Real Life: What Will You Resolve to Do Better in 2017? by JD Dillon

Along the same lines as this post, I also devoted my December Learning Solutions Magazine column to a year-end tradition: resolutions. L&D teams often become paralyzed in their desire to innovate by two conflicting forces. First, we like shiny objects. L&D pros are sometimes drawn to trends that have limited proven viability or applicability in their current context. They are fun to look at and explore, but they don’t really help us solve problems now. At the same time, even our best strategies can easily get sidetracked by the day-to-day demands of our organizations. To drive continued improvement next year, I challenge L&D pros to document personal, achievable resolutions and share them openly within their networks to support ongoing accountability. How will you get better in 2017?

10 Books to Check Out in 2017 by Connie Malamed

One of my suggested L&D resolutions is “get outside your bubble.” This includes looking outside our field for great ideas that can inform our work. This suggested reading list from Connie can help you do just that. Some entries, like Learning Environments by Design from Catherine Lombardozzi, are comfortably within the L&D wheelhouse. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnman looks at the natural of human irrationality, which is a psychological principle that ties nicely to workplace learning. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-lieved, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans looks like a great exploration of how design thinking, a growing L&D topic, can be applied to every part of our lives. While L&D pros must certainly stay grounded within the principles of our field, some of the best innovations that can improve how we do our work are taking place just outside our typical reach. Go get them!

BONUS! A Holiday Song for December (with Slightly Sarcastic Commentary) by Marc Rosenberg

I really wish this article included a sung rendition of the lyrics from Marc! I guess we’ll just have to imagine what that would sound like. In his monthly Learning Solutions Magazine column, Marc provides some commentary on the trendy nature of L&D in a way only he can – written in the format of the Twelve Days of Christmas. While I’m not sure if references to Second Life and Google Glass are all that timely nowadays, I certainly chuckled at the “four LMSs” and “eighth SMEs hiding” lyrics. This is an article that only L&D pros will understand and thoroughly appreciate.


Thanks for reading my monthly curated insights on the Axonify KNOWledge Blog! If you find yourself with some extra reading time during the holidays, check out my Flipboard mags, where I post new articles on a variety of workplace learning topics every day. Happy Holidays!

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.