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3 essential skills that trainers will need by 2025

Ever wondered what skills training managers will need in the future? We heard from Stéphane Diebold, head of the training association AFFEN, during a conference held at the SRH E-learning Expo. Having worked as an executive within dozens of companies, Stéphane established AFFEN, which he describes as the first think tank and “do tank” for training managers. Passionate about all things training, he touched on some key skills that trainers will need to remain relevant in the future. Rise Up was there. Here are some of our key takeaways from the session.


What will happen to physical shops in the next few years, given that they are already being shunned in favour of online purchases? Will they become showrooms or distribution warehouses? Whatever they become, the skills of the people who work are going to change diametrically.

The fact is that as employees, we’re all required to improve ourselves and add strings to our bows as the world evolves, particularly as new technologies develop. Trainers are no different: they need to ensure that they acquire new skills and remain employable.

It’s worth bearing in mind that creating a training course takes two years on average. However, during this two-year elaboration phase, all of its content could become irrelevant, meaning that the training course could become obsolete by the time the provider gets round to releasing it. That’s why trainers need to be agile, vigilant and full of imagination in order to anticipate future trends.

This revolution in the world of training therefore requires a new way of understanding trainers and trainees, as well as a new way of identifying future learning trends.


The new skills that training managers need to acquire by 2025


According to Stéphane Diebold, there are three main skills that will be essential.


essential skills training managers

1. E-learning marketing

We are living in a new era, where learners’ needs are central to the learning process. In fact, many courses are now available for free and are personalised.

The low level of learner engagement in professional training programmes has led those in charge of training courses to consider trainee experience and, by extension, to take an interest in the needs, expectations and wishes of each employee in terms of how they acquire and maintain their skills.

Learner engagement therefore poses a real challenge for companies wanting to train up their employees. It is particularly important when it comes to optional training courses or self-directed training.

The question that plays on the mind of every self-respecting training manager is: “How can I engage my employees in training courses when they are snowed under with work?”

To make them want to take a training course, you need to understand what motivates them. What is driving them? How are they consuming the training product? What is it that’s making them abandon a course partway through? To understand what motivates them, you also need to consider what is putting them off or impeding their progress. Realistically, these are the obstacles you need to remove before doing anything else.

Then – and this is where the trainer needs to go above and beyond – it’s a case of rebranding the course. Basically, the trainer needs to sell the dream.

It’s not just about providing decent training but about inspiring trainees to learn. It’s imparting that desire to learn and establishing a new kind of long-term relationship with the trainee throughout the learning process.

Giving trainees the desire to learn within an organisation goes beyond offering remote or in-person training. Regardless of the learning format, you have to offer them an experience. If employees are feeling anxious and stressed, training can be a breath of fresh air, a welcome distraction and a pretext for “getting away from it all” and reconnecting with colleagues. Expressed in these terms, a training course can be sold as a safe space away from the harsh world of corporate affairs.

When marketed in these terms, a training course, including an e-learning training course, becomes quite appealing. So, what next? You need to know how to showcase it to generate interest, and then think about how you will get the word out. In neuroscience, studies of the learning process have shown that it’s not what you say, but how you say it. In other words, it’s not the message that counts, but the messenger. This is the principle of emotional contagion: if you put your heart and soul into your training course, your energy will be infectious, and your trainees will be more likely to get on board with it.


e-learning engagement lxp


2. E-learning teaching theory


We know that digitalising training courses involves completely rethinking the teaching theory we apply to in-person training. This is not just because the training methods are different but because our way of delivering in-person sessions has remained unchanged for decades – meaning that it has not been fit for purpose for some time now!

It’s this paradigm shift that makes the transition to digital learning more difficult, rather than the transition to technology per se (which can also make people uneasy).

The real question for trainers is: “What training method do you use, and who came up with it?”

You need your training method to be rooted in technology, because technology is rooted in learning. Integrating digital technology into training has made it much more playful than before. And games are a great basis for teaching!

It’s therefore a case of taking the lead with technology rather than necessarily becoming a tech expert.

Being a trainer in a digital era means being a leader, that is, someone who takes the lead and gives learners direction.

The teaching direction you take should be influenced by your intended trainees. The average age for an employee to start working at a company nowadays is 21.


According to Stéphane, “if trainers want to do a good job and stay ahead of the game, they should take a look at what’s happening on TikTok.”


Why? Because most of its users are aged 18 to 24, and because TikTok is great at engaging its users. In fact, this age demographic spends almost one and a half hours every day on the platform.

In this day and age, when people ask “How can we train our employees remotely and keep them engaged?”, the answer is pretty simple. It’s by using microlearning to produce learning stories and short-format visual content.

How does this work in practice? There are three core principles to adhere to:


  1. Capture the learner’s attention.
  2. Be snappy and impactful.
  3. Spice up the content.

Still not completely sold? Here’s some food for thought. Did you know that:


  • You can get a message across in less than 20 seconds?
  • You can memorise 5 times more information when it is presented alongside an image or a figure?

So, if you want to become a training leader, consider the following questions:


  • How well can I monitor my trainees?
  • How well do I understand the technology?
  • How can I capture learners’ attention?
  • How can I make the content more exciting?
  • How can I have a greater impact?

Another way of engaging learners is to make them do the work! Why? Because the more a trainer talks and explains, the less ‘doing’ goes on. And the less learners do, the less they learn.

Adopt the foot-in-the-door technique. For example, hold learning labs rather than lectures by experts. It’s about doing, experimenting and practising, then reflecting on it all afterwards.

According to this method, the input comes from trainees, rather than the trainer. It’s about handing back to learners and letting them come up with ideas themselves. As opposed to necessarily being a great speaker, the instructor needs to be agile. They need to know how to get the best out of each learner.


3. Course evaluation and data analytics

course evaluation and data analysis


The magic of digital training is that there is a traceable record of every stage of the course. This “course memory” is a gold mine, as it can be used to create a knowledge hub on a training topic, allowing trainees to develop and improve their knowledge further.

This knowledge hub will be brimming with data, but you need to know how to use it first (knowledge management). First, you need to sort through all of this data:


  • What should you keep?
  • Is the amount of time trainees are spending on the course a relevant metric? If so, why?
  • What is the completion rate of the course?
  • Which data can give me indications as to the quality of my training course?
  • How can I tell if trainees are enjoying the course or not?
  • How can I tell if trainees are picking things up?
  • What algorithm should I use to extract this information?

An algorithm is never neutral. Coming up with an algorithm involves selecting certain criteria, rather than repeating the same processes over and over again.

What lessons can we draw from the new skills that trainers will need by 2025? What impact will this have on the employability of trainers? The key learning point is that trainers need to be willing to explore new and unfamiliar topics, technologies and trends, even if they haven’t yet mastered them. Artificial intelligence is just one such example of a new area that trainers will need to get to grips with in future.


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