The final invoice is in from my company’s kick-off meeting that took place last month, and the grand total was more than $500,000. That’s a huge investment for an internal meeting.

Is there a better way to motivate our employees without the big investment? Could the solution be a blend of in-person and online learning?

Promotional Consultant Today shares these trends in employee training from key learning and development experts.

1. Rich media. If you’ve ever heard talk about different learning styles and how some people are visual or auditory learners, Michael Noble, chief learning officer for Allen Communication, is quick to set the record straight. He says “learning types” are a myth. We are all visual and auditory learners. Everyone learns better when they are able to associate visuals with other media such as text and sound. Good design finds ways to incorporate different media, and the decreasing costs of rich media (streaming video and audio, for example) make expanded use of animation and interactive graphics a no-brainer. By bringing rich media into your blended learning, you’re going to have better outcomes.

2. Personalization. The need for scalable personalization is crucial for consumer execution, as well as for optional training or education that needs viral distribution. Using basic portal technology combined with learner-initiated, user-created profiles, you can serve up content in a highly personalized way. Giving learners a personalized experience has boosted engagement and helped learning go viral in organizations like HP and others.

3. Bite-sized, non-linear education. One of the most frequent requests we get from clients is for shorter, more accessible learning. With employees busy with other duties and often on the go, giving learners bite-sized programs is vital. Still, we need to be careful, since putting many five-minute segments in a sequence may be as tedious or difficult as a few one-hour engagements. For example, we can teach five specific concepts in five minutes (5-in-5) in multiple formats that can be accessed individually or combined in multiple sequences based on your training need.

4. Integration of mobile into existing programs. Mobile and other types of e-learning are growing quickly, especially when used as a supplement to the classroom. They can be used before and after the classroom training to update and provide content, and provide an interactive device for polling, gamification or other tools in the class itself.

5. Gamification. When deployed correctly, gamification is still an important trend, providing a way to engage with content as well as providing a mechanism for repeated practice or exploration of important concepts in a competitive way. Gamification is often used to enable the learner to practice and clarify the understanding of complex and critical processes.

Each of these trends can contribute to a shorter, more engaging, more accessible and effective learning experience.

Source: Ron Zamir is the president and CEO of Allen Communication.