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5 learning and development trends for 2023

It’s time for our annual roundup of the latest trends from the Learning & Development world. 

Last year, we focused on trends in digital learning, including the move towards mobile-first learning and the push for accessibility as standard in workplace L&D programs. These trends continue to be relevant this year, however, the focus on exclusively digital learning has shifted to meet the needs of the hybrid post-pandemic workplace. 

Lead with culture 

The Great Resignation may seem like a distant memory, but up to 70% of employees were still considering a career move in 2022. Even if your organization has not experienced high turnover in the last year, establishing a healthy learning culture is still key to ensuring employee satisfaction and company success. However, achieving this is not as simple as signing up for a generic, off-the-shelf, corporate training subscription. As Melissa Daimler, Chief Learning Officer at Udemy, points out: “A company is not automatically a learning organization when it offers training programs. It may even be the opposite.” Learning has to be more than a mandatory box-ticking exercise and needs to contribute to both company and individual employee goals. Truly useful learning empowers employees to build their skill set, excel in their job role and contribute to the overall success of the business. 

Leverage the power of AI

“Intelligent”, “adaptive” and “personalized” learning systems have emerged over the last few years as a solution to some of the challenges facing the educational sector, such as the rise of remote learning. Technologies such as chatbots are already being integrated with Learning Management Systems (LMS) to create more personal and responsive online learning environments and AI software is able to grade multiple choice tests, saving time and money. Machine learning can also be used to monitor learner progress and identify those at risk of failing. The Open University’s OUAnalyse system identifies students who are at risk of failing their next assignment so that student support teams and course tutors can intervene and offer support. 

While AI is a great tool for customizing learning, UNESCO warns that “AI will only benefit the transformation of teaching practices and education if — by design — it can enhance learner-centered pedagogical approaches and higher-order thinking.” AI is not a replacement for teachers and trained learning professionals. These highly-skilled experts need to be involved in the implementation of AI in education to ensure that it is used to the benefit of the learner and not just as a cost-saving tool. 

The uses of AI technology are set to expand in both formal education and workplace education in the next few years. We’re excited to see how it will transform the L&D sector.

All it takes is a nudge

Whatever industry you’re creating learning for, encouraging completion is key to a successful training program. This is where nudges come in. Nudge theory is all about incentivizing people to learn. Peppering your learning program with little reminders and positive reinforcements can help push learners towards success. Nudges can be delivered in a variety of ways — as LMS pop-ups, email reminders, or SMS messages — what’s important is that the nudge is delivered in a format that learners are familiar with and already engaging with.

Nudges are a crucial part of self-directed learning as the right reminder at the right time can spur learners on to the next stage of their program. We expect to see the learning industry embrace the power of AI to drive learning pathways and offer smart content suggestions to empower self-directed learners to manage their learning.

Whatever form they take, nudges need to be short and to the point, delivered at the right time and relevant to the learner’s progress.

Embrace AR

In the world of product training, the shift to online shopping has led to some innovative developments in customer experience and education. Brands are increasingly introducing virtual try-on software to bring the store to you. The IKEA app lets shoppers create a 3D scan of their room and then add, swap, move around and erase old furniture to create their dream space. Ace & Tate’s Fitting Room service lets you choose the perfect pair of specs for your living room sofa. As online retail continues to grow, we expect that the use of augmented reality will too, with online customer education becoming more customized and personalized. 

We also expect to see this trend grow in the Learning & Development world. Companies can use AR to create engaging onboarding experiences, such as a virtual tour of the company office for remote workers, and to bring essential workplace training to life. Companies can complement e-Learning based Health and Safety training with an AR overview, creating a mobile view of the company buildings overlaid with interactive hotspots outlining key safety measures, such as how to use a fire extinguisher, and spotlighting the location of fire extinguishers, exit routes, power access points and more. 

Harness hybrid learning

The pandemic shook up the workplace training paradigm and revealed that most in-person learning could be done just as well, if not better, online. However, as many businesses move towards a hybrid work setup, combining the best of digital with in-person interactions will be the key to effective workplace learning. 

In-person sessions are great for team learning and goal setting. Whether it’s working through your quarterly team objectives or fine tuning your annual strategy, some problems are best worked through in a face-to-face setting. As a team, we’ve loved using Pip Decks to dive deeper into our team challenges and to find creative ways to solve them. 

Online learning, on the other hand, is great for working through individual learning goals. If you’re a new manager and you want to learn all about Agile project management techniques or a seasoned copywriter looking to refresh your SEO knowledge, e-Learning is the perfect medium to use to meet your objectives. 

In summary

In 2022, we’ve continued to see training grow in importance both in the workplace and in product marketing as more and more companies invest in customer education. Learning and development is a key part of all aspects of life and companies who fail to invest in learning will see lower employee and customer satisfaction. 

Get in touch to find out how we can help you grow a learning culture with your people and customers in 2023. 

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