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How L&D Rocked in 2023: The Top 5 Trends That Shaped the Industry

'Tis the time for reflection and, although I don’t want to add another one of those articles into the mix, I still feel it’s important we look critically at the trends that shaped the Learning & Development (L&D) industry in 2023 so we can do better in 2024.  



There’s an AI for That 

OK, let’s get the big one out of the way: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Who would have thought this time last year that a little something called AI would turn our world upside down? Fun fact, AI has been around for a long time. Regardless, everyone became an AI expert overnight and if you believe the various vendors in the field, everyplatform has AI capabilities that will change everything we do.  

But hold on a second. While I was perusing various expo halls during conference season, one thing became clearto me. Most vendors use AI to speed up content creation. Some of us might be happy about that, but I look at this more critically. Remember when rapid authoring tools first came out and everyone became an Instructional Designer? I’m worried that, with the wave of AI tools, we will keep on adding bad content to the already massive amount of (bad) content that our learners have to sift through. Where is the effectiveness of that? And how is that making a difference in our learners’ lives? What I want to see from AI is how it can help us strategically plan our workforce, personalize content (not just produce it), give us more deep data analytics, and support repetitive tasks we do every day.  



Neither Here nor There 

A request we saw repeatedly this year was hybrid learning. With organizations asking their employees back to the office 2 –  3 times a week, our workforce is dispersed like never before. And learning doesn’t happen only on days that someone is in the office or at home. Hybrid learning doesn’t mean that you run your ILT and broadcast it at the same time to a virtual audience. In fact, doing so is a bad approach because neither group will get the most out of that disconnected learning experience. Hybrid learning means that you create learning experiences that your employees can seamlessly access, regardless of location. No matter where they are, the experience continues from one place to the next. It is not an easy (or cheap) feat, but necessary to increase the impact you want to see. Deloitte’s Human Capital Trend Report 2023 goes into more detail about the importance of engaging learners across various workplace ecosystems and creating a seamless transition between physical, digital, and hybrid workplaces.  



It's More Fun When We’re Together 

Learners are eager for more face time with their coworkers, and collaborative or cohort learning experiences were high on the list in 2023 for many organizations. You can facilitate these kinds of experiences with a dedicated platform, such as Intrepid, or you can use tools that you already have in place. Microsoft Teams is a great starting point for collaborative learning, and you can even augment the experience with a virtual assistant or AI chatbot to moderate your cohort.  



Soft but Critical 

The desire to connect with others accompanies the need to be able to work with others, communicate effectively, and lead others — to just name a few soft skills. There is also a need to critically think about how advances like AI will impact our jobs and lives, and analyze more and more data. Reskilling the workforce on soft skills is a must, with the World Economic Forum offering the following top 10 list:   

  • Analytical thinking 
  • Creative thinking
  • Resilience, flexibility, and agility
  • Motivation and self-awareness
  • Curiosity and life-long learning
  • Technological literacy
  • Dependability and attention to detail
  • Empathy and active listening
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Quality control

To show the biggest impact in 2024, develop a solid skills framework for your organization’s needs.  



The Proof Is in the Pudding 

With the rising need for training and the creation of more programs comes a mountain of data. Data analytics has never really gone out of style, but it seems that with the heightened importance of AI, it’s moving back into the spotlight. This is ironic because most AI platforms, as mentioned above, only produce more content vs. look at training effectiveness.  

But I digress. The connection between business goals, strategic objectives, and the impact of L&D programs, learner behavior, and outcomes is crucial to an L&D practice that wants to be embedded in the business. Always start with the end in mind, identify what impact your training program should achieve, and work backward from there. 



If you are interested in learning more about any of the above trends and getting ready for the new year, connect with an Ardent specialist today to talk about your 2024 L&D Strategy.

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