As 2023 marches swiftly along, we’ve identified several business trends that will continue to impact the world of L&D in the years to come. In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and business, one thing remains certain: change is the only constant. As you build strategic plans for 2024, we encourage you to take these trends into account.
Here are some of the learning and development trends we anticipate will shape 2024:
1. The new paradigm of AI-powered learning
In a tough economy, investments are all about revenue generation. AI could be one of them: Accenture’s seminal report on AI, “Reworking the Revolution,” underscores that if AI is used strategically, it holds the potential to boost business revenue by an estimated 38% and employment by 10%.
2024 will mark a significant shift in how we approach learning and development, thanks to the integration of AI. In fact, 63% of companies plan to increase or maintain artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) spending this year. Despite its limitations, there are opportunities for learning leaders to use AI to reimagine traditional learning models, accelerate learning design and development, and create more personalized learning experiences. With AI-powered models, organizations can analyze individual learning patterns; tailor courses and content to match learning styles and preferences; and provide real-time, hyper-personalized feedback. This level of customization has the potential to greatly enhance employee engagement and accelerate skill acquisition—a crucial asset in a rapidly changing work landscape. Although, at least in the foreseeable future, there will be a place for human-led learning design, L&D teams that do not begin to at least explore AI capabilities will be left behind.
2. Quality training as the engine of business resilience
A recent report by Harvard Business Review highlights that a thoughtfully designed digital workplace can enhance employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction—ultimately driving business growth and resilience. This extends to learning experiences, which need to offer an enjoyable and engaging user experience through seamless technology, thoughtful use of high-impact graphics, and contextualized content that aligns with real business goals.
Imagine your business as a well-tuned car. To keep it running at its best and ensure its longevity on the road, it needs regular maintenance. Similarly, in a challenging economic climate, investing in quality training is non-negotiable. But it’s not just about training for the sake of it—content must be relevant to each learner’s context. Just as you wouldn’t use a sports car’s manual to maintain a truck, training must be tailored to meet the unique needs of individual employees.
3. The rise of continuous learning
Creating a culture that reinforces continuous learning is crucial for improving employee performance and maximizing business impact, resilience, and transformation. Investing in learning also ensures that employees feel useful, supported, and valued, leading to higher revenue, retention, and innovation.
As the pace of technological advancement accelerates in 2024 and beyond, learning will become a continuous journey rather than a destination. Asynchronous scenario simulations that identify gaps while building new skills supported by microlearning delivered at the point of need is one example of a trend we anticipate taking hold in 2024.
4. Formalizing hybrid work models and learning
Two interlinked trends we’ve seen post-COVID are heightened focus on employee well-being and growth of hybrid work arrangements. But there’s a gap between what employees and senior leaders want, with bosses expecting in-person collaboration and workers loath to forgo flexibility the flexibility that working remotely offers.
When it comes to the impact of hybrid work on productivity, you can find a stat that validates your preferences. Ultimately, the goal should be cultivating an inclusive, productive, and motivating work environment. Many companies aren’t there yet, but 2024 will be defined by innovative hybrid work models that, well, actually work!
Organizations should also consider training their leaders in the specific skills required to manage a hybrid team—we did this very successfully for a Fortune 150 pharmaceutical company. And in the learning environment, technology that transcends delivery mode by enabling onsite, remote, and hybrid participation will become a necessity, not a nice-to-have.
Ready to embrace the change?
Heading into the new year, the interplay between AI and the business world is poised to shape the way we work, learn, and adapt. Despite the inevitable uncertainty surrounding the future of work, we believe it holds great promise and potential. If you have a business transformation challenge you’d like to address in 2024, we’d love to hear about it and share insights from our work with other organizations.