7 L&D Trends For 2024 as Predicted by L&D Pros
It is often said that Learning & Development bridges the goals of an employee with those of an organization. But, with the global workforce continuing to evolve, does this belief still stand true?
According to the World Economic Forum’s report, automation and economic uncertainty (due to the pandemic) have shifted the division of labor between humans and machines. 85 million jobs will be displaced, but 97 million new ones will be created by 2025.
This data has elevated the importance of redefining L&D strategies amongst 66% of global L&D pros who are now reshaping their organization. They are embracing a value-based culture – one that builds an equitable workplace.
To help you understand current trends and priorities in L&D, we took notes from L&D experts who are changing the game.
#1. L&D needs to be performance and data-driven
A 2019 HBR article inferred that the current L&D practices are ineffective and not designed for real-life situations. Although this data is old, there is still some credibility in their message. Since there’s no indication that processes have been updated significantly.
- 75% of 1,500 managers surveyed from 50+ organizations were dissatisfied with their company’s (L&D) function;
- 70% of employees reported that they didn’t have the required level of expertise to do their jobs;
- Only a tiny 12% of employees applied new skills learned in L&D programs - 12% of employees
Brandon Burtner, Learning Operations Program Partner at Robinhood in Learning Conference 2021, says,
“Training is not our product. Results are our product. None of us joined L&D to develop training modules that waste people’s time. We are here to make a difference – to develop effective employees and high-functioning teams.”
And rightly so. Training programs that fail to consider real-life situations are not only ineffective, but also cease your employees’ professional growth, as mentioned by Conrad Gottfredson, Co-founder and Chief Learning Strategist at Apply Synergies in Learning Conference 2021.
“If people can't perform effectively on the job or we can't tie our learning solutions back to the business's goals, what's the point?"
But haven’t we always measured L&D initiatives?
Yes. But the focus has primarily been on measuring CPE (continuous professional education) credits. Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University and author of The Case Against Education, says that employees don’t focus on learning, instead their aim is to only get promoted.
When measured against CPE credits as their KPI, L&D staff also beget flawed outcomes since the impact on the business and information retention is not a huge factor.
The KPIs of the future must include -
- Knowledge retention
- Participant satisfaction score
- Training performance vs. performance of the organization
- Employee engagement
- Stakeholder satisfaction
Quantifying the value of L&D initiatives isn’t simple, but employee feedback is a crucial part of it. Although there has been an increase in L&D pros that use employee survey scores to measure the impact of learning, only 27% of L&D pros reported doing so in 2021.
Here’s LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning 2021 report that revealed top 10 ways L&D pros measure the impact of learning.
This is an excellent time to incorporate one or more of these metrics into your L&D program as learning continues to become pivotal in organizations.
#2. L&D pros must build a healthy learning ecosystem: One-size-fits-one
In March 2020, LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning report had uncovered that only 27% of L&D pros had CEOs that actively championed learning.
The pandemic changed the game.
Learning is no longer a “nice to have” initiative. Instead, 64% of L&D pros agree that learning programs is a “need to have” at their organization.
So how do you build a healthy learning ecosystem?
Rio Rios, Learning Manager at Nike, shares,
“Your learning culture is what you need to build to establish a very healthy learning ecosystem. The most important thing in the learning ecosystem is the people. People are the ones gaining from the knowledge transfer." (Learning 2021 Conference)
Putting this in action at Netflix, learning at the exec level took a different route. Naphtali Bryant, Director, Learning & Organization Development at Netflix, recommends a “one-size-fits-one approach.”
In partnership with HRBPs (Human Resource Business Partners) and executives, he found the 3 habits leaders needed to lead virtually, and emphasised the importance of using a blended learning model to deliver pre and post-work training.
He then translated the customized approach for other groups. Over 6 weeks, 188 leaders were taken through a one-hour conversation that proved to be extremely valuable for organizations.
Learning culture starts at the top. When those in leadership roles advocate for learning, the effects are seen far and wide.
#3. Focus on psychological safety
Understandably, establishing psychological safety is a top priority among almost all L&D pros. It ensures the development of your people in the right way.
Dr. Timothy Clark, author of ‘The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety,’ says: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation, says employees must go through 4 stages before they feel safe and free to make valuable contributions.
Stage 1: Inclusion Safety
Employees must feel safe to bring their whole selves to work and feel accepted.
Stage 2: Learner Safety
Employees must feel free to ask questions, give and receive feedback, experiment, and make mistakes.
Stage 3: Contributor Safety
Employees feel safe to use their skills to make a meaningful contribution.
Stage 4: Challenger Safety
Employees feel safe to challenge the status quo if there’s room for improvement.
Whether you’re leading training modules or hosting a meeting - your L&D program should be able to create psychological safety for all your employees.
#4. Budgets will shift from ILT to blended online training in 2022
ILT or instructor-led training is usually the most expensive component of the L&D budget. But the pandemic-induced digital acceleration shifted us away from ILT to online training.
This doesn’t put instructors at a setback. The pandemic saw a gradual shift from ILT to VILT or virtual instructor-led training. With companies adapting hybrid workplaces, blended online training (online + VILT) will become the status quo.
Data from LinkedIn’s Workplace report backs this up. In early 2020, 38% of L&D pros expected they would spend less on ILT, and 57% predicted they would spend more on online learning.
In 2021, these numbers have shot up significantly. 73% of L&D pros expect to spend less on ILT, and 79% hope to spend more on online learning.
#5. On-demand learning will become the norm
Online training has also opened up a whole new array of learning – an on-demand Netflix-style learning library.
The best part? This is compatible with how our brain works.
In 1968, psychologist Edwin Locke showed the impact of short feedback loops with his Theory of Motivation. Instead of learning the same things as everyone else on L&D’s schedule, employees get to choose what they want to learn when they want to learn it.
This also helps with information retention. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, discovered the “The Forgetting Curve.”
If new information isn’t applied, you forget about 75% of it after just 6 days.
A natural extension of online learning is microlearning
Robyn A. D, Learning Innovator and Strategist, shared some tips to maximize microlearning at the Learning Conference 2021 -
- Create a goal for microlearning designed to elicit action from the learner
- Integrate microlearning in a carefully orchestrated way
- Microlearning must be accessible for everyone - the digitally fluent and the ones that might need more help
#6. L&D and D&I will work together more
Companies with D&I programs are more likely to be seen as industry leaders with high-caliber talent. Thus, helping businesses to accomplish their goals, and retain top talent. A big reason why Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) should be implemented in every organization.
And while D&I teams have worked with L&D to deliver joint training, this will become a higher priority for L&D pros. 64% of global L&D pros surveyed by LinkedIn have made D&I a priority.
#7. Learning will become more social
While we routinely tout all the benefits of remote work, there are very real downsides. Feeling disengaged from co-workers and managers tops the list.
A Glint-designed survey of 2,393 members found that 31% of employees felt less connected to leaders and 37% felt disengaged with teammates.
Since the shift from instructor-led training (ILT), L&D initiatives need to include the social element through community building. Some companies have already taken this step. According to CIPD, 28% of companies employ social learning to deliver e-learning. That’s up from 19% in 2020.
Community-based learning also results in higher engagement. LinkedIn Learning’s data revealed that those that used social features watched 30x hours of content compared to those that didn’t.
Social learners can engage with peers, colleagues, and experts and end up making new connections.
Next-Gen Learning: The future of L&D?
With rapidly changing times, a.k.a., The Great Resignation, exacerbated labor shortages, and market disruption - pushing the industrial era learning models out of sync.
Right now is the time for L&D pros to scrap the old models in favor of Next-Gen Learning.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation describes Next-Gen Learning as “the intelligent use of technology to develop innovative learning models and personalized educational pathways.”
We’ve already seen instances of Next-Gen Learning throughout this blog post, so some of this is a recap.
Focus on personalization
Drop the uniform learning or the one-size-fits-all approach for a customized one-size-fits-one approach. Learners must have the power to choose - when and how to grow - instead of training on a rigid schedule.
Invest in a career center
Support employees with a career center where they can access learning on-demand, train for new roles as their interests evolve, and connect with managers who can benefit from those skills.
Consider AI and automated solutions
Creating and curating personalized development paths might require AI and other automated solutions that make it easy to set these up and replicate them for others.
Meet learners at the point of need
Instead of getting employees to spend time away from their roles, make microlearning a part of their usual workflow.
➡️ The Takeaway
L&D leaders are now becoming more aware about the benefits of evolving their L&D strategy. With the incoming fourth industrial revolution, it has become easier than ever to connect the physical and digital worlds.
New tech has made Next-Gen Learning economically feasible and practical for organizations that want to future-proof their L&D initiatives. While this sounds like a big budget, and a risky program to initiate, the rewards are great.
Want to know what Next-Gen Learning might look like at your company?
Talk to one of Zavvy’s employee enablement experts today to discuss your L&D strategy. (No strings attached).