2022 has felt like a transitional year. With so much of 2021 spent still dealing with COVID-19 and figuring out how the world of work was going to change, 2022 was dedicated to implementing and getting used to those changes.
Where previous years saw working from home take precedence, the last year has arguably been the year of hybrid working. Once again, the growth of online learning materials and e-learning courses only continued.
Looking forwards to 2023, as we settle further into this new style of working that is now so common, we can summarise the themes and trends around training into two key ideas. The first is technological growth.
Technology has become the basis for almost all aspects of most professions now, as we rely on it more than ever before to successfully do our jobs. We can expect to see new technologies come to the fore in learning and development, as technological and digital advancements are creating new opportunities for great training.
Secondly, the pandemic has drastically altered conversations around mental health and well-being, and these will be an important aspect of training going forward. As will other discussions around employees’ personal lives and work-life balance. Ultimately, training programs are considering the needs of their employees, both personal and professional, more than ever before, and this will be apparent in new trends as we move into 2023.
- Training a Hybrid Workforce
One of the overriding trends that has established itself in recent years and will continue to be a challenge (or opportunity!) for learning and development professionals in 2023 is training a hybrid workforce. Many organisations now have employees all over the country, or possibly even the world. Some of these employees split their time between the office and home, whilst others may be fully remote.
With this new personalised and flexible model, learning executives and leaders are facing new challenges with knowing how to train all employees in the same practices and to the same levels despite their different approaches to their jobs. Companies need solutions that offer both in-office and remote workers a quality training experience, which means focusing on communication and inclusion.
This calls for a blended or hybrid approach to training which allows some in-person training, necessary for certain staff members (in some jobs, particularly skill-based roles this may be required), but also offers online courses than can be completed not only wherever suits an employee, but also whenever. Employers are beginning to set up training paths for specific roles, which means employees receive a curated list of courses that relate directly to their jobs when they log into their training system. This usually is on-demand and self-paced.
In-person settings are great for team learning and goal setting, some problems are best worked through in a face-to-face setting. Many of us thrive on thought-sharing, open discussion, and healthy debate. We crave interaction and collaboration, even in learning environments, meaning the classroom is far from dead. However, leaders and managers should ensure that these are still accessible to hybrid employees, such as through virtual classrooms on video-conferencing platforms.
- Social Learning Becoming a Priority
Social learning is becoming more popular, and this is expected to continue as we embark on this new year. Being able to talk with other learners and subject matter experts is more prevalent than ever before.
Social learning isn’t a new concept, the continuous process of learning from other people is as old as humankind. We are learning socially when we observe other people, ask questions, and share knowledge resources with others. That being said, in the context of business or corporate training, social learning has only really established itself as a theme in recent years. This means organisations are supporting social learning by offering environments that foster conversation and encourage collaboration between learners.
Perhaps the move to remote working models and more blended learning programs has encouraged this emphasis on social learning. Working from home has meant less face-to-face collaboration is happening across all aspects of people’s professions, and thus specific measures are having to be put in place to ensure it happens.
A training program that fosters social learning offers learners easy and accessible tools for discussing what they have learnt with others, as well as feeling open and safe to discuss any hesitations. This helps them take control of their learning, find answers when they most need them and simultaneously boosts corporate culture by strengthening employee relationships with both each other and the employer. Learners that are able to support and be supported by other learners are more likely to feel that they’re part of something bigger. This helps with employee retention and productivity too!
- The Move from LMS to LXPs
Following on from above, the prioritisation of social learning is calling for new systems that can accommodate its collaborative nature. Where a learning management system can record and track learning, a learning experience platform facilitates employees’ discussion with one another and can allow direct communication with trainers.
As more organisations look to incorporate social learning, we will see lots of them making the move from using an LMS to using an LXP, which helps focus more on the learner experience. However, despite the fact that modern organisations are now gravitating towards more learner-led practices, rather than management-driven learning experiences, the LMS still serves a purpose in delivering compliance training, and for some businesses, there may be no need to change just yet. Indeed, many LMS’s now include features that combine the LMS and LXP approach.
- Continuous Learning
Everything above leads nicely into the discussion around continuous learning. Social learning allows for continuous learning, where employees feel heard, valued, and motivated.
In essence, continuous learning means employees have constant access to training materials. This may be for review or to learn something entirely new. Simultaneously, the social environment allows them to collaborate and constantly learn from each other.
Helping employees upskill or reskill for the jobs they have and the jobs they want in the future is expected to be a major trend this year. Whilst this may seem counterproductive to employee retention, showing employees that you care about their growth and development is going to boost their relationship with your company and encourage them to perform better, this increases your overall productivity as they are equipped with new skills regularly.
Employees who feel valued are also more likely to consider internal job postings and stay with your organisation than move elsewhere when looking for a promotion.
- Data-Driven Learning through Analytics
Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners, their learning experiences, and the programs and processes that deliver the training. This data can be used to optimise learning and maximise its impact on the organisation’s performance and outcomes.
Training and the way it is delivered is constantly changing. Today, trainers and learning and development professionals have more access than ever to data. With so much training moving digital and online learning becoming such a popular training tool, learning management systems (LMS) are becoming highly sophisticated. This means training professionals and business leaders can use analytics to ensure the training they’re offering is effective for their specific needs. We can expect to see organisations continue to collect new types of data that allow for a highly personalised approach to training that helps ensure an ROI.
- VR and AR
AR and VR technologies are becoming increasingly mainstream, and the training and development industry is no exception to that growth. In fact, these technologies are offering a huge range of benefits to the learning environment, and it is almost certain that with time, their incorporation into training will only grow.
Benefits of incorporating augmented and virtual realities into training include reduced risks for skills-based training, better gamification, memory retention, time-saving, and better diversity and inclusion training. We can expect to see increased incorporation of these technologies into training as time goes on and as the technology itself becomes more accessible.
- Prioritising Well-Being
Finally, recent years have shown us how important well-being is to ensure all employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. We know better than ever how burnout can affect employee health and performance.
In 2023, we can expect more organisations to incorporate well-being training into their programs which improve mental, physical and emotional well-being by giving employees tips and support when facing challenging times.
Ultimately, we cannot predict how 2023 will look for training and development with certainty, but we can anticipate the centrality of technology and the persistent need for employee well-being. In the end, no matter how we work, there is a handful of fundamentally important factors for fulfilling our job roles. Whether we are at home, in the office, or in a classroom; whether we work in finance, sales or marketing, we must be able to communicate, and maintain a healthy state of mind. Employers want to ensure their businesses can grow after a tough few years and want to ensure their employees are the best equipped in the industry to perform for the company and be retained.
The team at Trainer Bubble are committed to supporting our clients on their learning journey and consider the latest learning trends in all that we do. Talk to us today to find out how we can help you achieve your learning goals in 2023 and beyond.