What do we anticipate do be the most popular learning trends for 2023 and why? This year is set to be another challenging one with economies facing volatile energy prices and high levels of inflation. Inevitably L&D teams will feel those chill winds, as budgets are put on hold or cuts to budgets are threatened. So, what will help you insulate yourself and your learning team as best you can, and even garner extra investment – despite economic pressures?
Prove your value
We know that learning teams struggle with measuring their impact. Back in 2019, only 14% of L&D professionals reported they were effective in measuring the impact of learning and three years on the picture has not significantly changed. In our latest research only 1 in 5 feel they are very advanced with measuring their impact on performance and productivity.
But, in a world with an abundance of data, measuring the impact of learning through benchmarking outcomes needs to be at the top of our agenda because quantifiable, measurable success is so crucial to protecting budgets and building the case for investment in learning. And especially when worried CFOs are looking to manage costs.
So, 2023 needs to be the year learning teams think about building a stronger ‘CORE’ when they initiate their projects in the coming months.
Now measurement and evidence do not need to be complicated when using this approach. As a bare minimum, have your stakeholders provide targets, today’s benchmarks and results – so that you can track your contribution to business improvements over time. And using assessments to check learners’ starting points will help benchmark individual improvement. So, focus on evidence if you want to show your value.
Focus on the priorities
At a time when budgets are under pressure and resources are tight, one proven method for maintaining investment in learning is for you to align closely to your business’s priorities. Those initiatives that the organization has a deep commitment to delivering for future success or that deliver performance now.
Naturally, those that have the biggest return in their business case or solve the most significant business challenges are the initiatives that need your time and focus. Identifying these initiatives will come from proactively engaging with senior stakeholders and project offices.
So, prioritize your focus on business transformation, upskilling and reskilling, business improvement and career development.
However, around half of L&D practitioners think they are advanced in mobilizing around strategic organizational priorities. So, for learning teams to be valued by stakeholders in 2023 they need to be delivering value! Our research also shows that learning teams’ execution in anything other than compliance training represents a huge opportunity for improvement.
Align to Skills
Skills development is a hot topic in HR and across organizations because of the lack of availability of talent. Skills are also changing rapidly. LinkedIn’s Future of Skills research shows the pace of change in skills from 2015 until today. Most jobs have on average changed by 44% over the past seven years. And you typically need three new skills that did not exist in 2015, just still to stand still in the same role today.
Add to that the rapid changes from digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution and the impact of not investing in your people’s skills to deliver your organization’s future becomes a matter of organizational survival.
Most L&D professionals in our research understand this and skills are a high priority for 76% of organizations. However, 4 in 5 report significant skills gaps in their organization. This inevitably impedes day-to-day operational performance and the ability to realize market opportunities. But only half see themselves as leaders in developing skills. So, there are two challenges for L&D teams that need to be a priority for L&D in 2023.
- Work with HR to integrate learning into the wider HR initiatives that support skills
- Evolve your learning approach to effectively develop skills, especially through supporting coaching, opportunities for practice and rehearsal, and ‘learning through work.’
It is time to be aligned with skills!
Be more efficient and effective
Digital learning has often been about delivering more learning at a lower cost. It has been critical at extending the reach of learning in what is now a remote or dispersed workforce. And its adoption has surged in the wake of the pandemic. But again, what we know from our Digital Learning Realities research for 2022 is that most adoption is immature.
Digital learning delivery is frequently one size fits all. This reduces its effectiveness and efficiency. Content is also mainly focused on knowledge transfer, rather than the development of skills and behaviors. So, another important area of focus for 2023 is how to make learning more effective and efficient.
This can be achieved by better targeting, more effective knowledge transfer, and, most importantly, enabling better skills rehearsal and practice.
There are three complementary approaches that should be part of your smarter approach to learning in 2023 that will help drive better efficiency and effectiveness.
- Adaptive Learning – this adapts the content to the individual to make sure that they have the optimal path through their learning
- Spaced Repetition – this uses smaller, bite-sized learning to help learners retain their knowledge longer, often using assessments to help target the knowledge that is fading.
- Immersive – scenario-based learning – this puts the learner into a virtual scenario to bring their learning into practice in a safe environment, to help navigate processes, procedures, equipment, and challenging people interactions.
Being more personalized is at the heart of each approach, and that personalization is the key to more effective and efficient learning.
2023 looks like it is going to be a tough year, for most, if not all of us. But that should not be a cause for pessimism. When there are great challenges, that’s when we need to be at our most resourceful, focused, and inventive – seeing each challenge as a catalyst to change for the better.
Even when budgets are tight, the things that get us fit for the lean times are the things that accelerate us into the good times. So, embrace innovation, get creative, focus on the priorities with your stakeholders and be relentless in evidencing value.
Written by David Perring, Director of Research, Fosway Group
Research from Fosway Learning Realities 2022. Copyright Fosway Group Limited.