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BLOG5 L&D Trends for 2023


As the new year approaches, there are plenty of exciting changes to look forward to in the Learning and Development field. 

The past three years have been tumultuous for organizations and employees. There’s been a shift to remote work that has radically changed how we learn on the job, and opened new doors to options that many people didn’t previously think possible. Many of these shifts are exciting opportunities, and now is the perfect time to assess your learning and development strategy for 2023. 

We’re always keeping an eye out for updates in L&D, and we have a number of insights for the upcoming year. Our five trends will help you ensure your L&D programs are using current strategies to create engaging programs with impact.

We’ll explore:

  1. Social Learning
  2. Communities of Practice
  3. Microlearning
  4. Hybrid Learning
  5. Gamification

1. Social Learning

Humans are social creatures. The more we recognize this, the more we can use it to our advantage, particularly in learning. That’s where social learning comes in. 

Social learning suggests that we learn more effectively in a social context, and can pick up skills through observation and instruction. It’s what we do on an everyday basis. We observe the world around us, take in information to learn about consequences and benefits, and come to understand new ideas and concepts without having to physically reproduce them ourselves. Think about it—you can watch a show featuring a character’s first day at a new job and get ideas for how you might approach the same situation in your own life—avoiding any of the mistakes the character made and making the good choices that resonated with you. 

Now, imagine applying this learning style to work. Once one person learns something, they can then teach their fellow employees in a way that’s relevant for their organization and can improve everyone’s knowledge and performance. 

Social Learning in 2023 

Unsurprisingly, this type of learning has grown in popularity and will only continue to do so next year. 

You can facilitate social learning in your company in the following ways:

  • Choose coaches who are skilled at their tasks, but also patient and encouraging. The best type of social coaching is subtle and intelligent. 
  • Encourage collaboration, discussion, and workshops. 
  • Keep your learners involved in the full process of projects so they gain information about the entire task. 
  • Invite your learners to give feedback on the amount of support they receive, as well as their challenges and expectations.

Social learning drastically improves learner engagement and skill absorption—adopt it in your L&D methods and experiment to find the best method for your company!

2. Communities of Practice

Similar to social learning, a community of practice (CoP) allows us to grow and develop alongside other people. Rather than one person coaching one learner, learning communities facilitate environments where everyone shares their knowledge and learning with each other. 

In a CoP, learners interact and share their research, learnings, and viewpoints, along with best practices they follow, around specific topics. This can happen in-person or take place on discussion forums or similar platforms. 

This can look like:

  • Group chats
  • Learning circles
  • Content-sharing sessions
  • Shared excel sheets
  • LMSs created to facilitate this process

In the perfect community of practice, your employees will be motivated and inspired to learn, and share learning, about a topic alongside the coworkers that they respect and value. This will further inspire them to encourage others to learn with them, and over time, they’ll gain the skills to teach newcomers the skills they need whenever they ask for help. This shared, ongoing learning experience improves the knowledge and skills of everyone involved and keeps learners engaged. They can ask questions easily, send messages to one another, encourage or explain points they’ve grasped to a coworker who isn’t quite there yet, and directly interact with their instructors. 

The bonding element of communities of practice is also crucial, particularly in our modern workplaces where so much has transitioned online. Learning communities are a perfect way for employees to stay connected and continue to develop their learning together. With many people working remotely or not interacting as often, the act of working together to share knowledge can be powerful in creating supportive workplace relationships.  

Communities of Practice in 2023 

We expect communities of learning to continue to expand in the new year and onwards. In your organization, this can look like bringing in the examples we shared earlier—or simply start looking for chances to make learning collaborative. 

If your team needs to gain certain skills, do it together. Invite your employees into a learning experience that encourages them to learn new skills, build community with one another, and propel your company forward. By bringing them in on the goals and methods, they’ll be far more invested and you could see a culture of learning start to form. 

3. Microlearning 

Online learning isn’t going anywhere—it’s just getting shorter. Long elearning programs can struggle to deliver value to learners. Whether it’s because an hour at the computer clicking through slides makes the learner’s eyes glaze over, or they can’t find that specific piece of information they’re looking for and waste time skipping through irrelevant content—there’s plenty of room to improve and microlearning has risen to the challenge. 

Microlearning—lessons that are short and easily digestible, typically less than three minutes—are growing explosively popular. 

These short bits of learning content may be developed as videos, animations, static slides or interactive content. They work to combat our short attention spans, but also deliver the material the learner is looking for without any extra fluff. The learner’s needs are immediately met and they can continue with their task, saving time and learning at the same time. 

Most microlearning lessons come in packages of multiple lessons, coming together to deliver a complete skill set—but are easily accessible for whatever specific lesson the learner needs in the moment. A full lesson may still clock in at over an hour, but it will be broken up into small snippets that work for the learner’s schedule. 

Microlearning lessons are easy to review again at a later date, especially for that one concept that didn’t quite stick. The learner can refresh the one part of a program they didn’t fully understand. 

Microlearning in 2023 

Microlearning is going to be the heart of L&D in 2023. Expect engaging, online learning to drastically shrink in length and come in packages. 

If you have existing elearning or video training, review it. Are there sections that could be easily broken up into bite-sized pieces, based on topic? Overlap among the specific lessons is fine if it isn’t redundant and provides the skills needed for each video. The key is to make it easy to find the information needed.

4. Hybrid Learning 

Convenient learning continues to be a theme, and this trend stands out in hybrid learning. With such a shift to learning online, the time of going to a seminar for a day and sitting through eight hours of content are nearly gone. 

The old style of learning required aligning schedules for in-person training and remembering large swaths of information all given at once. The problem with this is that it isn’t efficient—requiring extensive coordination for planning and requiring trainers to take time away from their work. Combine that with today’s flexible schedules, remote work, and online communication, and the old style of learning is no longer practical or efficient. 

Hybrid learning addresses these problems, offering some in-person or live learning sessions for the essential information, and then rounding out the lesson with online lessons that the learners can watch on their own. Partnered with mobile learning, this L&D style provides easy access to information for employees whenever they need it, making information distribution simple, and increasing the engagement and information absorption for employees. 

We’re seeing L&D adjust to suit our lives, and with the virtual shift, accessible and convenient training is more important than ever. It suits the on-the-go lifestyle many of us have adapted to and increases efficiency with lessons that are available for the exact topic the learner needs, when they need it.

Hybrid Learning in 2023 

We’re seeing more companies switching to a hybrid model—using online or mobile learning to teach the core content everyone needs to know and can learn on their own, then switching to face-to-face or virtual instructor-led training where the learners can apply that learning. 

If you don’t already offer a hybrid model, try shifting in that direction while building up your bank of video-based lessons that learners can watch on the go. The need for hybrid learning is only going to increase as we continue the trend of remote work. Create a culture that meets your learners where they are, providing what they need in the moment to get their jobs done. 

5. Gamification 

Unfortunately, a lot of corporate training isn’t that engaging.

We’re seeing more companies focused on creating learning and development programs that address this problem—making their learning opportunities interesting, engaging, and directly useful to the learner’s job. 

One way to achieve this is gamification. By introducing game elements and a more immersive experience, learners are more engaged and motivated to complete lessons and learn the skills they need, creating genuinely interesting content that learners want to explore and experience. 

And who wouldn’t want to experience training that offers them a potential scenario where they get to engage, make choices, and drive the learning rather than passively sitting back and watching a lesson scroll by on a screen? Gamification creates content that deserves their attention and isn’t just something to sit through until completion.

Gamification in 2023 

With all the benefits of gamification, it will see a huge increase in 2023. Some companies are already incorporating gamification into their L&D programs regularly. You don’t have to go out and buy a dozen VR sets quite yet, but scaling down the idea and adding immersive-inspired concepts into your training is perfectly manageable. Look into what options suit your company and L&D styles. 

To start introducing gamification into your training, consider these options:

  • Host a learning competition.
  • Update your training materials to include more choices for the learner.
  • Tweak the format of lessons to be more advancement-style, where you complete one section to advance to the next section.
  • Introduce rewards for success or finishing certain sections.

By creating lessons that keep the learners engaged and motivated to move forward, they’ll learn far more than they would have otherwise, and even have fun!

In Conclusion

With so much constantly changing, we’re paying close attention to the shifts and updates in how to make L&D as modern and efficient as possible. As we enter 2023, drop the practices that are holding you back and embrace the approaches that will make your organization—and your employees—reach their greatest potential. 

If you’d like more guidance on how to incorporate these L&D trends, reach out and let’s chat!