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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. The shift to remote work has radically changed how we learn on the job and opened new doors to options many people didn’t previously think possible. A lot 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’ve collected numerous insights for the upcoming year. These five trends will help you ensure your L&D programs are using current strategies to create engaging programs that have an 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.

Social learning suggests that we learn more effectively in social situations and gain skills by observing and following instructions. It’s what we do on an everyday basis. We observe the world around us, learn about consequences and benefits, and can understand new ideas and concepts without doing them ourselves

Think about it: you watch a show featuring a character’s first day at a new job. Their process gives you ideas for how you might approach the same situation, but now you can avoid the mistakes they made and only incorporate the practices that had positive outcomes. 

Now, imagine applying this learning style to work. One person learns something. Then, they teach their fellow employees to incorporate that learning in a way that’s relevant to their specific situation. This approach improves everyone’s knowledge and performance. 

Blog: Embracing Social and Informal Learning to Create a Lifelong Journey of Growth and Transformation

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 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 how well we absorb skills. Experiment with your L&D methods to discover the best approach for your team!

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 coach and one learner, learning communities create environments where everyone shares their research and viewpoints, as well as best practices. In-person or on discussion forums or similar platforms all facilitate this kind of learning, including

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

In the perfect community of practice, your employees are motivated and inspired to learn and share learning alongside the coworkers that they respect and value. Over time, they gain the skills to teach newcomers who ask for help.

Shared, ongoing learning experiences improve everyone’s knowledge and skills and keep them engaged. They can ask questions easily, send messages, and explain points they’ve grasped in unique ways that could help coworkers with similar learning styles. CoPs also encourage direct interaction with instructors. 

The bonding element of communities of practice is also crucial, particularly in our modern workplaces, where so much has transitioned to online. Learning communities are a perfect way for employees to stay connected. With many people working remotely or interacting less often, the act of sharing knowledge is a powerful part of creating supportive workplace relationships.  

Communities of Practice in 2023 

We expect learning communities and CoPs to continue to expand in the new year and onwards. In your organization, this can look like bringing in the examples we shared earlier. Alternatively, you can look for chances to make learning more collaborative. 

If your team needs to gain certain skills, do it together. Invite your employees to learning experiences that encourage them to build community with one another while they learn. Bringing them in on the goals and methods means they’ll be far more invested, and you’ll see a culture of learning start to form, propelling your company forward.

3. Microlearning 

Online learning isn’t going anywhere—it’s just getting shorter. Long eLearning programs can struggle to deliver value to learners. An hour at the computer clicking through slides is enough to make anyone’s eyes glaze over, and if they can’t find the piece of information they’re looking for, they’ll waste time skipping through irrelevant content. This process needs to be improved, and microlearning has risen to the challenge. 

Microlearning—easily digestible lessons typically shorter than three minutes—are growing explosively popular. 

The content could be videos, animations, or static slides, or include interactive components. This style combats our short attention spans while delivering the material we’re actually looking for, without any extra fluff. The learner gets what they need immediately so they can carry on more effectively and efficiently. 

Most microlearning comes in programs of multiple lessons which, when combined, deliver a complete skill set. Specific lessons are easily accessible: a full package may still clock in at over an hour, but the smaller snippets 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. Rather than trying to find that one tip within the full program, the learner can refresh their memory with a single, clearly identified section. 

Microlearning in 2023 

Microlearning is going to be the heart of L&D in 2023. Expect engaging online learning to be drastically shorter and served in packages of multiple lessons.

If you have existing eLearning or video training, review it. What sections are easy to break 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 finding whatever information your employee needs as easy as possible.

4. Hybrid Learning 

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

The old style of learning requires aligning everyone’s schedules for in-person training. Then, to get the most out of the hour or two timeslot, the instructor has to share huge swaths of information all at once. This isn’t efficient, though; it requires extensive planning that takes trainers away from their work. Add in the demand for flexible schedules, remote work, and online communication, and the old style of learning just isn’t practical or efficient. 

Hybrid learning offers some in-person or live learning sessions for the information that’s best learned face to face, then rounds out the course with online lessons the learners can do at home. This L&D style provides easy access whenever employees need it, making information distribution simple and increasing engagement and how much learners can absorb and retain. 

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 our on-the-go lifestyles and increases efficiency.

Hybrid Learning in 2023 

We’re seeing more companies switching to a hybrid model. Online or mobile learning teaches the core content everyone can learn independently; then, face-to-face or virtual instructor-led training gives everyone a chance to 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. The need for hybrid learning is only going to increase as remote work expands. 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 terribly engaging.

We’re seeing more companies creating required learning and development programs that are interesting, entertaining, and directly useful to the learner’s job. 

One way to achieve this is gamification. A more immersive experience makes learners more engaged and motivated to complete lessons and remember what they learned. Gamification requires creating genuinely interesting content that learners want to explore and experience. 

Who doesn’t want training that offers a chance to make choices and drive the learning process instead of just sit back and watch a lesson scroll by on a screen? Gamification creates content that deserves the rapt attention learning requires, no just dense material employees just have to “get through.”

Gamification in 2023 

All the benefits of gamification guarantee this trend will see a huge increase in 2023. Some companies are already incorporating gamification into their L&D programs. You don’t have to go out and buy a dozen VR sets, but any business can scale down the idea and add a few immersive concepts into their training. 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.

Create lessons that keep your 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 to ensure we make L&D as modern and efficient as possible. As we enter 2023, drop the practices 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 incorporating these L&D trends, reach out, and let’s chat!