13 Learning & Development (L&D) Trends to Watch in 2024
Learning and development (L&D), like all business units, is experiencing constant and rapid transformative changes and evolution. The year began with a new wave of L&D trends that reshaped the way organizations approach employee development and skills enhancement.
From learning at the moment of need to the integration of virtual and augmented reality to data-driven insights and the rise of microlearning, L&D professionals must stay ahead of the curve to design impactful and future-ready learning programs.
This article explores the most critical learning and development trends that all enterprise L&D teams should know. By understanding these trends, organizations can adapt their L&D strategy and create dynamic, engaging, and effective learning experiences that empower employees and drive business success.
What are the most impactful L&D trends to know in 2024?
13 Learning and Development (L&D) Trends in 2024
Here are thirteen of the most important trends L&D teams should watch in 2024.
1. Upskilling & Reskilling for the Digital Workplace
Technological advancements, automation, generative AI, and evolving job responsibilities and roles require employees to update their skills to remain relevant and adaptable continuously.
By investing in upskilling and reskilling initiatives, L&D teams can empower employees to acquire new competencies, bridge skill gaps, and stay ahead of industry trends. This not only enhances individual career growth and job satisfaction but also enables organizations to build a resilient workforce capable of navigating change, driving innovation, and maintaining a competitive edge in a dynamic business landscape.
Upskilling and reskilling initiatives demonstrate a commitment to investing in employee development areas and future-proofing the organization, ultimately leading to increased productivity, improved employee retention, and organizational success.
2. Generative AI
AI is revolutionizing how businesses and organizations operate, from automating processes to changing the professional and educational environment. Generative AI empowers L&D teams to deliver efficient, personalized, and engaging learning experiences that enhance skill development and knowledge transfer within the workforce.
Generative AI automates learning content creation, enabling L&D teams to generate realistic and contextually relevant scenarios, case studies, and simulations that engage learners and facilitate skill development. This empowers L&D teams to save time and resources while meeting the high-quality personalized learning experiences demanded by learners. Generative AI assists in creating interactive and adaptive learning materials by providing real-time feedback, customized assessments, and intelligent recommendations.
Generative AI also contributes to knowledge management and supports collaborative learning by extracting and organizing information from vast amounts of data, generating insights, and facilitating knowledge sharing across the organization.
3. Content Repurposing
Another trend to watch is repurposing existing training content into multimodal learning content – i.e., the same L&D course content being reformatted across video, audio, reading, and visual content to ensure that participants receive content that aligns with their preferred learning style, maximizing engagement and comprehension.
With modern learning management systems (LMS) and employee training software platforms, it’s much easier for L&D professionals to automatically create multiple types of new training and development content from one core piece of training content – without spending time repurposing it manually.
4. In-App Guidance
According to a report from Asana, the average employee uses 13 applications every day, and switches back-and-forth between these interfaces 30 times a day on average, resulting in a 26% lose in productivity.
Furthermore, our 2023 Digital Adoption Trends Report found that 33% of employees received less than one hour of training and onboarding when implementing a new software, and 78% of all employees said they lacked the expertise and knowledge of their CRM, ERP, HCM, and other critical applications and need additional training.
Shockingly, 84% of employees said there are core features and processes in their daily digital applications and workflows that they don’t know how to use.
In-app experiences have emerged as a solution to this problem, empowering L&D teams with the ability to integrate learning opportunities into employees’ daily applications and digital workflows seamlessly. By embedding learning content and resources within the applications and tools employees regularly use, L&D teams can enhance the accessibility, convenience, and relevance of learning experiences.
In-app experiences provide just-in-time learning, allowing employees to access relevant information and guidance whenever required. This trend promotes a continuous learning culture, maximizes employee engagement, boosts knowledge retention, and promotes skill development, ultimately driving organizational performance and success.
A digital adoption platform (DAP) enables L&D teams with a no-code editor to build, launch, and analyze in-app guidance and self-help employee support. With a DAP like Whatfix, organizations can accelerate software implementations and ensure maximum ROI from technology investments by creating userized flows and journeys that are contextual to your different end-users.
For example, AEs, BDRs, CSMs, and marketers all will use your CRM but will need to know different tasks and processes contextual to their role – with a DAP like Whatfix, organizations are empowered to create contextual in-app guidance and user support.
Some examples of L&D in-app experiences include:
- Contextual Workflows: Guides employees through contextual tasks, complex application workflows, or underutilized features of a software application to drive adoption and improve their proficiency with the tools they use every day.
- Interactive Walkthroughs: Step-by-step guidance that is used for employee onboarding and training programs to encourage faster digital adoption and a higher level of understanding of contextual tasks and workflows.
- Product Tours: With a DAP, create in-app guided tours of newly implemented software to guide new employees through your core applications, like your CRM, ERP, or HCM.
- Task Lists: Provide your employees with a checklist of in-app items to complete and work through to guide end-users during new hire onboarding or when migrating to a new system.
- Knowledge Bases: A digital vault for your resources, including anything from onboarding materials to guided software tutorials. A DAP like Whatfix enables organizations to embed a Self Help wiki onto their digital applications. This wiki integrates with your knowledge repositories (your LMS, knowledge base, process documentation, IT support portal, third-party links, videos, etc.) and allows employees to search for any issues, at the moment of need, without leaving their digital workspace.
- Tooltips and Beacons: With a DAP like Whatfix, L&D teams can create in-app smart tips and beacons that highlight new process updates, announce important company messages, alert employees of invalid field inputs, and provide any contextual nudge.
- Employee Feedback Surveys: With a DAP, L&D teams can collect employee feedback with native, in-app surveys. Organizations can collect feedback on overall employee satisfaction and eNPS, or can gather specific insights on the helpfulness of different in-app training flows, the effectiveness of onboarding, etc.
Whatfix specializes in helping businesses create seamless in-app experiences to drive digital adoption. It provides step-by-step instructions for key workflows. Users see these instructions as they follow the steps of a guided tour, learning about processes as they work. Product walkthroughs are especially useful for simplifying the training processes for complex enterprise applications. You can use them to engage users both during initial onboarding and when you roll out new features.
5. Learning in the Moment of Need
Learning in the flow of work is an important trend for L&D teams to focus on due to its ability to seamlessly integrate learning opportunities into employees’ everyday tasks and workflows. Rather than being seen as separate from work, learning becomes an integral part of the work process itself.
By providing accessible and relevant training materials at the moment of need, L&D teams can support continuous learning and skill development, empowering employees to acquire and apply knowledge immediately.
This trend increases engagement, reduces time spent away from work for traditional training programs, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. By embracing learning in the flow of work, L&D teams can enhance employee productivity, agility, and adaptability, while enabling organizations to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving business landscape.
Microlearning is the act of breaking up L&D course content into small, bite-sized chunks of learning that typically last less than 5 minutes. Smaller learning sessions offer the right amount of information necessary for learners to achieve a specific training objective, making microlearning valuable in business contexts.
Research has shown that microlearning can improve knowledge retention by as much as 80% while improving learners’ engagement by 50%.
Microlearning is a way for L&D teams to get creative with their learning content – and can take the form of in-app tooltips or walkthroughs, short videos, daily tasks, and more. This type of content is also easier to repurpose and refresh, and L&D teams can incentivize the completion of microlearning content by gamifying employee education and training tasks.
7. Knowledge-Sharing Ecosystems
Knowledge management is the concept of creating, curating, organizing, and sharing important organizational knowledge for employees to access and find important information quickly when required. In short, it connects employees to the right resources for any internal questions they may have.
A successful knowledge management (KM) strategy starts with companies creating process documentation, i.e. detailed step-by-step instructions on how to conduct internal processes. The next step is to organize this content into an easy-to-search internal knowledge base such as an internal wiki. Without these content-storing platforms, internal knowledge becomes cluttered across internal Google Drives, PPTs, or is passed between employees through word-of-mouth.
A digital adoption platform (DAP) helps reduce friction in finding company knowledge and information by allowing organizations to create interactive, contextual guidance and embed a self-help knowledge center directly into digital processes and online tools.
Above: Example of a self-help widget embedded in Salesforce using Whatfix
With a DAP, employees can access company knowledge directly in their digital interfaces without disrupting their workflows – empowering team members with better employee experiences that support knowledge sharing, collaboration, and productivity. DAPs integrate with any knowledge repository, including your custom process documentation, internal wiki, intranet, IT support portal, videos, Google Drive, and more.
A DAP works as an IT self-service portal for employees to find answers to their technology-related questions on their own, independently. This promotes end-user adaptively, improves productivity, reduces IT support tickets, and supports organizations to drive ROI from IT investments.
8. Behavioral Data
With nearly all work processes and training now done digitally, L&D teams must collect data across different factors of their employee training and development strategy.
By analyzing behavioral analytics, L&D teams can gain a deeper understanding of how employees interact with learning content, identify patterns and trends, map end-user flows and journeys, identify application dropoff areas, spot emerging support issues to create process and help documentation, and make data-driven decisions to improve learning outcomes.
Behavioral data enables L&D teams to:
- Monitor the progress of L&D content across their employee training and onboarding programs.
- Measure training effectiveness on different courses, between different teams, and on different types of employee training.
- Create personalized learning flows by building employee learning cohorts that group different types of learners into different learning groups – allowing team members to learn from the training method that data says is the most effective for their personality or learner type.
- Map the most effective end-user journeys and flows for core business processes and drive adoption of these flows with in-app guidance.
- Understand and measure digital adoption by different business unit, across teams, and by end-user type.
- Continuously improve overall L&D content and strategies.
- Report the impact and influence L&D strategies have on the development – and overall success – of an organization back to the C-suite to showcase the value of employee learning.
9. Real-Time Employee Feedback
Real-time employee feedback offers immediate and actionable insights into the effectiveness of learning initiatives and employee needs. By gathering feedback in real-time, L&D teams can gauge learner satisfaction, identify areas of improvement, and make timely adjustments to training programs and resources.
Real-time feedback enables L&D teams to address issues promptly, customize learning experiences based on employee preferences, and enhance learner engagement and motivation. It also fosters a sense of ownership and collaboration, as employees feel heard and valued in shaping their own learning journey.
L&D teams can ask learners for their feedback in short NPS surveys or more in-depth long-form answer surveys – directly after or in an employee training course.
Note – Whatfix routinely prompts employees with survey questions, allowing learners to provide insights into their training programs in real-time, providing detailed insights into these programs at the moment they happen.
Above: Example of gathering real-time feedback on your employee training content with Whatfix.
10. Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are emerging technologies transforming the L&D landscape. These technologies have the ability to create immersive, interactive, and simulated learning experiences that allow learners to engage in realistic situations, practice hands-on skills, and explore complex concepts in a safe and controlled environment.
Learning via VR/AR technology improves engagement and retention and enhances the transfer of learning by providing experiential and visual experiences. By leveraging VR/AR, L&D teams can deliver impactful and effective training programs to bridge the gap between theory and practice, resulting in enhanced skill development and improved learning outcomes.
11. Gamification of L&D
Gamified training incorporates gaming elements such as points and badges into training courses, putting a new spin on workplace learning. By leveraging psychology, gamified training engages learners and makes them more willing to take on repetitive tasks despite the risk of failure. Gamification in training increases knowledge retention, accelerates the adoption of new software, improves the performance of individual employees, and creates more engaging L&D experiences.
With a DAP like Whatfix, L&D teams can gamify learning, onboarding, and training experiences with pop-ups that celebrate achievements and create in-app quizzes to test knowledge retention.
12. Collaborative Learning
Collaborative training is a methodology where employees share their knowledge and expertise, teaching and learning from one another at the same time. This technique helps enhance the overall training experience for employees by capitalizing on their skills, ideas, and knowledge.
Employees gain a better understanding as a group than they do as individuals by listening to other viewpoints, reframing ideas, and articulating their points. This makes collaborative training an effective L&D technique and a trend to look out for this year.
13. Mobile Learning
Mobile learning has been around since the early 2000s, but the trend soared in popularity post-COVID when companies transitioned to remote work. Mobile learning will continue to be a significant trend in employee training for years to come.
Mobile learning refers to the process of online learning via personal mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops. This training method empowers learning on the go, enabling users to access content whenever and wherever they want. Mobile learning content comes in a variety of forms, such as podcasts, videos, quizzes, or eLearning courses that help increase engagement and boost learning retention.
✓ Thank you, the template will be sent to your email
Many of the emerging L&D trends have common themes; the need for contextual learning in the workplace, building new skillsets for a digital workforce, leveraging digital applications and technologies to improve the L&D function, and using data to influence your L&D strategy.
Whatfix empowers your L&D team to leverage these trends by enabling your workforce to learn in the flow of work with in-app guidance, contextual nudges, step-by-step tutorials, and self-help support. With Whatfix, you integrate your process documentation, LMS, internal knowledge base, intranet, and external links all into your employee’s applications and digital workplace – enabling them to find the right support, guidance, and training material without leaving the application they’re using.