Top 4 Learning and Development Trends to Watch in 2024

    Active learning, soft skills development and AI training are some of the top learning trends in 2024. Discover how you can capitalize on these opportunities to drive business success. 

    user-circle Credly Team
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    L&D managers discussing the different learning trends

    Digital transformation is driving innovation and transforming business models at a dizzying pace. Human resources leaders and learning and development professionals are under pressure to upskill and reskill company workforces — quickly and efficiently. 

    So, what’s the key to high-performance L&D programs? Here are four top trends for 2024 that should be considered by anyone seeking to strengthen training programs.

     

    Trend 1: Active Learning Prevails 

    Listening to lectures and reading texts aren’t effective. The average passive learner forgets up to 70% of what they learned just 24 hours after training.

    Active learning involves collaborative, hands-on activities, discussions and real-world applications. It offers several benefits:

    • Knowledge retention: Active learning enhances comprehension and pushes retention as high as 90%.
    • Customization and personalization: Individually customized learning can increase learning efficiency.
    • Ownership and engagement: Active learning gives workers a sense of ownership over their learning and professional life, boosting employee engagement. Increased engagement can grow revenue.
    • Immediate application of skills: Active learning helps close the skills gap. A hands-on approach makes it easier to implement learning on the job.
    • Promotion of continuous learning: Active learning nurtures a continuous learning culture, creating a workforce responsive to evolving demands. 

    Tips to Promote Active Learning

    1. Allocate time: Provide flexible schedules or designated learning hours for employees to engage in active learning. This shows your company values learning in a world where 92% of workers expect employer-based L&D opportunities.

    2. Facilitate small groups: Through projects, case studies or problem-solving sessions, small group work allows for personalized attention and increases participation.

    3. Celebrate achievements: Implement digital credentialing systems for skills recognition. These digital badges provide skills validation and boost employee motivation to continue learning.

    4. Encourage feedback: By incorporating learner feedback into L&D initiatives, organizations ensure their efforts remain aligned with employee needs and continually refine learning strategies.
    “Group interactions foster deeper connections, enhance engagement and cultivate a sense of psychological safety, a crucial factor for optimal engagement, performance and productivity.” - Pearson Workforce Skills 

    Trend 2: Human Skills Remain in High Demand

    While digital proficiency remains crucial, employers are seeking soft skills, such as critical thinking and collaboration. Deloitte predicts that by 2030, almost two-thirds of all jobs will prioritize soft skills.

    Recent research by Pearson reaffirms this. The top sought-after skills are collaboration, customer focus, personal learning, achievement focus, and cultural and social intelligence. As technology handles more tasks previously done by people, these distinctly human skills become more valuable.

    On the employee side, workers are prioritizing interpersonal skills for career development. This shouldn’t be a surprise. For more than 100 years scholars have known that soft skills are responsible for as much as 85% of job success.

     

    Tips to Support Soft Skills Development

    1. Align with goals and roles: Tailoring soft skill training to company strategic goals and specific role requirements ensures that employees develop the soft skills most relevant to their roles.

    2. Encourage real-world practice: Design training that mirrors workplace situations, such as interactive simulations, case studies and role-playing. Encourage employees to apply what they’re learning on the job.

    3. Acknowledge soft skill success: Establish recognition programs that reward employees for demonstrating soft skills. This can include digital badges that provide verification and measure L&D program success. 

    4. Measure effectiveness: By integrating digital credentials into the evaluation process, organizations can utilize analytic tools to effectively measure the engagement of the soft skills development programs. By mapping skills attainment and performance evaluation data, organizations can gain insights into the influence of the credentialing program on employee performance. 

    Trend 3: Data-Driven Learning Becomes Critical

    A recent report found that less than half (46%) of employers use data to identify skill gaps in their organization, even though data-driven workforce planning leads to more effective talent management. Organizations must start collecting L&D metrics that include work performance data, employee feedback, and industry data to align L&D strategies with evolving needs, and develop a skill gap analysis that assesses current skills against those needed for the future.

    Organizations that utilize data to strengthen workforce skills development will enable them to: 

    • Create targeted interventions: Data-driven insights focus on high-impact areas of development and enable efficient resource allocation.
    • Demonstrate return on investment (ROI): Quantifying L&D’s impact on business outcomes proves the value of employee development.
    • Develop meaningful learning experiences: Tap into employee feedback data to direct training toward employees’ needs rather than guessing.

    “As L&D teams create a comprehensive, data-driven picture of the effectiveness of learning across their organizations, they can combine this with data from other areas in the business to start building evidence of business impact” - Tim Dickinson, director of learning analytics strategy at Watershed

     

    Tips to Support Data-driven L&D

    1. Assess industry trends: Use industry data to understand which skills are becoming more critical and which are less so.

    2. Map skill gaps: Use verified skills data about your workforce to map the gaps between existing workforce skills and future needs.

    3. Define training goals: To strengthen the L&D business case, set training goals based on business strategy and skill gaps.

    [More on how to turn skills data into actionable insights in our blog]

     

    Trend 4: Enabling the Right AI Skills

    With AI predicted to add trillions of dollars in value to the global economy and nearly half (46%) of executives saying they will invest more in generative AI, it’s no surprise that AI skills training rounds out our list of top L&D trends. 

    Even so, there’s a disconnect between employers and employees on how to skill up in AI. Only half (51%) of employee respondents to a recent U.S. survey said their company keeps them up to date on how AI might impact them.

    “Not everyone needs to learn how to code in the generative AI era,” explains Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO, Salesforce UKI. “AI will need … people who understand how to work alongside AI, building on the content it generates. It’s about showing people where exactly, and often how easily, they can fit into the digital-first workplace.”

    For now, due to the pace of AI adoption and the absence of standardized AI skill terminology, organizations must be thoughtful about AI training.

     

    Tips for an Effective AI Training Strategy

    1. Identify required AI skills: Collaborate with stakeholders and AI specialists to assess employee skills and identify gaps between desired proficiencies and existing capabilities. This can focus training and develop standardized terminology across the organization. [See the top Gen AI courses on Credly here]

    2. Personalize learning paths: Not all employees need extensive AI technical skills. [More on who should upskill & reskill in the age of AI in our blog] Developing personalized learning paths for opportunities to integrate AI into daily tasks.

    3. Collaborate with industry experts: Foster partnerships with industry experts to ensure the organization's AI training remains relevant.

    Ready to leverage these trends to cultivate a more agile and adaptable workforce? Download our whitepaper 'Strategies for Overcoming Challenges in Employee Upskilling and Reskilling' to uncover actionable insights and discover how you can.

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