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Maddy Christopher

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Nine expert predictions for learning and development in 2024

What is in store for us this year? Nine of our experts share their key predictions for 2024.
2024 star trails, night, stars, future prediction for learning and development

2024 came around rather quickly. Where has the time flown? And what does this new year have in store for us busy learning and development bees? With a little sprinkle of expert advice and a crystal ball (most likely a repurposed snow globe), we endeavour to take a sneaky peak into the future. We have asked our most popular writers of 2023 to give us their key predictions for 2024 on what lies ahead. They share what they believe will be crucial areas for L&D in the months to come, where potential kinks in the road might arise, and where L&D professionals might best invest their time…

Prediction 1: 2024 will be the year L&D professionals focus on their inner game

Laura Overton, Founder of Learning Changemakers  88% of those in L&D believe that our work is meaningful. This really resonated with me as I wrote CIPD’s Learning at Work Report last year. We love our work because we can make a difference. Yet constant change and uncertainty in the work environment are taking their toll. The chronic state of disruption has impacted our stress levels and performance as we take refuge in our own comfort zones. This time last year I wrote about the ageless learner-centric strategies in our field that ensure our visions and goals for the year get traction. This year I predict it will be those L&D professionals who deliberately focus on their ‘me-centric strategies’, their inner game, who emerge fighting fit. What will this look like? This year we will need to see more personal courage and resilience develop as L&D professionals we can deliberately:
  • Take time to regularly reflect on our practice.
  • Lean into and leverage community support.
  • Provide ourselves with permission to explore, learn and experiment.
  • Mindfully notice the change around us
  • Determine what we can influence directly and where we need to work with others.
  • Be kind and apply what we do for others to ourselves.

Prediction 2: AI will enable more creative, productive and output-driven work

Dr Nigel Paine, Co-Presenter of Learning Now TV I thought that 2023 would be the year of AI and I was right! But it exceeded even my wildest expectations. If 2023 was the arrival of AI, then 2024 will be the year when we work out how AI can partner with us to increase our efficiency and productivity. It could even make us happier in our roles.  AI will take some of the grunt work away and allow us to be more creative and output-focused. in 2024 we will start talking, in earnest, about making work more overtly team-based (rather than all about individual KPIs) ) and more focused on purpose and meaning.  AI will be a huge help, as an explosion of more specialist apps will offer specific services rather than relying on one, big overall product like Chat GPT to do everything.

Prediction 3: L&D will become custodians of culture

Matt Somers, founder of Coaching Skills Training As AI Increasingly takes care of tasks and duties, employees will need to shift their focus from what they need to do to what they need to achieve. Leaders, in turn, will need to shift their focus from setting goals and deadlines to providing employee experiences which align with the organisation’s purpose and strategy. This is the stuff of culture and while it is not for L&D to be the architects of culture (that must come from the highest level), I predict they will need to be its custodians, equipping all levels with the tools and concepts necessary to activate the new culture.

Prediction 4: Apprenticeships in 2024 will have a renaissance

Erica Farmer, co-founder of Quantum Rise Building upon my article in the most popular reads this year, and my prediction for 2023, I am going to suggest that apprenticeships will become more flexible with the change of the government, therefore enabling more organisations to access AI and future skills, for the whole workforce. We have a fantastic opportunity to ‘hone in’ to work-based education and learning during the next 12 months, which will help new innovations and tech to be super relevant and really come alive for us all. Without this relevance, we are at risk of switching people off and missing the most important thing – hearts and minds. This doesn’t mean we all need to enrol in an apprenticeship to gain access to future skills, but it does give us the opportunity to have apprentices at the centre of building the workforce of the future. Let’s see some of the most effective and supported learning channels come together for the win in 2023!

Prediction 5: The role of the Chief Learning Officer will become more pivotal than ever

Cathy Hoy, Cathy Hoy, CEO and Co-founder of CLO100 As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of the post-pandemic world, CLOs will be instrumental in driving strategic change and fostering a culture of continuous learning. They will need to balance digital transformation with human-centric leadership, ensuring that technology enhances rather than replaces the human touch in learning.  The transition requires an increased focus on strategic foresight, change management, and cultivating a growth mindset among employees.  My hope is to see more learning leaders investing in their own development and getting a seat at the table within their organisations. 

Prediction 6: Organisations will be pressured to shrink meaningful DEI efforts at the time they’re needed most 

Lior Locher and Dr Christy Allen, NIIT Corporate Learning The business case for the benefits of a diverse workforce, equitable pay and policies, and fostering inclusion and belonging has been more than well-established. But the socio-political climate, pending elections and court cases, and loud voices lobbying that “DEI must die” mean many organisations will have to make critical decisions about the commitments they’ve made to DEI – and whether they push forward.  We suspect many will feel tempted to shrink their DEI efforts in an attempt to weather storms and find what feels like safety. But we’d say that it’s precisely the domains of DEI learning that help organisations thrive through moments of volatility.  Investing in active listening, empathy building, breaking down bias, dealing with ambiguity and conflict resolution will go further to fostering the workforce of the future than a focus on tick-box compliance. In 2024, we predict individuals and organisations will have to take a stand on DEI or risk losing talent and innovation capability.

Prediction 7: Organisations applying Generative AI to internal data will have a competitive advantage

Robin Hoyle, Head of Learning Innovation at Huthwaite International Generative AI will come of age when it generates insights based on institutional knowledge and organisational memory, rather than while it is drinking from the fire hose of the internet. Forward-thinking organisations will create a competitive advantage by using more advanced AI capabilities to upload internal company documents and ask for summaries, trends or similar analyses. This works for L&D too. The potential for AI to ingest and analyse data we already have will grow. This means we can feed in performance data, cross reference it with learning analytics and therefore support impact measurement. Used well, this will enable better L&D planning and more informed decision-making. 

Prediction 8: Peer coaching will support real learning and decisions in an AI-dominated world

Jackie Clifford, Director of Clarity Learning and Development 2023 saw a massive upsurge in discussion around, and the use of, AI in our workplaces and our lives. As we enter 2024, I believe that we will all need to learn how to interrogate the answers that we get when we use AI to help us get the information that we need.  As part of learning to navigate through the information that is presented to us by AI, we will start to apply our questioning skills in new ways to help us check out the validity and credibility of what we are being told.  If we have been developing our coaching and mentoring skills, we will be able to use these in peer-to-peer conversations where we challenge each other’s thinking and question our decision-making so that we are still in control of our direction of travel and the actions that we choose to take.

Prediction 9: HR and L&D to be left behind in the wake of AI

Raf Uzar, Head of Communication & Development at Penteris As technology diffuses into our working environment ever more pervasively (AI-generated email replies, meeting summaries, and slide decks), the barrier between what is AI-created and human-created becomes fuzzier. Large language models will be augmented by next-phase multimodal AI systems that incorporate not only text but speech, audio, image, and video. Basic notions like human communication, workplace interaction, and human creativity will be drastically redefined. As legislators around the world scramble to create regulations to protect consumers, leaders in HR and L&D need to now follow suit to safeguard employees in this drastically new workplace.  

Read: Nine learning and development predictions for 2023

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Maddy Christopher

Deputy Editor at TrainingZone and HRZone

Read more from Maddy Christopher

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