A new year is here, and the currents changing the way we learn at work aren't stopping for anything. After all, at this point, change is the only constant. Last year, we saw a further emphasis on concepts like remote learning and virtual training, with many focused on fleshing out the practices that make them work. In 2022, flexibility is still the name of the game, but we'll see organizations make more profound commitments to learning infrastructure, analytics, and design. For learners, that means bite-size microlearning modules, the ability to learn on your phone, and personalized learning tracks to fit their unique skillsets.
Ready or not, here are the top workplace learning trends we'll see in 2022.
Creating batches of 2D learning content and expecting everyone to absorb it the same way won't work anymore. This year, we'll see more and more learning become as personalized to the learner as possible. From individual learning assessments and plans to courses offered in several different modes, 2022 is all about learning in a way that works best for learners. This personalization is mutually beneficial for companies and their teams, allowing learners to increase their knowledge and value and helping companies increase retention, create a dynamic workforce, and stay on track. Personalized solutions also make learning more accessible, inclusive, and motivating for everyone in their learning journeys.
In short, there's no going "back to normal." However, there is a way forward. Adaptive learning will be paramount to meeting the challenge of upskilling, reskilling, and cross-training your teams effectively. It's also one of the biggest trends we'll see in workplace learning this year. Adaptive learning means offering learners a learning path that changes based on skills they've already mastered and still need to learn, further personalizing experiences. Adaptive learning allows learners to take individualized learning paths, where courses, skills, and steps can be skipped or added. These changes can be triggered by competency assessments or artificial intelligence.
In the same way learners will need unique solutions to absorb and retain new information, companies require unique solutions to today's problems. Amidst a talent shortage and the Great Reshuffle, many organizations have had to go back to the drawing board to determine how to answer rising demand with limited people power. A major trend that emerged to solve this issue is cross-training. Cross-training allows teams to learn skills and competencies outside their current scope of work. Cross-training helps people execute multiteam projects faster, better, and with deeper understanding.
The rise of gamification in eLearning has been steady up until now. However, in 2022, we'll see gamified learning reach a whole new level. In an era where it's a fight for every precious second of attention, learners will require interactive and exciting techniques to keep them engaged. And the most substantial gamification incentive? Real-life rewards.
What's the best way to keep learners engaged, outside of making learning fun? Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. This year, we'll see microlearning come to the forefront of engagement strategies. Micro or bite-size learning presents information in small bits to help learners retain and remember better. For instance, Duolingo uses microlearning to teach languages more effectively than university courses. Research shows most people would use their company's learning platform if courses were shorter and more frequent. Microlearning addresses learners' specific needs and learning styles. It also encourages people to learn in their spare time instead of trying to fit an hour-long seminar into their day.
Learning happens everywhere. Gone are the days where you show up to a lecture just to zone out or play a training video in the background to pass a requirement. Asynchronous learning allows learners to stop where they need to and pick up where they left off, increasing understanding, engagement, and retention. Another aspect of asynchronous learning enables instructors to provide feedback in almost real-time, letting them mold students as they learn. Features like video coaching let learners practice skills like public speaking and elevator pitches and receive feedback without needing an instructor present at the time of recording.
Also in line with the ability to learn from anywhere is mobile learning. Almost 90% of the population uses smartphones, and most spend 4-6 hours a day looking at them. While some companies have chosen not to pursue a mobile option, many others will shortly appear in your hand with apps and other mobile learning solutions. Whether exclusively mobile learning platforms or reformats of desktop versions, expect to see this format skyrocket in the upcoming year.
Design-Forward, No-Code Platforms
What would your life be like if you never saw or heard about a SCORM file again? This year, we'll see more and more platforms that emphasize UX and intuitive design without coding or strict data standards. Interfaces that look and work like modern software wizards will permeate the market more this year than ever before to amplify learning and let instructors spend less time constructing courses and more time creating them. No-code platforms also allow learning professionals who aren't computer science experts to build meaningful lessons. Likewise, learners will be able to focus on learning without having to master a new system first.
With almost endless eLearning content available, we'll start to see a more significant focus on content curation. Too many options can quickly devolve into a paradox of choice, which is frustrating at best and deeply unmotivating. Selecting content for specific competencies, roles, and teams allows instructors to get specific while decluttering the learning process. Content curation also drives interest in new subjects and organically expands learners' scopes.
Emphasis on Soft Skills
Workplace demands are changing, and employers are focusing on soft skills more than ever. In response, workers worldwide are most often engaging in courses based on teamwork, leadership, productivity, and collaboration. Although technical skills like data science and accounting are still popular among learners, many focus on more transferrable skills, indicating a shift toward a more agile and dynamic workforce.
Overall, the workplace of 2022 will see a broadening of some of last year's most prolific trends, as well as some entirely new ones. As in-person work interactions become analog, companies must adapt or suffer the consequences of the digital world moving on without them. Some continue to take these warp-speed changes in stride, practicing radical flexibility and leaning into what their learners actually need.