Brandon Hall Group’s The State of Learning: 2023 And Beyond study, published in late 2022, surveyed organizations about their expectations for the near future. Topics included learning strategies and business impact, modalities, technologies, and critical skills for Learning and Development organizations.
We found the pandemic had served to sharpen organizations’ belief in the importance of learning as a strategic business function, with 62% reporting their business leaders believe L&D is either highly important or critical for business success.
However, despite the enhanced stature of L&D as a whole, a key gap, one which predates the pandemic, emerged as a major roadblock — 55% reported their learning organizations were unable to measure learning’s impact on business performance. Lack of effective measurement related to business KPIs makes it extremely difficult to convince business leaders that learning projects are well-targeted and worth the investment. Ditto for investments in new learning platforms and technologies.
The pandemic also shook up how organizations used learning modalities and related learning technologies. For obvious reasons, in-person instructor-led training (ILT) plummeted, and remote, digitally-based learning delivery surged. Our latest findings indicate ILT has rebounded but other modalities have taken a stronger hold and are more heavily utilized than formerly.
For instance, when asked which technologies will you invest in over the next 1-2 years, just behind the more common platforms such as LMS and LXP, organizations named emerging modalities such as Social/Collaboration (53%), Simulation (33%), Augmented Reality (29%), Gaming (25%) and Virtual Reality (25%).
Whether the popularity of these less traditional learning approaches is following a natural adoption curve or is boosted by the suppression of ILT during the pandemic is hard to say, but it’s now clear they have entered the L&D mainstream and are no longer being used solely by early adopters. In fact, many L&D organizations are anticipating the purchase of new technologies to support these modalities, ranging from LMSs and LXPs to social/collaboration platforms, simulation tools, badging platforms and A/R and V/R tools. 51% of respondents expect a budgetary increase targeted for technology acquisition.
L&D organizations continue to see many challenges ahead of them. They recognize the need for stronger analytics and measurement related to business performance. They also understand they must help embrace digital transformation, keep abreast of new technologies and modalities, upgrade their learning strategies, and upskill their staff. When asked which of the following will be a top priority for the next twelve months, they responded:
- 74% — Create a stronger link between learning and performance
- 57% — Improve the ROI of training
- 46% — Develop a learning strategy
- 43% — Lead a digital transformation of the learning organization
- 28% — Select new learning technology
2023 looks to be a year of L&D rebound, and an opportunity to employ new modalities, technologies, and strategies to bind the Learning function closer than ever to strategic business outcomes.
Brandon Hall Group SmartChoice® Platinum Preferred Provider EI is a global full-service provider of cutting-edge learning content, learning support services, consulting and technology. They recently compiled an eBook on the future of learning to provide guidance and inspiration for L&D leaders across the world.