Synapsys take on big L&D trends for 2024 have identified three big L&D trends for 2024. Here’s our take on them, and a couple of others you may want to consider as well. 

1. AI, EI, and growth mindset take centre stage. It’s difficult to disagree with the idea that responding to AI, building emotional intelligence, and having a growth mindset (being comfortable with being uncomfortable) are all relevant concepts in today’s world. We’re not convinced, though, that these are the top ticket items that will drive learning and development. Most organisations are not in a position to clearly define and train for the higher-order skills staff need to respond to AI, as they are still working to understand the impacts of AI on their business.  

We agree EI and growth mindset are important concepts. However, the practical reality for many of our clients at this moment is the economic environment: interest rates high, economic activity down, and exports down. There’s also uncertainty around government work, given agency cuts and the number of initiatives paused by the incoming government.  

Collectively, we think this will mean a strong focus on more pragmatic and immediate trends such as delivering value in learning for less. We also see a call for learning to play a bigger role in change and transformation initiatives, helping ensure adoption is high and benefits are genuinely delivered.  

2. From courses to dynamic content configurations. Bite-sized resources in the moment of learning? Letting people focus on what matters to them and their role? Absolutely a focus for the future. It’s key to our work with most clients. But there are still widespread challenges when it comes to recognised qualifications not being flexible enough to allow this type of learning. The trend we’d point to is commercial organisations taking charge of their own destiny and implementing their own programmes, given the ongoing uncertainty around the VET sector reforms. The path to clarity now looks longer than ever, and commercial drivers mean businesses can’t afford to wait.    

We’re also cautious about AI being seen as a panacea, when it’s not that simple. The idea of managers and staff freelancing around a work issue and finding and applying online training that seems useful is probably not what’s intended. If, on the other hand, staff are working within a world of micro-assets that the business has identified, generated and collated, that’s a big ask. It assumes a learning platform capable of delivering socially driven learning and sufficient investment to build this world of assets all mapped and tagged so that they are readily accessible. While AI can help with aspects of this, there is still a large organisational commitment needed to ‘make this so’, which many organisations have been chipping away at over years with some way to go.  

3. Learning increases its footprint across the organisation. Agreed. points to a training focus for front-line workers, because of their scale and customer impact. We’re seeing this in the tight economic climate, but we’re also seeing learning having a greater impact in the change and transformation, and digital transformation spaces.  

In particular, there is an increased focus on adoption of change, with an expectation of evidence for shifted work practices after project go-live. There is a heightened awareness that project go-live is not the end of any change, but the beginning of the value. Learning is becoming a key lever in supporting the transition from the project world to business as usual – often a very different environment.  

Because this delivers immediate business impact, we expect to see this being a key driver of L&D activity in 2024, and potentially well beyond. 


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