15 Big Ideas That Will Shape 2022 for L&D

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The year 2022 is fast approaching and with it come a new set of challenges for L&D professionals. The world around us has the potential to change dramatically over the next five years, and we can’t afford to let ourselves get left behind. One thing we do know for sure? That learning and development professionals need to prepare now for changes ahead or risk being left behind.

This blog post discusses 15 big ideas that are shaping L&D for 2022 – from new technologies coming on stream to societal shifts happening all around us.

1) Upskilling, reskilling, and the emergence of cross-skilling

  • Reskilling is learning new skills in order to transfer into a completely different function, which is particularly important if a company is restructuring yet wants to keep its best employees.
  • Employees are upskilled when they are taught new skills or have their present talents upgraded in order to contribute more value and expertise to their role. It might also be for the purpose of preparing them for a promotion.
  • Cross-skilling refers to the acquisition of new abilities that may be used to a variety of situations in order to increase collaboration and assistance. A salesperson, for example, may learn graphic design to relieve the marketing department of some of its responsibilities.

    There will be a lot of training to be done in the next two years, with experts forecasting that approximately half of all positions would require upskilling, reskilling, or cross-skilling to fulfil market demands. New tools, working methods, ideas, techniques, capabilities, skills, and certifications are all being introduced. It won’t happen overnight.

    2) Disruption and Reinvention: Flexible Workplace

    The viewpoint of a company with a workforce that has successfully moved to remote work but is now considering returning to traditional office employment. They are aware that certain of their employees are happier, more productive, and more beneficial to the company when they work from home. On the other side, some employees, particularly those who battled to stay motivated at home and desire human connection in the job, can’t wait to come back to work.

    The answer is obvious when it comes to these two categories of people. Working styles that are both flexible and hybrid. Employees with flexible work schedules have more control over their beginning and ending times, and can work from home whenever they wish, condense their hours, or share a job.

    3) Greater emphasis on diversity, equality, and inclusion

    In 2021, several learning and development sites and companies expected a surge in diversity, equality, and inclusion training, but few could have imagined how well it would catch on. Businesses were already investing in diversity training in 2020 and 2021, but we now anticipate to see greater resources committed in L&D, assisting in the delivery of sensitive, relevant, inclusive, and responsible services. ‘Intelligent inclusion’ is one area of particular interest that looks to be on the rise. To achieve ‘intelligent inclusion,’ recruit team players who add value to a specific unit or department and who are also given the chance to shine or lead if they demonstrate a willingness to do so.

    4) Investing in Human Power and Transferable Soft Skills.

    It will be expected of you to be a digital native with technological skills, as well as creativity, compassion, and resilience. What’s new this time, then?

    Technology performs what it does significantly better than the typical person: it automates, calculates, duplicates, formulates, and optimizes. Fortunately, machines cannot think like people (at least not until the singularity! which is why transferrable soft skills are so valuable. People adapt amazingly rapidly, frequently as quickly as or even faster than technology! As a result, businesses are more compelled to sell services rather than things, as human-powered intelligence continues to shine.

    5) Simulations for Leaders

    We anticipate to see more firms use business simulations and serious games to improve productivity in 2022. Participants’ emotional commitment in the result of games frequently increases their information absorption, learning retention, and critical thinking abilities. These factors work together to boost productivity.

    The cost-effectiveness of business simulations is difficult to match on the business side. There are little overheads beyond the first expenditure, making this a scalable L&D activity with a high ROI that can be reproduced throughout the firm.

    6) Every Individual is a Leader – Training is for ALL.

    The loudest and proudest get an unequal share of the spotlight. Quiet, new, or lower-ranking employees are frequently overlooked. Learning and Development teams will have to correct this imbalance and ensure that education and training are accessible to all. In an ideal circumstance, every employee receives training that is tailored to their specific profession and position. This will assist them in upskilling in a useful manner. Learning and development teams will quickly realize that they can establish new jobs that provide their staff leadership possibilities without having to fire someone! Everyone has the potential to be a leader.

    7) Digital-first learning and a changing role for classroom learning.

    Classroom training and in-person courses are like a comfort blanket for L&D; they allow people to check a box and send folks away for a day or two. The largest stumbling block here is our perspective, which needs be changed to ‘apply first.’ We must first comprehend someone’s workflow, then design learning around the contexts in which they would apply knowledge and solve challenges in their day-to-day function. The year 2022 ought to be the one in which we fight the impulse to go back to typing! Now is the time to make more deliberate use of classroom instruction, albeit virtual. We must examine when it will be successful, how digital-first resources may aid in the smooth running of those sessions, and how to guarantee that the information learned is transmitted and applied to the employee’s work.

    8) Creating communities centered on learning and collaboration.

    You can create effect at scale by upskilling several individuals at once when you bring people together who have common interests and aspirations. Because the group will be diverse in terms of experience and skill levels, it will be fertile ground for them to learn from one another, make progress as a group, and improve their leadership or mentoring abilities.

    9) L&D decision-making from the ground up.

    Returning to senior leadership cooperation, there appears to be a rising two-way street in decision-making as well. When it comes to learning requirements, technology, and HR tools, this is especially true. If we go back to the LMS days, the choice would be taken centrally, and the technology would be disseminated out to everyone else. There was no consultation with end-users at any time, therefore it’s no surprise that many individuals felt dissatisfied or demotivated.

    10) Regardless of geography or work position, train the whole talent pool.

    Many companies also have a large number of part-time employees in their talent pool. As labor and skills shortages persist until 2022, firms will be forced to rely more heavily on contractors to fill the gaps.

    Should L&D professionals allocate efforts to employees who are only part-time contractors or consultants, in light of this?

    Yes, because these employees or contractors may be handling sensitive data, and they will require compliance and project-specific training to safeguard the company from future problems.

    11) Corporate learning credentialing and accreditation.

    Companies have spent years perfecting their “employer brand,” which includes advertising, marketing, and social media efforts to promote the company as an employer of choice. Some training and development departments are enhancing their courses by working with industry groups or institutes of higher education for certification or credentialing as an emerging trend and a rising component of employer branding. Such collaborations might give guidance on course material or assessments, as well as providing endorsement. Furthermore, because employees will now have a recognized certificate to utilize if they need to leave for another job, the co-branding will make the learning even more in demand.

    12) Get Started with AI.

    To simplify, organize, advise, and support online learning, AI and associated automation technologies will be more important than ever. Personalization is required because employees require so much training—training that may be generated internally or received from off-the-shelf resources—and because employees have varying degrees of experience, knowledge, and abilities.

    While there are course writing systems that use AI to produce material, L&D departments may use AI to construct individualized learning programs.

    13) Operations and experiences.

    A comprehensive and mature learning ecosystem is required to meet the expectations imposed on learning and development teams, which range from strategy alignment with the organization to assessing learning outcomes against business success. Many L&D teams are now discovering that there are operational flaws and gaps through which valuable resources are bleeding. L&D may guarantee they’re positioned to adapt to demand and deploy their resources in the appropriate place at the right time by concentrating on their operations, which include people, structures, processes, and technology.

    14) Learning in bits and bytes.

    This type of learning focuses on providing bite-sized, easy-to-consume learning solutions that are generally 60 to 90 seconds long, will be popular in 2022. Employees may pick what they want to learn, where they want to learn, and how they want to learn with a successful program that is nimble, accessible, and on-demand. It can take the shape of short movies, interactive modules, and a variety of different learning and development methods.

    This type of learning has been found to increase information retention by up to 80% while also increasing learner engagement by 50%.

    15) Gamification

    Although gamification is not a new concept, it began to gain traction during the pandemic as L&D teams looked for new methods to upskill the workforce. Gamification is well recognized for increasing employee engagement and for transforming dull and uninteresting training information into exciting experiences by fostering friendly competition among colleagues.

    Gamification will continue to play an important part in the development of abilities including leadership, communication, stress management, teamwork, and negotiation in the future.


    As we enter 2022 on a more hopeful note, L&D teams will continue to be front runners in reacting to the continuous changes in the business landscape. They will continue to prioritize staff development through upskilling and reskilling, while also seeking new solutions to problems.