Learning and Development team discussing priorities

2024 Challenges Present Opportunities for L&D

Early every year, leading research and advisory firms publish their lists of priorities, trends, predictions, and other top issues poised to challenge company leaders. Still, as challenging as these issues for companies and their employees may prove to be, we believe the year will also present abundant opportunities for learning and development (L&D) to further its strategic importance in the organization. 

1. Need to improve manager and leader effectiveness

“When you think about the linchpins who make things happen inside the organization—whether that's performance management, building culture or managing priorities—managers are at the center. Because of the diverse needs and critical role each manager has, personalized and applied development will be prioritized across industries," observed one HR leader (SHRM).

A global research firm put it more succinctly, underscoring the importance of “increasing people leader capability to improve effectiveness in team and employee outcomes.”

Organizations seeking to be an employer of choice need to examine where they are and where they want to be.  Getting everyone moving in the right direction typically involves upskilling managers in key DEI areas (such as overcoming bias and preventing harassment) and workplace communication.

2. Persistent concerns about talent

Research conducted by Blanchard concluded that 2024 will see organizations continue to struggle with “the dynamic nature of the workforce and … strategies to attract, retain, and develop talent in a rapidly changing business landscape.” Of particular concern: acquiring skilled talent, keeping valued employees, and addressing workers’ expectations. While companies’ reliance on offering learning and development opportunities will remain a foundational tool for attraction, engagement, and retention, Blanchard’s work warns of heightened challenges associated with tight L&D budgets, making ROI on training an imperative.

Atana Insights, our powerful analytics engine, gives you access to data that measures our courses'  impact on behaviors that support a positive organizational culture, including DEI, harassment prevention and leadership development. 

3. Support for positive, healthy organizational culture

“Many learning and talent leaders say that culture is among their organizations' strengths, [but] others say culture renovation is necessary in order to achieve optimal levels across talent attraction and retention, employee development, and more,” notes i4cp in pointing out the learning function’s role in supporting both organizational culture and vital talent imperatives.

4. Heightened emphasis on skills 

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Udemy Business research concludes that skills are the “single factor which could ultimately determine whether a company can execute on its business strategy and deliver on its goals.” Further, it says that leaders must “understand how to navigate the skills landscape and why it is essential to assess, identify, develop, and validate the skills” that employees have and need in order to drive competitive capability and innovation.

5. Proliferation of inferior learning content

Multiple sources warn of a significant uptick in inferior learning content in 2024 based on organizations’ reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) in instructional design. Research by Training Industry acknowledges that AI “can be used to produce course outlines and training materials, create training assignments, build competency models and curate personalized and adaptive content for learners.” It also cautions that AI is limited, can produce “inaccurate and biased content…doesn’t review sources…is not a subject matter expert…and should not replace or operate without human oversight.”

LinkedIn predicts that “the market will be flooded with subpar learning content” created by inappropriate use of AI in content generation. However, it adds, the result may be opportunities for differentiation and competitive advantages for organizations that insist on top-quality learning content.

Characteristics of Superior Learning Content

•  Meaningfully explains the course's benefits.

  Uses relatable stories that enable vicarious learning.

•  Reflects quality script-writing and acting.

•  Has optimized course length and pacing.

•  Provides instruction that's easy to recall and apply.

  Assesses knowledge and behavioral intent.

  Yields data for gauging course impact and ROI.

  Has Employee and Manager courses.

  Meets accessibility (and any legal) requirements.

As 2024 unfolds and L&D professionals build on the opportunities this year holds for their organizations, Atana is standing by to help with behavior-changing, high-quality training content and analytics. L&D professionals who partner with Atana are at the forefront, leading their organizations forward confidently and effectively. 

"Tracking impact and ROI for L&D and HR initiatives is historically difficult. Atana enables us to identify what impact these courses have on our people and our business." 

Renee Frisk-Jones, Senior Manager, Enterprise Learning Experience & Solutions, Harbor Freight

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