Exploring learning and development trends: Insights from the L&D Global Sentiment Survey 2023 

by | Aug 25, 2023

Capability | Employee Experience and Engagement | Future of Work | HR Transformation | People Analytics
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Exploring learning and development trends: Insights from the L&D Global Sentiment Survey 2023 

Earlier this year we spoke to well-known and respected learning and development expert Donald Taylor, who publishes the L&D Global Sentiment Survey each year, to get an insight in to ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ in the L&D space, based on his survey of over 3,500 professionals which has been running for over 10 years. The survey breaks down in to three key questions:  

  • What will be hot in workplace L&D in 2023? 
  • What is your biggest L&D challenge in 2023? 
  • Which of (the six choice answers) best describes where you do most of your work? 

For today’s blog we’ve outlined some of the interesting discussion topics that were featured on the podcast, which you can also listen to here. 


Will AI make a transformational difference to learning and development? 

This was one of the key movers in the 2023 results and given the media coverage that it has received, the increase in availability of tools such as ChatGPT and Google Bard it is no shock.  

The arms race that big tech firms are engaged in to get ahead in the generative AI game is fierce, and many are looking to hire large volumes of specialists to drive their competitive edge. It has not just been the big tech businesses though, as other organisations in other industries start to look at tapping into the increased demand for AI specialists. 

So it is no surprise that AI has the greatest placement increase in the survey rankings, moving from 12th in 2022 to second in 2023. How could that make a transformational difference to learning and development professionals’ lives? 

As Donald himself put it in the podcast, “It’s not going to mean that your job goes all that suddenly you’re reporting to a robot, but it’s going to produce a whole suite of tools that will alter and enhance your productivity if you’re ready for it”.

The recommendation? Start to upskill your own learning in AI. Pick good influencers to follow on LinkedIn; although there are plenty of individuals out there who will of course have plenty to say, start to research who has a focus in your area of expertise and build your knowledge. 

Re-skilling continues to dominate the talent agenda 

Whilst AI has remained a big talking point due to the swing it had in the 2023 survey results, reskilling/upskilling remained as the most popular response in what will be ‘hot’ in the workplace in 2023.  

However, this has decreased in sentiment, which Donald describes as understandable when he says;

“I think people now have a much more sensible view of skills. It’s not some panacea, that you’re just going to jump on and say we’re going to reskill everybody. Increasingly, people are looking at ways of reskilling and upskilling in order to get a business case met. And largely, I think that’s driven by better work by vendors explaining what’s going on.

Some of this is of course due to labour market pressure; organisations are trying to drive greater productivity amongst their existing workforce due to cost pressures brought about in recent years, so naturally there is a view that “we’ve got to get more from people we’ve got”. 

The return of data

In 2020 the top five trends in the survey were all linked to drawing on data and analytics in some way. Donald notes this shift in the podcast “it was very different from the focus we’d had in the past, which was all about delivery of content, suddenly, there seemed to be a different, more mature, if you like view of what was needed. And it was the ability to share data in a sensible way to and use it and sensible way to help people learn rather than focusing on delivery”.

The focus on data has continued into 2023, and it’s clear that L&D professionals are spending more time using learning analytics to assess how people are learning, rather than just focusing on content.  

 From a LACE perspective we’ve also heard this from other providers in the market, such as HowNow (we’ll have a podcast coming out in a few weeks on this so stay tuned!). 

Other interesting changes in learning and development trends

There are a host of other interesting points from the podcast that are worth listening in to, including Don’s thoughts on some of the minor fluctuations such as the impact of the metaverse, as well as how the reskilling agenda shifts across geographic regions, so if you’d like to read in more detail you can visit his website here to get a copy of the report and see the top line results.