Asia businesspeople using desktop talk to colleagues discussing business brainstorm about plan in video call meeting in new normal office. Lifestyle social distancing and work after corona virus..jpg
ATD Blog

7 Learning Trends to Adopt and Develop in 2022

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Organizations are demanding more from learning teams. Ways of working, customer needs, and competition are constantly changing. Business leaders are looking to learning and HR partners to build adaptability and agility into the workforce and organizational structures. When all industries are doing things differently, it’s critical for learning leaders to adapt by cultivating new skills, rethinking design and delivery, and creating new ways to enable performance improvement.

The future of learning is becoming a more integrated strategic partner to business leadership. GP Strategies’s annual learning trends that teams should consider in 2022 are based on what we see with our customers and partners. Our seven trends include:

1. Enable the hybrid workforce

The dynamics of how, when, and where we work are changing. When we think about this year and what’s next for the future of learning, the focus must be on enabling the hybrid workforce and those who support that workforce. The key to supporting the hybrid workforce is the concept of intentionality. Learning practitioners need to shift how they design learning to what the audience needs and how the organization approaches those needs.

2. Adapt learning to the flow of work

We have more visibility and access into workflow data with the rise of employee experience platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Viva, and Slack. These platforms are broader than learner experience platforms; they provide a connection point between learning, work, and talent engagement.

3. Focus on upskilling for learning and development

One of learning and development’s main goals in any organization is to build programs to upskill employees. But it’s important to also look inward. In 2022, it’s critical for learning practitioners to upskill themselves. Learning practitioners need to deepen their skill sets and move outside of comfort zones.


4. Expand application of immersive realities and play with purpose

Virtual reality (VR) has been one of our learning trends for some time, and it is more attainable and viable than ever. The technology has evolved, and it’s time to evolve the design.

VR and extended reality (XR) offer ways to explore difficult concepts and tasks in safe environments. The immersive and collaborative learning aspects are moving into more soft skills applications, including team-building escape rooms, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teaching empathy and communication.

5. Design for inclusion as a competitive advantage

Accessibility should not be an afterthought. In the US, 26 percent of the population and 19 percent of college students self-identify as having a disability. Ensuring equitable, inclusive, and accessible programs starts with identifying barriers that prevent a learner from accessing information or performing job functions. Once learning teams identify the barriers, they can shift the way they provide access to learning opportunities.

6. Support the rise of the boundaryless academy

Corporate academies and universities are coming back but not just for the internal employees. Companies form academies by bringing industries, higher educational institutions, and other corporate entities together to build relationships, fill skills gaps in advance, and potentially reach target new hires before they apply.


This idea flips the concept of proprietary knowledge by using intellectual property as a tool to educate, attract, and retain talent. The boundaryless academy combines both internal and external expertise to cross traditional boundaries. Some organizations even incorporate accreditation and design academies with microcredentialing and certifications.

7. Sustainably integrate innovation as a capability

Not everything needs to be as innovative as the assembly line, but with the rate of change increasing regularly, organizations need a process for sustainable innovation that builds agility. When putting a process in place to explore and test innovative solutions, organizations can move from reactive to proactive drivers of positive change.

The following are key considerations when establishing a process for innovation:

  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Integrate a scientific, repeatable process with testing or pilot projects.
  • Adopt new strategies and technologies with deliberation and care.

The Future of Learning

In a modern learning experience, learners take accountability for the learning journey, and learning practitioners must foster that idea. Top-down learning won’t satisfy the needs of the entire workforce. Learners need to feel like part of the process and be empowered.

To empower learners, design and deliver learning with open-ended journeys in mind. Deploy learning and resources in creative ways, when and where they are needed. These methods and needs constantly evolve.

By building new skills, designing for modern learners, and implementing a process for innovation, learning teams will build the programs of the future.

About the Author

Matt Donovan is the senior vice president and chief learning and innovation officer at GP Strategies. He is a recognized name in learning, bringing more than 25 years of experience crafting learner-centric solutions and leading high-impact development teams. Not only has he received a large assortment of industry awards, including being named one of Training Magazine's Top 10 International Trainers under 40, his articles are regularly published and presented at a variety of national and international conferences. In his current role, Donovan has collaboratively implemented and grown GP Strategies’ Innovation Kitchen. You will often find him presenting at global industry conferences or writing articles for industry-specific publications.

In his former role as the global leader for digital learning strategies and solutions, Donovan oversaw the multifaceted team responsible for creating an extensive portfolio of engaging learning experiences employed by Fortune Global 500 companies. Many of these courses have received industry awards and recognition.

Donovan joined GP Strategies in 2009 with the acquisition of Option Six. He has an M.S. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University.

1 Comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.