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ATD Blog

Instructional Design 2023: Experts Share Top Predictions

Monday, February 13, 2023

The start of the new year is a great time to set goals and reflect on the previous year. A look back can help us prepare for the future. In recent years, hybrid work and revolutionary technologies like ChatGPT are poised to change the landscape surrounding course design and development. So what can instructional designers expect in the year ahead?

ATD asked industry experts to share their thoughts about what instructional designers should keep an eye out for in 2023. Check out their replies below, and sign up for Talent Brief to get more insights like these in your inbox each week.

What Do You Think Instructional Designers Should Look Out for in 2023?

“There is a growing demand for human connection at work. Instructional design teams have an opportunity to humanize the workplace by how we communicate with stakeholders and design learning experiences. The ground swell of interest in sound instructional storytelling is heartening. I can’t think of a more efficient way to connect people than through sharing stories.”
Rance Greene, Story Designer, School of Story Design

“As technology options continue to increase for IDs, they’ll have a lot to choose from to create useful learning experiences. To prove our worth to the organizations we work for, it will be more important than ever to focus on the solution rather than the technology—especially as layoffs continue in the tech industry. Hopefully we’ll see a greater presence in events and online networks as people try to find new roles. I think we’ll continue to see an influx of educators coming into the profession too. As a field, we’re in a great place to learn from the experience of others and to use technology to find innovative ways to support our learners.”
Heidi Kirby, Customer Education Manager and Co-Founder, Useful Stuff


“As some companies (especially those in tech) tighten belts, they turn to AI to try to meet learning content needs. Seasoned IDs may scoff (Robots? Doing *my* job?), but organizations that view learning as simply a deliverable product may be willing to bet that AI writing programs can build training on the cheap. This means it’s all the more critical for us to separate ourselves as learner-focused enablers rather than mere content creators.”
Dave Kerschbaum, Senior Instructional Designer, SAP Concur

“We’ll see continued interest in microlearning and skills-based learning. We will also embrace social learning experiences—cohorts, communities, social learning networks. People are looking for opportunities to feel connection, belonging, and fulfillment at work. So often these feelings are baked into moments where we get to flourish alongside others.”
Nicole Papaioannou Lugara, Founder, Your Instructional Designer


“With many recent reductions in workforces, it’s more important than ever for L&D to demonstrate our value and to measurably impact our organizations. The pain of not fully connecting with business stakeholders is real, and we must take action with strategic and practical relationship-building skills.”
Laurel Schulert, Senior Director of Learning Experience, SAP Concur

What are your predictions for 2023? Share in the comments below!

About the Author

Jes Thompson is a content manager for ATD's Learning & Development topic areas. As a content manager, Jes creates and curates content on instructional design, training delivery, and measurement and evaluation. Before joining ATD, Jes worked in higher education facilitating training in leadership development skills, conflict resolution, and DEI. Jes holds a degree in Communications with an emphasis in digital media production from the University of Florida.

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AI, for time being, even as power as ChatGPT, can only do so much in terms of ID. AI can make massive comparisons, but only based on what humans have given it to work with. It doesn't have senses to discover new concepts, which means it lacks the non-deterministic creativity that humans are good at. Unequivocally proving ID's worth has always been a dream of mine. Do any case studies exist that demonstrate proof of achieving Kirkpatrick's fourth level?
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