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2024 Predictions: 5 ways AI Will Impact L&D

Updated: Jan 10



Looking back at the mindblowing advancements in AI during 2023, we anticipate a range of impacts AI will have on Learning and Development (L&D) in the coming year.


We aim to support the L&D community and welcome your thoughts, suggestions for additions or changes, and points we might have overlooked.



From Solo Innovations to AI Synergy: The Future of Collaborative Tools

2023 was a wild ride in the AI world, with an astronomical 10,000 new tools launched! While the innovation shows no signs of slowing down, the future might not be about standalone solutions, but instead a “toolbox” of powerful AI,leading to seamless user experiences.


2023's tools were laser-focused on specific tasks. This helped refine functionalities and train and improve the output, but for users, it meant juggling multiple tools like an air traffic controller. 


Now, imagine the power of a unified AI toolbox. One tool that generates avatars, adds voices, and crafts contextualized background images – an instructional designer's dream! This user-friendliness will be key to wider adoption.

In 2024, seamlessness will be the survival currency. We may enter the age of the "Island of Misfit Tools," where isolated, incompatible options struggle to find a place. Meanwhile, tools that combine their specialties into streamlined experiences will empower users like a master mechanic wielding a well-organized, versatile toolbox, where every tool fits perfectly and serves a specific, crucial purpose."


Here's the call to action for L&D leaders:

  • AI vendors: Look beyond your own tool. Explore partnerships, integrations, and collaborations. Build bridges, not walls, in the AI landscape.

  • Users: Let your voice be heard. Demand seamless experiences. Opt for tools that understand your workflow and speak your language, not just ones with the fanciest tech.

Remember, the future of AI isn't a solo act; it's a dazzling team performance. By working together, we can create an AI ecosystem where everything clicks seamlessly, empowering instructional designers to achieve their goals while meeting the goals of the business to do things faster, better, and cheaper.


A Burning Question for 2024: L&D's Mindshift Revolution

As 2023 drew to a close, a recurring theme buzzed through The Thinking Effect team's inbox: "What radical changes in mindset do we need to make to secure L&D's future in 2024?" It's a powerful question that deserves a collective brainstorm from the L&D community.


Here's our forecast and some ideas to chew on. By the end of 2024, expect a significant shakeup in processes, people, and technology. But before we get too grandiose, let's zoom in on the nitty-gritty:


Many organizations are bogged down for months creating training – some for a whopping 4-6 months! –to build eLearning or workshops. Why? A tangle of inefficiencies: instructional designers grappling with unfamiliar topics, subject matter experts drowning in writing and reviews, stakeholders holding up approvals, and tools requiring too much manual work.  


In 2024, L&D professionals will need to foster a mindset of – speed

  • Speed to Product: Design, build, and deploy faster using efficient tools and collaborative workflows.

  • Speed to Proficiency: Craft experiences that accelerate skill development and ensure learners are job-ready sooner.

  • Speed to Performance: Capture data to measure impact, adapt programs, and continuously improve learning efficacy.


Resistance is futile. 

Remember the Cloud and SaaS resistance? Just a decade ago, the idea of storing data in the cloud or using SaaS applications sent shivers down many IT spines. "Never gonna happen!" was the common refrain. Fast forward – everyone's in the Cloud now, using SaaS tools daily.

Get ready for another paradigm shift, L&D professionals. 


2024 is the year AI explodes in the workplace. With its AI co-pilot, Microsoft Office hits the market in January, followed by the next release of Google's Duet AI. This means the tools you use daily – email, presentations, spreadsheets, word processors – will all have AI built in. And that's just the beginning. By mid-late 2024, expect everything from AI phones and smart home devices (think beyond Alexa and Siri) to AI-powered wearables to flood the market.


Resistance is futile, and preparation is essential. This is your wake-up call, L&D professionals. Now's the time to craft your L&D AI manifesto and AI advocacy plan. If you don't, non-L&D professionals might think they can create training and probably will.  That's a recipe for chaos and headaches for everyone, so let’s mitigate the impact.


From Content Creators to Experience Architects – The Rise of the Instructional Alchemist

Here at The Thinking Effect, our mission is clear: we're on a crusade to equip L&D professionals with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the age of AI. We believe every L&D professional deserves a seat in this revolution, but here's the catch: you must practice what you preach! Embrace the need for upskilling, reskilling, and adaptation – it's your advice!


With AI handling the content and asset creation side of your job, your focus should shift to crafting experiences that cultivate higher cognitive skills – critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and the like. These are the skills the World Economic Forum and other experts highlight as crucial for future success.


Forget dusty old eLearning modules and forget-me-not PowerPoint presentations. 2024 is the year instructional designers morph into something far more fascinating: experiential designers.


Imagine crafting gamified journeys where learners solve puzzles and level up their skills. Think micro-learning bursts tailor-made to individual needs, igniting the sparks of critical and creative thinking. Picture immersive simulations mirroring real-world scenarios, putting decision-making skills to the test.


This isn't just about flipping content on its head; it's about a fundamental shift in design mindset. Forget churning out generic modules. Instead, start with the "aha!" moment in mind. Reverse engineer the experience, building toward that transformative moment where deep understanding and its real-world consequences click into place.


Think of yourself as an alchemist of learning, turning knowledge into transformative experiences. 


You'll need to master the art of:

  • Storytelling and engagement: Hook learners with narratives that captivate and challenge them.

  • Adaptive learning: Personalize the journey, cater to individual needs, and keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

  • Active learning: Ditch passive lectures for immersive games, simulations, and real-world applications.

  • Data-driven design: Track progress, refine experiences, and ensure every element fosters meaningful learning.


Embrace the challenge, instructional designers! The future of learning is calling, and you hold the key to unlocking its potential. Become the architect of impactful experiences, not just the curator of content. 2024 awaits, and your learners will enjoy a new journey into experiential learning.


Ditch the Catalog, Embrace the Learning Journey: AI Personalized Your Way

Imagine AI tools that read your learning style, adjust the pace to your rhythm, and adapt content based on your understanding – in real time! This isn't science fiction; it's happening now.


These aren't just tweaks to the old model; this is a revolution. Learning will be:

  • More efficient: No more wading through irrelevant modules. Dive straight into what you need when you need it.

  • More engaging: Forget monotonous eLearning page-turners. Get hooked by content that speaks directly to your interests and challenges.

  • More effective: Master skills faster by practicing the skills across multiple, evolving situations.


So, what does this mean for those static course catalogs? They're relics of the past. Instead, imagine:

  • You are creating a course on any topic, industry, or situation – on the fly! Need to train your sales team on the latest product? Boom, in an instant AI-powered course tailored to their specific needs.

  • You are stepping into immersive simulations that mirror real-world scenarios. Practice leadership skills by making decisions as a leader and seeing the impact, or hone your business acumen skills by running an aspect of your business. The possibilities are endless.


The best part? This isn't some distant dream. The tools are here, and they're getting better every day. The extensive catalogs with minimum completion ratings and heavy price tags will become part of the L&D folklore ‘Do you remember when we watched hours of videos or had eLearning on one screen while I did work on another.’  


The AI Platform Revolution: Why 40% of Companies Will Be Ditching Their Old Systems

Remember those clunky, outdated software tools and platforms that look like they were created 20 years ago? Fosway Group predicts 40% of companies will ditch them within two years for a game-changer: AI-centric platforms. 


2024 is the year of the smart platform.  Remember all those scattered tools causing chaos? New AI platforms will put them out to pasture. One platform handles everything – authoring simulations, eLearning, micro-learning, and assessments. Deploying self-guided, team-based, and in-person.  Capturing data and generating practical insights.   And yes, AI will do much of the heavy lifting, generating content and assets and slicing and dicing data.


Here's the deal: these new AI-powered platforms blow the older ones out of the water. They do it by:

  • Harnessing AI's power to deliver better data and insights. Imagine uncovering hidden trends, optimizing learning, and making better recommendations to the learner and stakeholders.

  • Streamlining your course creation like never before. Say goodbye to lengthy design and development processes and scattered tools. AI platforms will integrate various AI tools, accelerating design, development, deployment, and maintenance. 

  • Making technology and learning feel more natural and intuitive. AI will not only make use technology use easier, but it will also significantly change the learner experience. 


But what about your existing content? No worries! These platforms are designed to leverage what you already have. Ingest your eLearning, PDFs, PowerPoints, and knowledge bases – everything comes along for the ride.  


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