As we shift into 2022, there has probably not been such a high degree of simultaneous hope and trepidation heading into a new year as there is right now. The past two years have been tumultuous, dashing predictions and plans with each passing month. That said, I would like to look at some of the prospects for the corporate learning world for the new year.
One thing the pandemic has done is to highlight how important it is to keep learners connected. Organizations that may have not delved deeply into social and collaborative learning pre-2020 have been forced to explore it, since most of their learners were scattered to remote work. 2022 will see a solidification of these collaborative tools as a staple in the learning environment. Learners need to learn in ways that mirror how they work. Social and collaborative tools have become central to the overall employee experience, and learning will follow suit.
Another product of the pandemic is an increased use of immersive environments for experiential learning. Since people could not physically be in certain places and spaces, immersive scenarios have become an effective alternative. Companies are now realizing that not only can they put people into safe environments for hazardous types for training, but they can also do it for less dangerous training, such as customer interactions, difficult conversations, sales pitches and more. Virtual reality, simulations and even some games are providing learners more opportunities to learn by doing.
Rounding out the technology evolution will be the continued erosion of the LMS and LXP as discrete solutions. As more LMS platforms include LXP-like environments and more LXPs provide more LMS functionality, everything will begin to coalesce around a “third way,” that has yet to earn a slick, easy-to-remember acronym. Ultimately, all learning technology platforms are seeking to solve the same challenges, so the notion of the LMS and LXP as market segments will dissolve.
2022 is also likely to bring some new thoughts about how people work and learn into the mainstream. As much as organizations are working toward understanding how people learn, we will continue to see people themselves better understanding their own thought processes or metacognition. This is essentially “thinking about thinking.”
The idea of critical thinking has continued to rise on the “most wanted” list for leaders and employees alike and metacognition is set to become the next manifestation of understanding how people think and learn. Another similar area that will become important is “emotional granularity.” This is a person’s ability to precisely discern between their various emotions and express them in clear, specific terms.
In any event, 2022 is shaping up to at least start with just as much or more volatility as the previous two years. Hopefully we’re all in a better position to meet it.
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