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eLearning Trends in 2022 – How to Leverage Them to Design High-Impact L&D Programs for the Hybrid Workforce

February 9, 2022 | By Asha Pandey


eLearning Trends in 2022 - How to Leverage Them to Design High-Impact L&D Programs for the Hybrid Workforce

With workplace dynamics changing over the last 2 years, the focus in 2022 is on adopting effective training strategies for a hybrid workforce. In this article, I list 20 eLearning trends that you can leverage to meet this mandate successfully.

The year 2020 was about Virtual Training evolution, while 2021 focused on better engaging and training virtual teams. The signs are clear – the focus in 2022 is on how to adopt effective training strategies for a hybrid workplace. But before we get started, let’s look at the key learnings from 2021 and how training evolved and advanced in the last 2 years.

Looking Back – The Learnings from 2021 and How Training Evolved in the Last 2 Years

Learning-focused organizations were faced with the challenge of rapidly providing their workforce with Virtual Training. In 2021, we saw a paradigm shift to remote work, with L&D teams using a Blended Learning approach to implement strategies to train and engage their remote employees.

The workplace dynamics continue to evolve – from a 100% remote model into a hybrid on- and off-site working model.

How Has Training Advanced in the Last 2 Years?

In line with the changing workplace dynamics, the role of L&D teams has evolved too. The changed hybrid work environment requires a strategic rethinking of the L&D’s contribution areas.

They need to adopt strategies that make inclusivity and engagement a central pillar in the new work order. They need to focus on delivering greater employee experiences, so employees feel included and engaged. This implies that L&D strategies must begin with creating better employee experiences and then focus on both learner experiences as well as learning experience.

Looking Ahead – What Are the Key Aspects to Consider When Building an L&D Strategy for 2022?

Training structures must also transform and support hybrid workforces, as they evolve into a more decentralized model.

Here are some key aspects to consider when building an L&D strategy for the future:

  1. Understanding and integrating learner needs.
  2. Driving autonomy among learners.
  3. Providing room for continuous learning.
  4. Integrating LIFOW (Learning In the Flow Of Work) resources.
  5. Maintaining connects and outreach.
  6. Driving collaborated learning.
  7. Planning on how to innovate and experiment within L&D.

What Are the Focus Areas for L&D Planning in 2022?

It’s imperative to stay focused on some key areas when planning your 2022 L&D strategy. These must include aspects that demonstrate the value of the L&D team to the organization – in building high performance, fully engaged, and inclusive hybrid workspaces.

Notable aspects to focus on are:

  1. Transforming upskilling and reskilling approaches for the hybrid workplace – at the pace the business demands.
  2. Designing effective learning and learner experiences.
  3. Integrating measures to plan L&D’s transition from cost centers to performance drivers and value creators – by aligning training metrics with organizational Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  4. Adopting agile learning strategies – including frequent iterations of training design and development.
  5. Driving learning culture transformation – building effective learning frameworks that support a culture of continuous and lifelong learning.
  6. Measuring and demonstrating the value and impact of training – both in terms of fiscal impact as well as the impact on building a more inclusive, engaged, and high-performance hybrid workforce.

With this background, here’s my list of eLearning Trends in 2022. These trends will help you leverage the right trends to engage your remote learners and create a Learning and Performance Ecosystem that can drive continuous learning and performance gain.

eLearning Trends in 2022

I have segregated and aligned the eLearning trends to the L&D charter and focus areas for 2022 in the following manner.

Section 1: In the Spotlight – “Must Have” Trends to Offer Remote Learning in the Changed Workplace

  1. Learning for All – Accessibility Considerations in eLearning.
  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Focus.
  3. Mobile Learning.
  4. Mobile Apps for Learning.
  5. Microlearning.
  6. Personalized Learning.
  7. Virtual Training – Conversion of ILT to Blended or Fully Online Learning.

Section 2: Trends that Match Modern Learners’ Expectations and Asks

  1. LIFOW (Learning In the Flow Of Work).
  2. Informal Learning.
  3. Social Learning.
  4. Curation and User Generated Content.
  5. Self-Directed Learning.

Section 3: Trends that Help You Deliver Engaging, High-Impact, and Immersive Learning Experiences for the Hybrid Workforce

  1. Gamification.
  2. Scenario Based Learning and Interactive Story Based Learning.
  3. Video Based Learning (Videos and Interactive Videos).
  4. AR/VR and Metaverse.
  5. Next Gen Learning Strategies.

Section 4: Trends that Help You Assess the Impact of Remote Training and Aid You in Maximizing the ROI

  1. Learner Analytics.
  2. Learning Experience Platforms – LXPs.
  3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Learning.

Section 1: In the Spotlight – “Must Have” Trends to Offer Remote Learning in the Changed Workplace

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Learning for All – Accessibility Considerations in eLearning

With an increased flexibility for employees to work remotely, we will see a more inclusive workforce in the years to come.

There are high chances that each training group may include at least one learner with special needs. With accessible eLearning, you can attract, upskill, and retain talent in your organization and demonstrate care for all your employees.

In a digital sense, accessible content is designed and developed to allow people with special needs to find, understand, and navigate learning elements effortlessly.

This trend would certainly be a front-runner in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Focus

Successful organizations function with a diverse set of ideas, thoughts, and approaches. A physically, culturally, ethnically, racially, and temperamentally homogeneous workforce is highly unlikely to represent the diverse environment they operate in. This is especially true for hybrid workplaces:

  • Decision-makers (for example, managers or leaders) may not always hear, see, or communicate with rank and file employees.
  • Because remote workers typically don’t interact (physically) with broader workforce colleagues, their biases are likely to remain ingrained.

DEI has a direct impact on organization-wide talent supply chains – from hiring decisions, to offering fair promotions, to making inclusive growth opportunities. Building systemic diversity and inclusivity in those decision-making processes are what consequentially drives business excellence and performance.

However, DEI doesn’t just happen automatically because of inherent human biases occurring subconsciously in the workplace. This takes an organization-wide paradigm mindset change. Applying customized DEI training strategies is key to creating positive workplaces.

This trend must be a key aspect to integrate in your L&D strategy in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Mobile Learning

With the changed workplace dynamics, training delivery must cater to remote learners and Mobile Learning is definitely a “must have” today. Accelerated by learners’ need to learn in the moment and in the flow of work, this trend continues to be on top. It will be a central mode for online training delivery and to supplement facilitated or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT).

You can also use it for the entire spectrum of training needs, including Formal Training, instant/just-in-time learning aids, Informal Learning, Self-Directed Learning, and Social or Collaborative Learning.

This is a “must have” trend and will continue to see accelerated adoption in 2022.  

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Mobile Apps for Learning

Mobile Apps for Learning—like Mobile Learning—provides the flexibility to learn anywhere, anytime.

Their real impact can be felt when they are used to offer learning journeys – that include Formal Training and, notably, resources that help learners exactly at the moment of need (just-in-time, on-the-job support). They can be updated effortlessly and deployed quickly, and you can easily push relevant Notifications to the learners.

They can be used to offer both Formal and Informal Learning. Microlearning, featuring a series of Microlearning nuggets, and Gamification techniques can also be used very effectively to offer gamified learning. These can be easily Personalized by aligning it to the learner’s role, region, proficiency, or interest.

With its power to personalize and offer learning journeys from a distance, Mobile Apps for Learning should be absolutely invested on in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Microlearning

Microlearning has been the most talked about training approach in the recent past and it has moved to the center stage in the changed workplace dynamics. Microlearning is action-oriented, and each bite helps learners meet a specific outcome.

There are various challenges in the learning environment of a hybrid workforce. L&D teams can create bite-sized Microlearning nuggets with learner-centric learning journeys personalized for every learner. Microlearning may be tailored to create an impact at various cognition levels. More specifically, LIFOW (Learn In the Flow Of Work) that is on-demand and addresses their needs just-in-time.

This flexible nature of Microlearning makes it a great choice for L&D teams to use it for Formal Training; just-in-time job aids; learning aids to recap, reinforce, or challenge learners to assess the primary learning; and to support VILT programs (Pre-Workshop assets, During-Workshop assets, and Post-Workshop connects). With the changed workplace dynamics and need to offer short, focused remote learning (particularly in the flow of work), Microlearning will continue to lead.

This trend is definitely a “must have” in your Virtual Training delivery in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Personalized Learning

We are witnessing rapid changes in the way learners want to learn – particularly in the hybrid workplace dynamics. One of the measures that will get you learners’ attention is Personalized Learning. It offers highly relevant, custom content that aligns better in helping them accomplish their goals and career progression.

You can create a customized journey based on learners’ current knowledge, interest, future needs, or simple cues like role/region. This offers them control over what they want to learn, how they want to learn it, and at the pace that works best for them. It enables L&D teams to align the learners to the business goals and upskill or reskill them far more effectively as compared to generic trainings. It also boosts continuous and Self-Directed Learning in the process.

When the learning journey is offered in a personalized manner that matches learners’ career pathways, it will definitely impact your ROI positively.

Personalized Learning – in conjunction with Microlearning (and delivered as a Mobile App) –  is absolutely worth investing on in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Virtual Training – Conversion of ILT to Blended or Fully Online Learning

To match today’s changed workplace dynamics (training hybrid workforce), Blended Learning 2.0 offers the optimal combination of Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) with Self-paced Online Learning. This requires change management at many levels, including selecting the right delivery platform, managing remote learner expectations, and upskilling trainers to adapt to the new medium. You need to plan for this bit to sustain the momentum.

To create successful transformation, focus on the outcome as the start point and then work upon the medium (Virtual Training platforms and LMS/LXP platforms) and methods (crafting learning journeys contrary to discrete sessions). This will enable you to achieve the desired mandate of engaging the remote learners and meeting or exceeding the impact of the ILT sessions.

With benefits that include the flexibility to learn remotely, capability to scale, ease of personalization, as well as acceptance of your multi-generational workforce support, this trend is a “must have” in 2022.

Section 2: Trends that Match Modern Learners’ Expectations and Asks

eLearning Trends in 2022 – LIFOW (Learning In the Flow Of Work)

Modern learners tend to multi-task and don’t have the time to log on to an LMS to locate a course that may have the answer to their need or challenge. With work from home/hybrid workplace being the new normal, they want learning resources to be within their workflow (read – on their smartphone) and packaged specifically to help them or address their needs.

On-demand learning rests outside the traditional structure of training courses and live classes. It is information and contextual objects that employees can find, consume, and apply in the flow of work. It improves retention and application and provides employees with what’s needed, when needed. You can improve learning in the flow of work and step up the application of learning on the job by leveraging on-demand learning.

Integrating LIFOW is an absolute must have in 2022 to help organizations improve employee performance over a distance.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Informal Learning

L&D teams are focused on delivering and creating great training but most of the training budget is still spent on Formal Training.

However, employees are learning perpetually, and people have learned informally for millennia and to great effect. It is the fundamental way in which employees develop competency in their job roles and develop additional skills and abilities. Informal Learning is everywhere. It is more accurately described as learning that exists on a continuum: one side represents Formal Learning and the other Informal.

Because Informal Learning happens irrespective of efforts to support, ignore, or control it by L&D teams, businesses can build goals around Informal Learning and seek to build a learning ecosystem that facilitates Informal Learning. Informal Learning can be used to reinforce, augment, and support Formal Training solutions. Hence, L&D teams need to definitely use it to create a healthy learning ecosystem and corporate culture.

This trend will accelerate in 2022 as organizations leverage this to facilitate continuous learning for remote learners.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Social Learning

When we were younger, our main point of learning was from others and this continues to be a significant way in which we learn, even when we are working. Currently, the changed workplace dynamics makes it increasingly challenging for L&D teams to deliver effective learning support to remote learners. You can now apply Social Learning for your remote learning programs.

  • You can create networks of like-minded learners on social media platforms who support each other through common learning challenges.
  • Sometimes, learning occurs at a faster rate as a result of the ideas or advice generated through social interactions among groups or colleagues and peers.
  • Employees on social networks can also share peer-to-peer support, best practices, and tips and tricks directly amongst themselves – relieving the need for trainers to act as go-betweens.

Determining the impact of Social Learning can be tough, but it does work on several levels. You can use it as a great lever for change and continuous learning and help create communities of practice. In today’s dispersed remote workforce, this can help employees not only stay connected but also learn together.

This is a must adopt trend in 2022, and you must leverage it to connect to your remote learners easily and effectively!

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Curation and User Generated Content

Content Curation is a great way to offer on-demand, relevant content to the hybrid workforce. Learners can access information they can use at the moment of their need. It provides a recommended learning path (personalized) that can be further customized by learners. It is a great way to encourage Informal Learning and, more significantly, Self-Directed Learning at the workplace.

If you are just starting out with Virtual Training, you can curate content from your existing knowledge base as well as from the public domain. This turns out to be cost-effective and can also be used to support Formal Training. To keep the knowledge base current and relevant, you can also facilitate user contribution (User Generated Content) over time.

 eLearning Trends in 2022 – Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

As more employees embrace remote work, the most effective learning paradigm is one where employees themselves take ownership of their learning needs and pursue them through Self-Directed Learning (SDL) opportunities. Learning resources from the organization’s knowledge base or from external resources can be leveraged by learners to meet their specific learning goal. SDL can augment Formal Training and help learners move up from baseline proficiency to mastery.

SDL also helps drive continuous learning – particularly in today’s remote workplace in which it’s not always possible for corporate L&D teams to monitor and enforce “scheduled” learning. With information getting updated at a rapid pace, it can get extremely challenging for trainers to update curriculums, modify content, and retrain everyone in time to apply the new learning content.

Since this is not tracked, organizations are rather skeptical about using it. Nevertheless, the cost of investment (to provide relevant, curate resources; rewards or recognition for consuming them; as well as contributing to the repository) is not high.

I believe this trend is worth investing on in 2022, and it will help you create a more engaged learner pool that is motivated and committed to this model of learning.

Section 3: Trends that Help You Deliver Engaging, High-Impact, and Immersive Learning Experiences for the Hybrid Workforce

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Gamification

Traditionally, because of the time and distance gaps between trainers, learners, and content, eLearning has always had an “engagement challenge.” With the broader evolution of hybrid workplaces, those challenges, however, have metastasized. Work from home (WFH) mandates have introduced more “learner disconnect” opportunities, adding to the engagement challenge.

In a hybrid workplace, where there are already plenty of non-work-related distractions in the environment, learners are more easily disengaged when presented with run-of-the-mill training courses. Therefore, more L&D professionals resort to game based or gamified learning to drive engagement.

Various corporate training needs can be address with the help of Gamification based techniques. A well-crafted Gamification for serious learning (across VILT/Blended/Fully Self-paced Online Training) will help you achieve the following:

  • A high engagement quotient.
  • Better completion rates.
  • Higher recall and retention.
  • Swifter application of the acquired learning on the job.
  • Improved proficiency (practice and advance to mastery).
  • Influence or trigger behavioral

With reducing costs, shorter time to design and deploy, several use cases and success stories, this trend is worth integrating in 2022 to enhance the engagement of your VILT/Blended Trainings as well as Fully Online Trainings.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Scenario Based Learning and Interactive Story Based Learning

The key element to any eLearning program is learner engagement. Getting employees engaged in eLearning in the current remote workplace environment filled with distractions is often challenging.

Scenario Based Learning is a highly immersive learning strategy that can be used across corporate trainings – notably Compliance, Soft Skills, Professional Skills, Product, and Sales Trainings. Learners can practice in a safe environment and understand the impact of their choices and learn from their mistakes. It can also be used alone or paired with Interactive Story Based Learning to create higher retention and recall, leading to a memorable and sticky learning experience.

Scenarios and stories can be leveraged to drive attitudinal change and sensitize learners on specific issues. You can also drive the desired action in learners through Scenario Based Learning. They can also be used to simplify a complex subject or to convert an abstract concept into something that is relatable and easy to assimilate for remote learners.

This trend is worth a serious look in 2022 to engage your remote learners and trigger change in thinking, attitude, or behavior.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Video Based Learning (Videos and Interactive Videos)

During this pandemic, video consumption is gaining traction and L&D teams are seeking ways to tap videos effectively for training.

Their versatility allows them to be applied across the Learning and Performance improvement mandate that enables learning journeys from a distance:

  • To create a buzz or awareness and establish WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).
  • To establish context or teach concepts.
  • To deliver learning followed by practice, application, and summaries.
  • To checkpoint learners’ progress and understanding.
  • To reinforce and offset the “Forgetting Curve.”

The usage of Videos for learning will continue its upward trend in 2022. Notably,

  • Microlearning videos and learning pathways (Read More/Explore Further) curated from public domain assets will seem to be on the rise.
  • There will also be an increase in the application of Interactive Videos that provide a high degree of engagement through learning interactions and assessments, resembling traditional eLearning courses. Interactive Videos can be tracked from the LMS, unlike classic videos.
  • 360-degree videos with interactivities overlaid on them. This format produces a highly captivating watch and immersive learning experience.

This trend is also a “must have” in 2022 in your training delivery to offer highly engaging and immersive learning experiences.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – AR/VR and Metaverse

Immersive learning (with respect to Virtual Training) is training that’s facilitated through virtual and artificially augmented environments and moves learners away from the basic PPTs, visuals, videos, and audios. Specific measures, like spaced repetition, can be used to effectively trigger behavioral change too.

The cost and the lead time to develop these solutions can be reduced by using easy-to-implement solutions from players like Adobe and Trivantis as well as niche AR/VR platforms. Several use cases such as Microlearning based nuggets with AR/VR are also being increasingly used. With benefits of lower costs and higher impact seen in the adoption of this solution, we will certainly see a further increase in its application.

The next level is Mixed Reality, now being interpreted as the Metaverse.

The concept gained more popularity during the pandemic, as lockdowns pushed more and more people to share online spaces for longer hours. They will have the capability to connect the real with the virtual and vice versa. These experiences can mimic the settings where learners will not only learn better but also apply the knowledge learned through such training in “real” environments.

The successful development of the Metaverse is expected to be driven by Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) gadgets, which act as the experiential layer. It will change the way learners/employees/employers collaborate and interact across digital and physical spaces in the hybrid workplace.

As these solutions become more affordable and can be offered to augment or supplement Formal Training in 2022, you will certainly see more traction in the future.

For example, you can merge Gamification and Microlearning and offer them as Mobile Learning or Mobile Apps for Learning as shown here:

  • Gamified Mobile Apps for Learning.
  • Gamified Microlearning.
  • Gamified Virtual Reality (VR).
  • Gamified Interactive Videos.

You can apply infinite variants, including Microlearning nuggets in the gamified learning journey that also showcase immersive learning techniques like Virtual Reality (VR). On the other hand, you can make use of an entirely VR-driven learning path that is Gamified.

If you haven’t thought of Next Gen Learning strategies yet, do so in 2022!

Section 4: Trends that Help You Assess the Impact of Remote Training and Aid You in Maximizing the ROI

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Learner Analytics

The need to analyze learning patterns and ascertain the impact of training (on learners and the business gain) in a large remote workforce is at an all-time high. Learner Analytics is seen an emerging solution to help you in this aspect.

  • It can offer valuable insights on learner behavior and validate what is working and what is not.
  • You can obtain actionable insights and enhance or change the current approach and align it better to the business goals. You can also improve learner motivation and engagement as well as what would facilitate a better application of learning with the cues received from the analytics.

This trend will go a long way in positively impacting the ROI on the training spend. AI techniques (that LXPs and the Next Gen LMS platforms offer) can also be used to mine the analytics and provide a more custom, relevant, and Personalized Learning.

This is one investment you need to plan for in 2022!

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)

We are witnessing a steady shift in the transition of traditional LMSs to LXPs on account of the significant value that LXPs offer:

  • They are fun, more engaging, and relevant for learners – helping learners meet specific learning outcomes.
  • A highly personalized experience can be crafted by the learner through learning pathways.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be leveraged to understand learning patterns and make further recommendations. It also encourages exploration and Self-Directed Learning.
  • They provide inclusive learning, curated content, and facilitate User Generated Content.
  • They boost Social Learning and provide the necessary recognition to active participants. They also feature assessments with badges and a certification.

There is a major churn in the LMS space, and there is clear movement toward the adoption of LXPs that match the asks of the hybrid workforce better. This will accelerate further in 2022.

eLearning Trends in 2022 – Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Learning

Earlier, I had highlighted the use of AI in Learner Analytics. It will also be a trend to watch out for in

the context of enhancing learning in 2022. While it has been talked about for quite some time, we

are now going to see its practical value.

  • You can leverage it to offer highly custom learning pathways for learners. Based on their content consumption pattern, further recommendations can be made.
  • Similarly, the application of the Chatbot as a Virtual Coach is also on the rise. This provides a huge value-add to an engaged, connected, and Personalized Learning that today’s remote workforce requires.

We will definitely see more of AI for learning in 2022.

Parting Thoughts

As you firm up your plans for 2022 and begin recharting your training delivery to meet the mandate of the new normal of the hybrid workplace, there are many trends that should be integrated for training, which drives learner engagement and performance.

I hope my article provides the cues that you can use to leverage the right trends to engage your remote learners and create a Learning and Performance Ecosystem that can drive continuous learning and performance gain.

Do download my free eBook, eLearning Trends in 2022 – A Guide for Designing High-Impact L&D Programs for the Hybrid Workforce. It is designed as a guide that you can refer to as you firm up your L&D plans for 2022.

Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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