Blog Post

2023 Learning Content Trends: Shifting Learner Expectations

You don’t stay ahead by standing still. In HR, it’s all about looking to the future and spotting the upcoming people and workplace trends. This forward-thinking approach applies to every HR process, including learning content, where the landscape is changing very fast. By staying in front of change, the business can attract the best talent, maximise productivity and deliver a great employee experience that optimises retention.

These content trends are taken from the new Cornerstone EMEA Trends Report for 2023, “People and workplace trends for the year ahead”. Besides content, the report also provides in-depth, thought-provoking insights into what’s over the horizon for HCM and learning too.

Before we dive into the trends though, let’s set the scene by examining the changes taking place in the learning content.

Changes to the learning content landscape

Three factors are up ending the way learning content is created and delivered:

  • Learning expectations are shifting. Modern employees want access to content on-demand and in the flow of work. They want personalised content that meets their preferred learning modality, whether that be through traditional methods like classroom training or more modern approaches like online courses and video tutorials. It’s important for companies to keep up with these changing expectations and offer a variety of learning options to meet the needs of their employees.
  • Learning can prevent burnout. According to a study by Asana, 84% of Gen Z reports burnout along with 74% of millennials. In this situation, it's important for employers to focus on employee motivation and engagement, and give employees the autonomy to control when, where, and how they work. Additionally, clear and equitable pathways for career development are crucial for keeping employees motivated and engaged in their work.
  • Everyone now knows what your company is like to work for. Applications like Glassdoor and Blind have lifted the lid on your talent brand, creating transparent insight. Against this backdrop, employees need a culture of inclusion and belonging to improve reputation and retention.

Against this backdrop, learning content is likely to adapt considerably in 2023.

Three trends to re-shape the future of learning content

We predict growth in three particular areas of content learning in EMEA during 2023. As we look to the future of learning content, we are seeing three key trends that are reshaping the landscape in EMEA for 2023. Based on the latest usage metrics from Cornerstone Content Anytime, these trends reflect a growing demand for content that addresses the most pressing concerns for organisations today.

  • Firstly, we're seeing a significant increase in demand for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) learning content.
  • Secondly, there is a growing focus on health and wellbeing, with a notable rise in demand for self-directed content on topics such as nutrition, meditation, and sleep tips.
  • Finally, sustainability is taking centre stage, with a doubling in demand for corporate responsibility and workplace sustainability learning content. These trends reflect the evolving priorities of organisations in the region, and the increasing recognition of the importance of investing in employee learning and development to drive business success

Trend 1: Growth in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) learning content

Cornerstone Content Anytime identified a 7.7x increase in demand for self-directed DEIB learning content in 2022 v 2021. This increase reflects the extent to which companies prioritise DEIB training to create inclusive workplaces and prevent DEIB-related complaints and potential legal action. By investing in DEIB training, organisations are re-imagining the people experience, satisfying compliance requirements, reducing legal activity and increasing employee retention.

Trend 2: Growth in health and wellbeing learning content

Cornerstone Content Anytime recorded a 1.4x increase in demand for self-directed health and wellbeing learning content in 2022 versus 2021. Examples include desk yoga, guided meditation, nutrition and sleep tips.

Most consumption is self-directed, demonstrating that to maintain a healthy and happy workforce, it is imperative for companies to provide this training. This can impact productivity through the number of sick days taken, retention and employee net promoter score (NPS).

Trend 3: Environmental and Social Governance: Growth in sustainability learning content

Cornerstone Content Anytime saw a 100% increase in demand for corporate responsibility / sustainability and workplace sustainability learning content in 2022 versus 2021. This acknowledges that organisations are increasingly conscious of the impact their activities and decisions will have on the environment.

Note that the demand for self-directed corporate responsibility / sustainability and workplace sustainability learning content is likely to overtake other learning priorities in the coming years.

It’s time to re-imagine learning content

By investing in these three areas of learning content, companies can improve employee retention, productivity and the bottom line. It’s important for employers to stay up-to-date on these trends and adjust their learning content accordingly in order to meet the changing needs of their employees.

All of this is covered in depth in the new Cornerstone EMEA Trends Report for 2023. Offering rigorous, in-depth insight into the people and workplace trends shaping the future, the report is an indispensable way for forward-thinking organisations to prepare for what’s over the horizon.

You can read the full Cornerstone EMEA Trends Report 2023 “People and workplace trends for the year aheadhere.

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