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  • Writer's pictureIrina Ketkin

The Future of L&D: Top Emerging Career Paths

It is commonplace for business leaders and company owners to constantly ask, “What’s next for us?”. Yet this isn’t a question we often hear in Learning & Development. It’s hard to say for certain how L&D needs to adapt, even though a lot of organizations try (see the sources list at the bottom). But predicting the future can be hard, especially when we are constantly surrounded by rapid change. It seems the best we can hope for is to make an educated guess about the emerging roles in Learning and Development. Which is exactly what we will do in this article.


Considerations for L&D


What L&D will do depends on what the organization and its employees need. According to the different research and our experience in the past few years, we can make several assumptions:

  • There is a shift towards work from home and hybrid (41%), yet the majority of people (59%) still work from an office or on location.

  • Aligning to business objectives is still the top priority for L&D. Which often comes down to “let’s make more money with fewer costs”.

  • Learning is deemed valuable for career development but it needs to be approachable and meaningful.

  • Everyone has a unique career journey, and therefore, their learning experience needs to be personalized.

  • AI and other new technologies are here to stay.

  • It is often cheaper to promote someone internally (aka internal mobility) than to hire someone from outside and train them.

  • Employees need to be equipped with the necessary competencies to help them make vertical or lateral career moves internally.



Emerging roles in L&D

With all of the above in mind, what are the roles that will help organizations gain and/or keep their competitive advantage? Let’s explore the 3 roles we believe will become popular in the near future.


Personal Learning Experience Designer


Personal Learning Experience Designers will focus on crafting tailored learning pathways that cater to the unique needs and career goals of individual employees. The role might also be called Personal Career Consultant. They will work closely with employees to identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and aspirations, then design personalized development plans that incorporate various learning methods and tools.


For example, imagine a marketing assistant who aspires to become a digital marketing strategist. The designer might create a custom curriculum that includes online courses, mentoring sessions, and practical projects to help the assistant acquire the necessary skills and knowledge.


Learning AI Specialist


You can really go nuts with this role! A Learning AI Specialist will leverage artificial intelligence to enhance and streamline the learning process within organizations. They might develop and implement AI-driven tools that can analyze personal learning data, predict training needs, and offer personalized content recommendations.


For instance, imagine there is an internal system that can spit out a personalized learning path based on your career goals. Want to become a senior? Here’s what you need to do. Want to step into a leadership role? Check out these activities you can do to get ready. And everything you do is tracked and analyzed (why not even gamified?) to help you see your progress and maintain your motivation… especially when the going get tough!


Hybrid L&D Facilitator


This is something a lot of use currently do, even if we don’t use a fancy name for it. Hybrid L&D Facilitators will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between remote and in-person training and development. They will design and deliver learning experiences that are effective and engaging for both remote and on-site employees, ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality training regardless of their location.


Here’s a fun example – the facilitator organizes a blended learning workshop where remote participants join via a virtual platform while in-person attendees participate on-site. The first group has to do something (i.e., solve a puzzle or discuss a case study) that can be used by the in-person group to then go on a scavenger hunt or do a role play. They use interactive tools like virtual breakout rooms and collaborative whiteboards to foster engagement and collaboration among all participants.


What’s next?


While this exercise in creativity is certainly fun, we need to remember that that’s all it is for now. Time will tell if any of these will become mainstream. And if they do, remember – you heard it here first, folks! J 


The future of L&D is brimming with potential, but it must adapt and align with business priorities to survive. If it does not, it risks losing its value and relevance, and business leaders will stop seeking its support. The emerging roles we highlight here promise to revolutionize professional development. But are you ready to embrace the change?  How can you ensure L&D remains a value-adding function in our organizations? Let us know your comments down below.






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