Universal Mentors Association

Trends 2023: Finding Our True North In An Uncertain World


We’re Tired Of Things Not Changing. And We’re Tired Of Change That Doesn’t Meet Our Needs.

“They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
—Andy Warhol

Last year we heard—from participants in our survey, our clients, and, yes, here at SweetRush—a strong connection between change and suffering. We saw agility and adaptability show up #1 on the list of top skills (where it remains this year), right alongside the challenges of low resilience and burnout.

Well, not to get too meta, but it seems our sentiment toward change is changing.

eBook Release: 2023 Learning & Development And Learner Experience Trends Report

eBook Release

2023 Learning & Development And Learner Experience Trends Report

Gain insight into what’s working (and what’s not) from other L&D leaders with examples and tips you can use in your organization. Your learners will thank you!

The Shift

This year, we’re hearing a shift from suffering from the punishing pace of change to acceptance that change is happening. And we need to make it work, for our businesses, for our people, and for ourselves—in the face of economic uncertainty and extreme time pressure.

“We must be adaptable to the change that is rapidly taking place. Listening, learning, adapting, and keeping a positive mindset will be very important.”—L&D Leader

“We are in the midst of huge transformation so we must be able to adapt to and embrace change, with an eye for creative, sustainable processes that keep us competitive in the future.”
—L&D Leader

Yet the shift from suffering to acceptance brings a whole new set of questions.

Uncertainty About Change

We see that we’re stuck in the old ways of working, but we’re uncertain about how to change. We know we need to prepare for the future—but what is the future?

“Between big concepts like future proofing the learning programs to emerging software, there’s only so many hours in the day to learn new things and recalibrate my way of thinking. I worry about being stuck in the past and paying too much attention to the wrong thing coming in the future.”—L&D Leader

“We are all so focused on what we believe is going to make an impact and propel our company forward that we tend to miss the small things that will make a bigger impact.”—L&D Leader

While we know we don’t have all the answers or a crystal ball to see what the future of learning in the workplace will be, we’re confident in this: We must put the learner at the center of our craft.

That’s not at the expense of serving the business, which needs L&D more than ever to help fulfill its purpose and respond to change driven by customer experience, stakeholder pressures, market conditions, political forces, and climate change. In a world of data, we need to know that what we’re doing is working and pivot when it’s not.

Yet our work will not be effective if we don’t embrace and elevate our focus on our audience. And, as you’ll see in our report, this continues to be a primary L&D challenge: creating learner-centered, personalized, engaging experiences that make change possible.

SweetRush’s Learner-Centered Design

In this year’s report, we’re rolling out the first iteration of our Learner-Centered Design Model. This represents a coalescence of 20 years of SweetRush’s work with our clients creating learning experiences that set new standards for engagement. It’s a holistic view of learners that is grounded in empathy and a heightened awareness of human needs.

If I can be so bold as to riff on the words of B.B. King (one of my favorite quotes), the beautiful thing about learning—for all of us working in this craft—is that there’s so much to learn. And if there’s one thing that unites learning professionals, it’s our love of learning.

Download our 2023 Learning & Development And Learner Experience Trends Report today if you’re ready to keep learning and changing together.

eBook Release: SweetRush


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