Elevation: the learning trends of 2023 and our predictions for next year’s level-up

Sally Reay, 3 min read

We can hear those jingle bells and almost taste the pavlova. So in the spirit of Christmas paper, it’s time to wrap up the learning trends of the year that’s been, and take a peek into what’s coming up for learning in 2024.

The past 12 months have shared some of the continued learning focuses from the previous years, with overall trends encompassing the realities of a post-pandemic work culture. Think remote or hybrid workplaces, emphasis on balance and wellbeing, and the value of adaptability and cross-functional skills in a rapidly changing job market.

While those broader learning trend arcs don’t seem to be going anywhere soon, there are also some newer players in the learning game. Stemming from the booming growth in technology and the realities - both exciting and challenging - that accompany that, we’ve seen a strong steer towards workplace training that not only equips teams to utilise that technology but also protect themselves against it.

So get out the sticky tape (and gift tags if you’re feeling fancy) - let’s get into our 2023 learning wrap up:

Trend #1: The GenAI explosion

Today, you’d be hard-pressed finding someone who hasn’t yet encountered the intriguing tentacles of AI technology in some way. Whether you’ve been trying out ChatGPT’s ability to word a tricky email (guilty), testing generative imaging tools to create gloriously obscure crossover art (not guilty…yet), or hearing about it but not quite understanding the fuss (hi Dad!) - AI has stomped into the public discourse in a big way this year.

GenAI. So hot right now.

McKinsey’s 2023 Global Survey identifies marketing and sales, product and service development, and service operations as the functions with the most commonly reported use of AI, with one third of all respondents reporting the use of generative AI tools in at least one area of their business. This has meant a steep learning curve for individuals and teams who are shifting the way they work in subtle and significant ways.

With learning and training, there are obvious possibilities for generative AI (and its close neighbour LLM) in content generation. We even wrote a blog about it. Like many businesses, Yarno has been exploring and learning about this exciting space, considering both what AI can do for us and also what it can’t (or shouldn’t) do.

Trend #2: The upskill uptake

People have been upskilling hard in 2023, and as a learning company, we love to see it. Rapid advancements in technology (#throwback to the previous paragraph), changing industry dynamics, and increasing demand for specialised skills have all made upskilling a necessary component of career success. It was so prominent this year that we dedicated a whole season of our podcast, Make It Work, to upskilling.

The most intelligent, trainable dog breed is the Border Collie (yes I looked it up, and yes I got stuck looking at Border Collie puppies). And it turns out that the happiest Border Collies, with the happiest human companions, are the ones that are always learning. Pupskilling, if you will. Of course people shouldn’t be compared to pets, but the point here is that continually investing in growth, being challenged with new goals, and learning new ‘tricks’ actually leads to more satisfaction for both employees and businesses.

Critically, upskilling can also:

  • Give businesses a cutting edge in a competitive marketplace
  • Reduce hiring costs by enhancing existing capabilities
  • Improve retention rates through identifying skill gaps and supporting employees
  • Ensure adaptability and responsiveness in an unpredictable economy

Happy Border Collie

Trend #3: The cybersecurity focus

It’s happened before, and it will happen again, but 2023 was the year the hackers got us. One breach wave (new hair trend?) after another caused widespread frustration, anger, and importantly, critical security concerns. In a truly integrated world, cybersecurity has proven more crucial than ever and businesses across all industries have been tightening up their systems and investing in targeted cybersecurity learning.

90% of cybersecurity issues - ranging from minor carelessness to significant mistakes - are due to human error. The fact is that nobody is free from all risk when it comes to cybersecurity. As scams and technologies grow more sophisticated, people must grow in their understanding and ability when it comes to being cyber safe.

Unfortunately, a lot of the training available in this area is pretty dry. But given the huge risks involved, it’s not an option for businesses and their teams to tune out. With this in mind, we here at Yarno developed CyberBite, a cybersecurity training platform that won’t bore your socks off. It’s gamified, customised, and developed with experts who know what you need to know.

Trend #4: The wellbeing lens

Not sure if anybody else has noticed, but there’s a lot going on at the moment. Between climate change, inflation, cost of living, wars, brinks of wars, referendums, and all the usual human stuff, 2023 has been a real struggle for many. It can be hard getting through the day sometimes, let alone performing exceptionally at your job. On the whole, many businesses have recognised this, and mental health has been another focus for learning this year.

It’s pretty obvious that investing in mental health and wellbeing has a positive impact. But what has that looked like for learning? Many businesses have been making full use of the training resources available (for example, through an Employee Assistance Program) to help encourage and equip their teams in prioritising wellbeing. They’ve also been developing their own internal initiatives (for example, awareness days) focused on mental health and psychological safety.

Here at Yarno, we’ve been participating in training sessions with external facilitators about R U OK? Day, self-care, supporting people struggling with mental health, and domestic and family issues. We’ve also been levelling up our knowledge with internal learning campaigns about health and wellbeing, and we’ve seen significant uptake of companies wanting these sorts of learning experiences for themselves (great idea).

2024 Predictions

We’re no fortune tellers, but we do know about learning (and fortune cookies - yum!). So here’s what we see as trends in the learning landscape for next year:


Despite the adoption, impact, and profitability of AI varying between industries and roles, one thing is certain: at whatever the level, and whatever the function, clever AI requires clever humans.

According to Forrester, in 2024 one out of eight executive leadership teams will make room for CAIOs (Chief AI Officers), and 60% of employees will be gearing their learning towards AI prompt engineering. So we see this trend growing more prominent, more multi-faceted and more relevant than ever.


“Can you breakdance?” and “Can you give us a gamified solution to our training needs?” are two of our favourite questions at Yarno. One of them is also the most commonly asked question Mark gets from prospective customers (but he answers yes to both).

In this article, Jason Haddock states that “if you want to drive positive behavioural change in your customers and employees, then gamification means making the process fun, purpose-driven and impactful”. As companies continue to look for effective ways to grow and equip their teams, gamification will continue to be a powerful (and super fun) learning trend in 2024.


Companies and individuals alike are increasingly demanding diverse and inclusive workplaces. More resources than ever before are being invested into Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives, and this includes a focus on training and upskilling in this area.

Creating safe spaces, ensuring processes are inclusive and equitable, and reviewing workplace culture more broadly are some of the applications where this type of diversity training is relevant, and it’s vital that the learning is provided across all levels and roles for effective implementation.

So how do I get on trend?

At Yarno, we’re in the business of learning. With our engaging, gamified, human-centred approach we help companies design targeted learning experiences to drive change and deepen understanding.

If you’re keen to find out how you can include learning in your 2024 strategy, contact us today.

If you’re specifically interested in our brand of bite-sized, not-boring cyber security awareness training, drop Mark a line (and a breakdancing request).

Sally Reay

Sally Reay

Sally is our content writer extraordinaire. She's upskilling people everywhere, one Yarno question at a time. When she's not writing, Sally loves to travel – she's most drawn to new places because #yolo and all that.

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