London UK 2025

Dates and Venue

23 - 24 April 2025 | ExCeL London

17 - 18 April 2024 | ExCeL London

4 Skills Every L&D Leader Needs to Stay Relevant and Thrive in the Age of AI

Monday 20 May 2024

4 Skills Every L&D Leader Needs to Stay Relevant and Thrive in the Age of AI

Kat Giroux
4 Skills Every L&D Leader Needs to Stay Relevant and Thrive in the Age of AI

AI won’t replace your e-learning job, but it will transform it. Prepare to capitalise on future growth opportunities by sharpening these high-demand skills.

Amidst talk of AI’s impact on work, there’s been one existential question worrying our field: “Will AI replace me?”

For learning and development professionals, the short answer is no. The reskilling revolution is here—and with it, increased demand and urgency for large-scale training. Nearly 80 percent of workers could be affected, suggesting that the L&D function will expand—not shrink.

However, this response also comes with a caveat. Like most fields, AI will augment L&D professionals’ work. As some tasks get easier and faster, training teams will shift focus to new areas that better use their expertise.

So, what skills or tasks will demand more L&D attention? And how can you capitalise on new opportunities for growth in the AI era? Below, we’ve identified four skills to stay relevant and thrive as an L&D expert in the future of AI-assisted e-learning.


1. Needs analysis

AI tools can help L&D teams boost their training output. However, higher training volumes also increase the risk of information overload. Without clear direction, AI may produce irrelevant or excessive content that distracts from learning goals. In the future of learning, leaders must accurately identify the critical training efforts that maximise business results.

To provide this laser focus, e-learning pros should prepare to conduct a thorough training needs analysis. Consult with employees and stakeholders, observe workflows, analyse performance data, and answer strategic questions like:

  • What critical skill or performance gaps impact your team?
  • Why do these gaps occur? Is training the best solution to close the gaps?
    • For example, training could close a knowledge or skills gap. But training won’t solve the problem of a lack of motivation or resources. 
  • If training is the right solution, what skills training will bridge the gap?
  • What format would be most effective for delivering the training?

AI may boost L&D production capacity, but employees still have limited time and bandwidth for workplace training. Provide direction on learning objectives and training strategy to make it count.


2. Human-centered learning design

While AI can mimic human language usage and thinking patterns, that’s still a far cry from being human or understanding the human experience. For L&D professionals, that translates to a growing demand for expertise in human-centered learning design.

You can expect to spend less time on manual tasks—such as copying and pasting source materials—and invest more resources into improving the learning experience. Refer to the table below for examples of what that might entail.

Core Skill Examples
Build sophisticated and highly engaging e-learning interactions Interactive games, simulations, sorting activities, and branching scenarios
Develop creative blends of multimedia elements Custom audio, video, 3D models, graphics, and illustrations
Tailor training to employee needs and preferences Customised, context-specific training pathways and messages tailored to employees’ unique motivations
Make courses more inclusive Inclusive language, imagery, and accessibility enhancements


3. Storytelling and scenario-building

Storytelling and scenario-building will likewise add to training specialists’ skills repertoire. Why? Generative AI tools tend to produce informational text. They can deliver accurate definitions, effective descriptions or summaries, and concise steps, tips, action items, or lists. This factual style may provide a useful skeleton for more robust training—but without additional context, it falls flat.

Stories bring training to life—engaging learners with real-world applications. Humans are hardwired to pay attention to stories. Our early ancestors used storytelling to share values, warn of danger, and communicate information that helped us cooperate and survive. In e-learning development, we can tap into this evolutionary bias to make training more captivating and memorable.

For example, say you’re developing a course about workplace conflict. AI tools might describe common causes of workplace conflict and provide a list of tips for conflict management. Course creators might then:

  • Interview employees to brainstorm real-world examples of conflicts at work—and develop a more nuanced understanding of their experiences.
  • Use those insights to design a complex, interactive branching scenario in which the learner navigates a conflict with a coworker.
  • Bring the scenario to life with realistic dialogue, representative characters, believable choices, and immersive multimedia elements.


4. AI literacy

Finally, AI technologies are both the source of organisational change and disruption—and the solution to adapting and thriving in this exciting new era. Developing AI literacy will be critical to future success—both inside and outside of the L&D function.

Learning developers competent in AI applications, limitations, and best practices will be better-equipped to: 

  • Amplify your impact. AI tools make it easier and faster for L&D specialists to produce high-quality workplace training at scale. Those who learn how to leverage these tools can increase their impact. Those who fail to do so risk falling behind.
  • Upskill others in AI. AI and Big Data ranked third in companies’ top training spending priorities for 2023-2027, according to the World Economic Forum. So, if you haven’t started developing AI training already, you’ll likely be tasked with it soon. And training others on a subject is easier when you’re already an expert yourself.


The bottom line

It’s true: AI tools are automating manual and formulaic tasks, like summarising large volumes of text. But these aren’t the tasks that set you apart or light you up as a training or L&D professional. Your greatest assets in the age of AI are the skills that tap into your humanity—including your unique experience, intelligence, empathy, and creativity. Lean into these uniquely human strengths to maximise your impact now—and in the future of learning.

Want to learn more about how AI can unlock new possibilities for learning and development? Check out this free e-book: 3 Ways AI Transforms Workforce Skill-Building.


Kat Giroux Kat Giroux

Senior Content Writer - development and strategy, storytelling, and instructional design at Articulate

Explore more news

Learning Technologies Sponsors

Learning Technologies Partners