Healthcare L&D: Trends & Technologies to Watch

Healthcare learning and development technologies and trends

A key responsibility of healthcare L&D leaders and managers is to look ahead and plan for future training requirements, as well as dealing with current needs.

The latest healthcare technologies bring a host of benefits, including better patient outcomes, new efficiencies, greater insights for knowledge development and much more – but this doesn’t diminish the demands on a learning and development team.

Few healthcare organisations – whether public or private sector – are not under pressure to do more with less. So, with the introduction of new technology comes the expectation that learning and development teams will organise the training needed to implement them, yet somehow without disruption to staff workflow, patient care, and a range of other always-challenging budget and performance targets.

For L&D managers looking to gain an edge in hitting their targets, looking at the technology most relevant and able to help in training healthcare staff is essential. The healthcare sector has emerged as one of the most ready to accept elearning as a key element of the training mix, as it brings proven cost and time-saving efficiencies, while making learning content available 24/7 for staff who, between them, provide round-the-clock care, often in variable shift patterns.

So to continue to find greater efficiency, L&D must find the convergence between the best elearning solutions for their teams and the areas of new technology that will impact healthcare.


Training & eLearning Trends

Clearly, some types of elearning delivery are going to be less relevant to healthcare than others. Tech that helps to facilitate sales and customer service for example will be relevant to some roles, but not core what we see as the needs of healthcare delivery. Compliance and technical skills development on the other hand, may be seen as high priority for a Learning and Development team.

Growth areas of training and elearning technology that will have relevance to the healthcare sector and that we’ve seen most discussed across L&D as a whole over the last 12 months include:


Adaptive Learning – not a technology, but a training concept where learning content and / or mode of delivery is personalised to the needs of an individual learner. Efficiency and better learning outcomes are enabled by focusing on what he or she will benefit from most, and filtering out the rest.

AI / Machine Learning – artificial intelligence is a technology that facilitates adaptive /  personalised learning in the content of L&D. Much like Netflix uses machine learning to predict what you might like to watch next, the same tech can be used to anticipate a learners needs, preferences, or knowledge gaps that need to be addressed.

Data Analytics – the collection of data is nothing new and the analysis of trends in patient outcomes, budget allocation and much more has always been an important area of healthcare management. However, what has changed with technology development has been the quantity and depth of data to analyse, making data science one of the most in-demand career skills across many industries.

VR – augmented, mixed or virtual reality as a training tool is already well-established in healthcare for certain roles – complex surgery in particular – as it allows the practice of manual skills in a safe environment. It’s also a given in training for other high-consequence industries, such as aviation, but its use is becoming widespread in areas like sales and customer service to add an extra layer for skills development.

Microlearning – also known as bite-size learning, microlearning is based on the principle that people learning better and faster in small doses. It also makes the idea of learning less daunting as the learner know it will be a relatively brief exercise. As a knowledge development and retention tactic, microlearning for healthcare is just as relevant.


Of these 5 hot topics in training and elearning, AI, VR and Data Analytics are really the technology-focused topics, while the other 2 are really delivery strategies.

If L&D teams want to stay ahead of the curve in terms of readying themselves for new tech, let’s look at where the growth in demand is. We can get strong signals from Google Search demand:

Healthcare VR

Healthcare VR searches - virtual reality training

As mentioned previously, healthcare VR is already established as a training tool, and this 5-year search demand graph shows that while demand is around double that of 5 years ago, there hasn’t been a notable increase over the last 2 years.

Healthcare Analytics

Healthcare analytics - demand for data analysis

Again, data has always been analysed closely in healthcare, so the demand growth has been slow and steady – no doubt reflecting that growing volume of data to analyse.

Healthcare AI

Healthcare AI trend in searches

So here we have a different story. Demand for healthcare AI in terms of Google searches has seen significant growth over the last 2 years, in line with the growth of technologies to create and harness it.


These graphs all demonstrate relative growth though – showing change in demand over time relative to peak demand for each term over this 5 year period. If we want to compare demand for these terms, we need to put them on the same graph:

Healthcare learning and development technologies and trends

Here we see that healthcare AI, shown in blue, has risen over the last 2 years to match the demand for healthcare analytics, shown in yellow. As AI technology continues to improve and become mainstream, we’re likely to this strong growth continue over the next couple of years at least.


So what could this mean for healthcare L&D?

While VR is a hot topic in the world of tech in general, and in training and elearning across industries, it has already been adopted in the healthcare profession for certain roles, such as complex surgery. As the technology develop further, we may see demand increase again if it can demonstrate impact in a wider range of areas, such as soft skills training.

L&D teams may want to keep a closer eye on skills related to Analytics and AI.

As we generate more and more data, there seems to be steady demand for information related to its analysis in healthcare. No doubt that will encompass both the software and best practice in data analytics, and the knowledge and systems training for doing it well.

AI is much discussed across training and elearning, but the fact that there is fast-growing search demand for healthcare AI means that there is likely going to be need for staff to have the tools and the systems training to leverage it. L&D teams may want to pay close attention to this breakout area of healthcare technology. It will have implications across many areas of work and will play a major role in the development of adaptive learning that can personalise learning to make it faster, cheaper and more effective.


Further Reading

Relevant Case Study:
An important Patient Care eLearning Project with Scottish Government & NHS Scotland, creating bespoke elearning to help them use data analysis and queuing theory to improve patient flow.

Training Solutions:
Learn about our healthcare elearning solutions for onboarding and professional development.

Healthcare training clients

For over 20 years, Day One Technologies has been providing elearning services and technology solutions to some of the best-known companies and organisations in the UK and Europe, including several leading health service providers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your training and elearning needs.