Learning & Development
5 min read

Udemy’s workplace learning trends for 2020: Sneak peek


Jennifer Juo

Content Marketing Team Lead, Udemy

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With the rapid rate of technology change CEOs are increasingly looking to Learning & Development (L&D) to prepare their workforce for the future. In particular, AI and data science are disrupting businesses and the way we work.

According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report 2019, 65% of surveyed organizations said they expect AI and robotics to have a significant impact on their business but only 26% said their workforce was prepared. 

How can you prepare your organization for the skills of the future?

The new 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report from Udemy for Business highlights 10 emerging skills your organization needs in 2020 and how you can reimagine Learning & Development to prepare your workforce for this new decade. 

  • Based on what 40+ million people are learning on Udemy, our report uncovers the latest learning trends and the hottest skills by role, industry and country. 
  • Based on a survey of 200 L&D leaders, we also share 5 learning predictions or innovative ways organizations are reinventing learning to prepare their workforce for the future. Download the report here.

Here’s a sneak peek into a few of the workplace learning trends and predictions in our report. 

Trend: From concept to reality — AI goes mainstream in 2020

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining how businesses operate.

Artificial intelligence enables computers to learn from experience and accomplish human-like tasks more efficiently by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.

Think of how credit card companies use AI to troll through mountains of data to predict and detect fraudulent activity. Over the next decade, data analytics and AI will augment workers’ efficiency, as companies rely on leading tech to beat out competitors, according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2019.

When looking at the hottest skills trending on Udemy over the past three years we see a shift to AI and data science skills. Machine learning and neural networks are the muscle behind artificial intelligence (AI) innovations that have taken the world by storm.

Artificial neural networks (skill #5) mimic how the human brain processes, stores and acts on information. While self-driving cars or facial recognition are the most popular examples, the power of neural networks can be leveraged for just about every industry. 

Building these neural networks and machine learning models is a complex task. New technologies like TensorFlow (skill #1) make this process easier. TensorFlow is an open-source library featuring machine learning algorithms and code for developers to apply to their own applications.

Computer vision is the field of AI that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images like facial recognition tasks. OpenCV (skill #4) is another open-source library of programming functions that helps developers build real-time computer vision applications.

Driven by AI, chatbots (skill #2) can recreate the way a human interacts with customers to solve administrative tasks, sales, or frequently asked questions.

Download the report to get the full list of skills.

Prediction: The L&D function will radically transform for the next decade

L&D is at the center of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the massive reskilling required for the shift to AI and data science. CEOs will increasingly rely on their L&D team to transform their workforce for the skills of the future. However, the old L&D function of the last decade cannot effectively bring your organization into the future.

In 2020 we expect L&D teams to radically transform themselves. This will involve reshaping the learning ecosystem to optimize the learner experience. Part of this experience will involve applying adaptive AI and personalization to learning as well as tailored learning paths.


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L&D processes and roles will be revamped to become more agile — focusing less on content creation and relying more on content curation. With the rapid rate of technology change, L&D teams can’t keep up and must rely on external content providers for the latest content at scale. We also expect learning leaders to revamp their team’s skills in 2020 and beyond. See how Cisco has reinvented its L&D function for 2020 and beyond. 

Roles on L&D teams are shifting as they move from content creation to curation. According to our report survey, 36% of surveyed organizations have facilitators/instructors, and 36% also have LMS admins, making up the majority of L&D teams today. But 27% of organizations are starting to have learning technology managers and 22% have content curators, with these roles becoming more mainstream. And new roles are popping up such as data analyst (15%), learning experience designer (10%), and social community manager (8%).

While still small, we expect more organizations to begin experimenting with chatbots in 2020. A higher number of L&D teams plan to add chatbots (24%) in the next few years than VR (17%) or AR (13%). According to our survey, more L&D teams are using chatbots today. Siri or Alexa-like chatbots are being used as learning assistants to offer Q&A for employees. L&D teams who currently have chatbots doubled from 4% to 8% between 2018–2019.

Finally, we expect L&D teams to rethink how they’re organized to better align themselves with the business and new emerging skill capabilities. To stay on top of the latest skills the business needs for the future, L&D managers will need to become more tightly embedded in the business. To discover more trends, predictions and in-demand skills for 2020, download your copy of the 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report here.

Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing workplace by offering fresh, relevant on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us here.