Capability building is pivotal to enhance an employee’s skills, knowledge and competency from better to best performance through an effective and systematic process. Needless to say, 2020, 2021 have been years of upskilling for all of us. Challenging times wherein we all have been adjusting and adapting, learning to navigate new technologies in the fastest possible manner, finding ways to collaborate and engage virtually, and manage our physical and mental wellness with resilience facing circumstances beyond our control. Switching to new tools, being compliant with new health and safety protocols, defining new processes to meet changing demands, apprising employees of new skills have defined the key learning trends for the future.
Research says that in the next 3 years 1 in every 2 jobs will require the workforce to be upskilled or reskilled to meet the demands of the market dynamics. This gives an insight that there will be new competencies that need to be explored, introduced, and developed at various levels and perhaps rolling out of a lot of training and a well-structured team of content curators, facilitators, evaluators, and scheduling assistants to support them. Strategic leadership will have to ask the right questions at the right time to understand critical organizational needs and design holistic learning solutions.
Time is right to reflect on the key learning trends that will define the learning & development stage for the future
1. Anytime anywhere learning – From fixed time and place to anytime, anywhere marks learning as an everyday thing. Transition to a hybrid workplace also demands flexibility in future learning initiatives.
2. With so much on-the-fly development, keeping the safety protocols in mind will demand pre-built learning materials and also integrating learning into people’s everyday work as a means of developing applicable skills. L&D would be an everyday activity where people learn from trusted sources and satisfy their curiosity to perform better at work.
3. Integration of virtual and digital to create hybrid solutions In the year 2020, when organizations resorted to working remotely during the lockdown, When the first wave of Covid hit, L&D teams resorted from classroom learning to a digital-first model. Online meeting platforms proved highly beneficial until one realized that constant online sessions proved disengaging and exhausting.
4. The solution lies in the perfect combination of virtual L&D with the best of digital learning that includes minuscule sessions, gamification, more digitalized engagements that support remote learners’ heightened demand for value and social interaction. This growth to virtual, augmented, and mixed-reality training in L&D has been phenomenal and will continue to rise in foreseeable future.
5. Engagement and learning go hand in hand – What used to seem futuristic and only for online gaming is now becoming one of the eLearning trends. Responses of platforms like Kahoot, Mentimeter have been quite encouraging and have redefined learning as edutainment.
6. Augmenting the power of data analytics to measure ROI- Data is one of the prominent L&D trends in 2021. Greater, richer data sets drive decisions. There is an increased usage of data-driven techniques to design more effective training materials. Learning analytics, Scores like retention score and employee turnover ratio are being used to review behaviors, attitudes and improve training.
7. Prudent team and cutting edge technology – For learning to be effective, organizations must hire great people to build great processes and then use technology to scale those processes. The potential of technology is only limited by a human inability to maximize its effectiveness. While demystifying ways to make remote working easier, one has come to realize that learning IT skills hold paramount importance now. This requires having a dedicated IT, support team, on board who is ready to do immediate troubleshooting when technical glitches happen.
8. Redefined list of competencies – Increased Focus on Diversity, Equality & Inclusion, giving and receiving feedback, managing teams remotely have been few areas that have garnered much attention in the last few months. Social, emotional, and behavioral skills gain ever greater importance as we enter a period of economic uncertainty that will require creativity, proactiveness, agility, compassion, and resilience.
In the light of the stimulated transformation, one sees structured, engaged learning with additional resources committed to it as the future of L&D. The pandemic has eliminated the opulence of time, and with new knowledge being created faster than ever. Agile learning methodologies that focus on speed, flexibility, and collaboration armed with data-driven insights characterized by active engagement will dominate L&D conversations in 2021.