The world experienced a great transformation in 2020, a year that witnessed a revolution in almost every sector of the economy. This revolution brought a change to organisations, how we work, how we engage and communicate and how we conduct corporate training and development.


Most organisations have had to reimagine and rethink their business operations and find new ways of engaging the workforce. This disruption forced most organisations to adopt remote working and bring virtual training and engagement to the forefront.


With the rapid transformation in the learning and development space, a lot of responsibility now falls on the learning & development (L&D) managers to implement efficient and effective strategies and support new initiatives that would equip the workforce with skills needed to accelerate business growth in 2021.


In light of these accelerated transformation signposts, here are some keys trends that will shape the learning landscape in 2021.


1. Continued dominance of online learning

With the increasing adoption of remote working and the current social distancing climate, eLearning has never been as predominant as it has been in 2020. Most L&D professionals have had to rethink how training and development are deployed in various organisations. The adoption of online learning systems allows a wide range of professionals to acquire new competencies remotely in real-time.


2. Upskilling and Reskilling of the workforce

Filling critical skill gaps is a top priority for HR and business leaders in 2021. With agility and remote work being the order of the day, most employees would have to adopt agile learning methodologies that focus on speed, flexibility, collaboration and navigating new technologies. L&D professionals will, therefore, need to put in place programs that would address these needs and help organisations remain competitive towards improving business performance.


3. Content Curation and Creation Tools Taking Centre Stage

With so many information overloads, many organisations are now adopting bespoke eLearning content curation and saving learners the stress of hunting around for content or read through mountains of irrelevant information to find what they need. Organisations are now resorting to contents that align with specific roles and more relevant to their industry. Content curation must be done in an effective way to help keep learners engaged.


4. Soft/Power Skills have become Core to Business Success

The only thing that remains constant in this world is change.  As the world continues to change, employers are realising that Social Intelligence skills such as adaptability, emotional intelligence and resilience are critical for any organisation desiring to remain relevant in this new terrain.  There has been a growing focus on soft skills (now known as power skills), and the need to close identified gaps in this space, especially in the leadership role. With stress and anxiety running high, leaders must exhibit a high level of empathy and emotional intelligence amongst other skills to help support and communicate with the workforce.


Soft/Power skills have become core to organisational and employee success, and practice is needed to effectively develop this skill set. To accomplish this need, Organisations are now adopting virtual reality and augmented reality platforms, designed for practising critical skills, such as delivering feedback, communication, and active listening.


5. Learning Designed by Data

The new trend to look out for is the adoption of data in corporate learning design. Better data leads to better decisions, and many companies are turning to deeper, richer data sets to gain insights into their remote workforces and tracking different metrics to determine productivity and development.


One of such is the adoption of xAPI which would replace the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) with a learning record store (LRS). The LRS helps L&D managers to track training and provides an indication when an employee has finished a training module.  It can also track exactly what employees did with what they learned. With this tool, managers and leaders can gain insight into what is working, what needs to be developed further, and which direction to head next.


The world of work is constantly disrupting, and L&D professional must be agile to keep pace by adopting insights from these trends in the training and development of their workforce. Planning for 2021 has never been this crucial, therefore, learning professionals must provide the support and guidance needed on how to reskill, upskill and evolve their learning culture to meet the new demands of remote working.


Written by:

Victoria Debrah

Business Consultant



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