3 L&D trends to focus on in 2021

Trends in 2021 are influenced or even dominated by COVID-19 in almost every field. This is no surprise to anyone. February, meanwhile, is just behind us. Based on hundreds of conversations and experiences with clients and partners early in the year, we've identified a few trends that we think will continue throughout the rest of the year... and that we think are worthwhile for any L&D professional get some focus on. Here they are.

L&D trend 1: leadership development thanks to technology

Leading a team is not easy. It requires a lot of specific skills that not everyone possesses: communicating clearly, inspiring others, delegating and controlling when needed, connecting people... An L&D mill that runs smoothly succeeds in identifying employees with leadership potential and in training them to develop the right competencies.

In a digital or hybrid work environment, however, a lot changes. The classic skills of a good leader are not always sufficient. At the very least, the leader in question must know how to translate those classic skills to a digital context. An example:

How do you give an employee an informal pat on the back? How do you address something small before it escalates without destabilizing the situation?

  • You could send an e-mail or chat message - but as a leader, do you master your writing style enough to avoid any misinterpretations?
  • You could do a video call - but are you able to strike the right balance between formal and informal in that interaction?  

Fortunately, there are also technological solutions for L&D to find tomorrow's leaders and guide them: Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example. That technology can provide leaders-to-be with personalized tips and recommendations and help L&D managers assess them: all based on data, of course. Digital platforms such as the Totara Talent Management platform offer L&D the possibility of aligning performance and training much better. Some investments to think about…

L&D trend 2: upskilling and reskilling through digital learning

So leaders in 2021 need upskilling. What is upskilling? We use the term when we speak of employees learning new skills to continue to perform in their jobs (and get even better at them). So it's not just about leadership roles. Simply learning to use essential digital tools such as Microsoft Teams is necessary for every employee to continue to perform productively in his or her current role.

Others may find that their job has lost relevance in the 2021 context. It is therefore extremely important that L&D guides them quickly to a new position within the organization (reskilling). In doing so, there is no time to wait until classroom training becomes an option again.

Therefore, digital learning is becoming more and more crucial within the L&D strategy. As an L&D manager, you need to find ways to teach soft skills through e-learning. Interactive webinars play a role in this, but even a bigger role is reserved for online learning modules.

The investment in an e-learning course is an effective one, because once the learning content is developed, it can be accessed permanently and, of course, updated as needed. Suppose you want to transform certain employees into project managers... Thanks to scenario-based digital learning, they will acquire the necessary basic skills from home.

L&D trend 3: increasing productivity thanks to outsourcing

2020 caused many organizations to end up in tight situations. The emphasis in all areas of a company quickly becomes: productivity. This is no different for L&D. Moreover, in times of crisis, L&D is often one of the first casualties when management cuts budgets. 

So the question is: how can L&D achieve more with less? Learning technology can be a lifesaver, as the previous paragraphs have already shown. However, the problem is often that specific knowledge about digital learning is not available in-house. Unfortunately, expanding the team is not an option in budgetary terms. Or sometimes the specific knowledge is already present, but the new digital learning strategy translates into a temporary shortage of resources to develop all the concrete e-learning courses.

That is why more and more organizations are looking for a reliable partner for digital learning, who offers support by deploying the necessary consultants and/or knowledge. That way, the organization doesn’t get behind and remains agile when the turbulent context causes things to change again.

Master the new faster: contact Neo Learning!

Neo Learning was founded with a mission that has very suddenly become even more relevant than was before: helping companies deal with the new, thanks to digital learning.

Do you have a concrete assignment we can help with, or are you stuck with some questions? Contact us today for our advice. No strings attached.

Artikel geschreven door:
Neo Learning Consultants

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