As we have mentioned before, the learning and development landscape has changed dramatically over the last year and a half. This rapid rate of change has pushed L&D professionals to rethink how their training programs are managed and delivered. Organizations across the globe experienced everything from postponing training events to budget cuts, and even the cancellation of trainings all together. One of the biggest changes the L&D environment experienced was the conversion from Instructor Led Training to Virtual Instructor Led Training (ILT to VILT) with that being said, what does the future hold for training and development?
Reflecting on the Current L&D Landscape
With COVID-19 creating long-term repercussions throughout the workforce, organizations continue to adapt through several new strategies and environments. It is unclear which adaptations and innovations implemented over the past year and a half are actually here to stay. The market is consistently changing, which implies that some changes – such as the move to hybrid working models and learning in the flow of work – are here to stay. As we start to explore a post-pandemic workforce, we need to be meeting employees’ needs where they are living, working, and learning. It was highlighted throughout the past couple of years that learning is critical to employee development and the show must go on. It has been a time for organizations to stop waiting around for something to happen (because look, it did) and anticipate what the future holds for training and development programs. It is time for organizations to become forward-thinking so there are minimal disruptions moving forward.
As we discussed back in December, there were a lot of trends expected for L&D in 2021. It was easy to assume we would not be headed in any specific direction with the turmoil and change the industry faced in 2020. However, let us quickly reflect on where it is at. Most importantly, as mentioned above, it is critical to act with speed and urgency. That trend was dead on. Online learning has also accelerated its pace in the past year, along with more staff augmentation (temporary resources and high-performing consultants) to relieve urgent staffing and project needs, as well as workforce and technology transformation product training (there’s still large gaps in product knowledge, training, and performance support).
The New L&D Landscape
The new L&D landscape is still taking shape, but there are several items to account for regarding the future of working and bringing learning more into the flow of work. Below are some areas to put focus on as your organization strives to be future-ready for training:
- Technology advancements such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR): These technology advancements utilize readily available data to create training programs that are adaptive, customized, and realistic experiences.
- Remote and Hybrid working models: Your training programs and L&D teams need to be equipped and prepared for hybrid environments. Although a blended learning model and hybrid environments are different, the technique behind the concepts can work together. They involve in-person and digital audiences, methods to engage audiences (polls, surveys, whiteboards, etc.), along with flexible approaches to learning and collaboration.
- Available and needed talent/skills: There is a large need for top talent and availability of desired and necessary skills. Create a solid workplace culture to stay ahead of competition and stand out from the rest to recruit and retain people that will help your organization grow.
- Multigenerational workforces: Right now, L&D leaders everywhere are experiencing a multigenerational workforce from baby boomers through Gen Z. Your L&D program needs to be tailored to every stage of an individual’s career to ensure knowledge is retained and passed to the next group of leaders in your organization.
- Microlearning and shorter learning cycles: Learners these days have become accustomed to digital environments, possess less patience, and have come to expect short learning cycles. By providing solutions such as microlearning and mobile learning, employees have the ability to work at their own pace in remote locations without taking away from their day-to-day jobs.
- Training for upskilling and reskilling: With the recent economic downturn, organizations need to provide stronger support for those needing to be trained. Now and in the future, organizations need to be aware of “skilling” trends so they can future proof their teams and be more attractive and competitive for prospective talent.
As L&D professionals try to remain applicable in the new L&D landscape, it is time to shift your mindset on how training and development should look.
What’s Essential for the Future of Learning and Development?
Training and development will always be vital for business success and growth, as well as transformation. Having a solid L&D strategy should be a key component of every organization, while also staying up to date with technology transformation and adoption. Make sure your organization has the right technologies and operations in place to empower your employees to succeed, from the very start. Every L&D leader needs to be equipped with skills from innovate thinking to strategic planning and adaptability.
Continue to provide sufficient opportunities for uniting with colleagues, whether it is through social learning or collaboration. Also, take time to fully understand the concept of bringing learning into the flow of work to make employee time more valuable. Continue to keep up with L&D trends as the year goes on, and don’t forget to check Dashe’s blog for the hottest topics in the industry. If you are stuck on where to start or how to be ready for the future of learning and development, we are just a click away to support you. Remember that an active and continuous learning culture is critical to your organization and its best asset, the people.