Top 5 Hottest Corporate Learning Trends

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2020 is the year for organizations to transform their current learning culture into an agile, competitive machine that drives engagement and development.  To be completely candid, the changes happening in the learning and development space are occurring so rapidly that L&D leaders do not have much choice.  It’s transform or be left “in the dust.”  Changes include technology, strategies and even the make-up of the workforce.

Millennials continue to be the dominant generation in the workforce.  Generation Z isn’t far behind.  In fact, Bloomberg estimates the iGen will surpass Millennials in terms of population in 2020.  Generally speaking, learning for these groups is all about personal and professional development.  They crave experiences that provide them the much needed and much coveted skills of the future.

HR Guide:  Corporate Learning:  L&D’s Untapped Resource

Knowing this, and recognizing there are still Gen X and baby boomers to consider, what are the areas or trends learning leaders need to focus on to prepare for a successful and innovative 2020?

Corporate Learning Trends

  1. Creating and sustaining the Learning Culture

Of all the trends that will be discussed, this is the most critical.  The learning culture is the root from which all other strategies and programs grow.  Without it, learning becomes loose and lacks the ability to adjust to different conditions be it from the industry, the business or the employees.  If one were to define the learning culture, it would allow employees to continuously seek, share, and apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance.  It would also include personal and professional development.

  1. Creating a Future Skills Economy

Whether it is believed or not - there’s a clear need to drive a new skilling strategy for the future of the organization.  With some jobs being taken over by AI and automation, employers and employees realize they need to learn skills that increase their employability and prepare them for the future of work.  So where does this leave learning and development?  The learning industry is quickly becoming the face of this new future skills economy. Learning leaders have to prepare teams to be the business’ secret weapon for competitive differentiation. L&D needs to spark innovation to support, grow skills (future and in-demand skills) and enable organizations as key business partners.

Want to know more about the Future Skills Economy?  Click here.

  1. Making Learning More Accessible

Hiring and/or replacing employees is costly for the organization.  Learning can help ease that financial burden.  How?  A learning strategy that offers a tailored learning approach over a “one-size-fits-all approach” will create more loyalty among employees.  A positive side effect of loyalty is retention.  Additionally, a customized approach provides employees with the tools they need to succeed within the organization.  Most will take ownership of that development.  That same ownership helps support the learning culture.

  1. Immersive Technology Rising

Immersive technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality are huge in the gaming world, but their impact on corporate learning will be unmatched, especially as both technologies become more and more accessible and affordable for organizations.  From a learning perspective, these tools can, in most instances, replace traditional learning tools.  Why?  In the virtual space, skills are taught and practiced in a simulated environment.  Not only does it provide a near realistic experience, but the environment is safe.  Additionally, most VR platforms allow learners to continually practice skills and it offers managers and/or leaders the ability to coach to specific skills.

  1. Learning Retention

50 percent of people forget what is learned in one hour, 70 percent within 24 hours and 90 percent within a week.  This is often referred to as the Curve of Forgetting.  It’s important to consider this when thinking about learning and/or training when it comes to employees.  Employees learning the necessary information and skills is one thing, but it’s when they take it out in to the field for application that one finds out if the learning was actually successful.  There are a couple of ways to address the issue of learning retention.  In some instances, it’s about retraining, not from the perspective the employee failed in application, but more from the standpoint of re-exposure; the “practice makes perfect” approach.  Other strategies include coaching from managers/leaders to help cement learning.

Where Does Corporate Learning Go from Here?

According to Udemy research, nearly 40 percent of learning and development leaders say jobs are being transformed or eradicated by new technologies.  Those technologies include artificial intelligence and automation.  It’s for this reason that getting the corporate learning strategy right is paramount.  And leaders know it.  The same Udemy study found nearly 60 percent of leaders reskilled 10-20 percent their workforce in 2018.  That number is expected to grow this year and in the years to come.  Taking stock of the five trends above will help set the organization on the right path, but these aren’t the only ones to consider.  HR and learning leaders need to do an audit of their current learning culture status.  Put it in context of the business and the industry.  Just like with employees, personalize the strategy and go forth.

NEXT:  The Jack-of-all-Trades Approach to Corporate Learning


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