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Workplace Learning Trends for 2021

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Workplace learning has been on the rise in the past years, more so in 2020, when the pandemic forced a massive shift in the workforce. What used to be considered an “extra” or a “perk” is now necessary for organisations to meet the demands of the time and ensure that their people are engaged no matter where they are working.  

We cannot deny, though, that all businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, putting almost all learning & development programs on hold. Nearly all in-person training has been postponed or cancelled in 2020, and 71% of organisations reported budget cuts for their learning departments. However, these setbacks do not mean that business leaders would have to wait for the pandemic to end to get back on track. Thanks to technology, organisations have another shot at getting their learning & development programs moving again.   

But leveraging technology for learning is not as simple as implementing a system. This digital transformation of learning also requires a rethinking of the learning experience, starting with some of these workplace learning trends: 

Personalised learning paths

Employees are often at different stages of development in their careers, so a one-size-fits-all learning approach is not always as effective in helping meet their needs. Instead, companies need to find a more flexible way to offer relevant content depending on their skills and capacity. Using a personalized learning platform or Learning Experience Platforms can help HR curate customised learning paths that recommend modules to their employees based on their current skillsets and goals. 

Consider diverse learning styles and experiences

With your employees having different skillsets and being at varying stages in their careers, learning experiences also need to be tailored to other preferences, expectations, and learning styles. Not all learning delivery modes work in the same way for every learning—some may prefer traditional manuals or long-form content. At the same time, some will be more comfortable with quick lectures or webinars or even short chunks of content or mobile learning solutions or a library of courses ala-Netflix. Organisations must then provide various experiences to suit their workforce’s needs to help them gain maximum knowledge in the style that fits them. 

Contextual Learning and Application

Learning is no longer a one-off task but an essential activity that is becoming more integrated with our employees’ daily tasks. Organisations must now always consider how employees can apply the learning material to their teams’ day-to-day work to ensure knowledge retention. Instead of sticking to one delivery method for courses, consider implementing contextual learning experiences—short chunks of information or quick video clips in mobile format—that fit the employees’ situation and can be applied directly to their projects or tasks at hand.   

Ensuring Accessibility

Employees are now on the move, and with the shift to remote working in 2020, your teams may not always be seated in front of their computers or can afford to block off time to finish a training course. As the workforce evolves, so should the way they acquire skills. Allowing your employees to learn on their own time, at their own pace, anywhere they help provide them with better access to learning materials. Further, implementing mobile learning solutions can help your teams train on the go, ensuring that learning can still happen even offline. 

Informal learning methods

Learning is limited to formal classes or online courses and informal settings, such as peer collaboration and coaching sessions. By collaborating with their colleagues, employees can ask questions, share concepts, get answers and pick up best practices on topics specific to their needs. While health and safety protocols may mean that employees cannot physically be in one venue to have these conversations, these sessions can quickly be done online through conference calls, focus group discussions, and other similar set-ups. These informal activities give your employees ownership over what they learn and help your distributed workforce remain connected. 

Integration with the employee lifecycle

As learning and development become an essential part of the employee experience, organisations need to ensure that these activities are integrated into the rest of the HR cycle. Combining training and reskilling initiatives to an employee’s performance management and career progress will help them see the impact of these activities, encouraging them to further invest in their development.  

Make learning a part of the employee experience

The pandemic has indeed made business leaders rethink the way they do things, opening up various opportunities to transform their organisation and meet the demands of the time. While traditional learning has had its time, it is not as effective as it was in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Building a continuous and real-time learning culture is a priority to make learning a part of the employee experience. With an effective learning and development strategy, your people will acquire the necessary and relevant skills for their career advancement and keep them engaged even in the face of uncertainty.   

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