4 Learning predictions for 2021

Peter Simonsen, Partner & Learning Director,  Blendit LearningPeter Simonsen, Partner & Learning Director, Blendit Learning
Engagement and business impact as core objectives in HR & L&D

It’s not breaking news, that HR and L&D need to demonstrate their value to the business. We have known for a while. Nevertheless, it is now truer than ever. To flourish in 2021 – well to even be invited to the table – L&D teams will have to get better and better at demonstrating their value to the business. Money will be scarce and prioritized hard. Knowing the business and not least the business problems, understanding the stakeholder KPIs, and demonstrating that they are helping employees perform better will be essential to the best performing HR and L&D teams.

This requires at least two things; 1) learning the lingo, and 2) providing the relevant data (not happy sheets).

Rapid Upskilling and Reskilling

According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report, 51% of L&D pros plan to launch upskilling programs. This should not be a surprise, since "World Economic Forum, The Future of job Report 2020" states that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. That was HALF of all employees!

As adoption of technology increases, as our work changes and tools change more and more rapidly, the demand for a quick adoption of new skills and capabilities increases as well. Learning leaders have to plan for skills gaps 3-5 years ahead, and at the same time deliver short term performance support. Essentially, this is what L&D does at its core - developing long term human capabilities and helping people do their jobs right here and now. The big difference is the pace and the amount of upskilling. The good news is that adoption of technology also helps us do that.
Another good year for bite-sized content

It is going to be another good year for the use of bite-sized video content. Everyone from pre-school children to grandmothers search and view videos on how to do stuff. There are obvious limits to how complex and pervasive learning can be obtained by watching 2 minute videos, so for that we have to create genuine learning experiences, but bite-sized pieces of content are perfect for finding the answer when and where you need it. The addition of automated transcription tools to support better search and tagging, along with fully automated translation through subtitling, will add to the attraction together with its potentially low cost and speed.

Along with online meetings and webinars, the adoption of videos and micro content in general has increased in the pandemic, and there are exciting possibilities with creating blended learning solutions that are exclusively online. We believe this will be a focus area for the upcoming years - also after the pandemic.

Mindsets and toolsets are changing

Many L&D leaders are already transforming their academies from management and control systems you HAVE TO go a few times a year, to community based places for increasing knowledge, learning and capabilities. This trend will continue and increase.

It is not going to be an either or. It is not social learning instead of compliance training. Or bite-sized content instead of formal learning plans. The trend is having both. All, actually. Modern professionals – young and old – will be looking for workplaces that provide formal learning, job support, communities with peers, being able to contribute and engage. And more and more L&D teams will provide this, either in integrated suites or via integrating different platforms that work together to provide a modern learning experience.

How to get started:

• Understand business languages – understand your C-levels KPI’s and how they measure success
• Understand Data and the correlation between business matrix and learner engagement
• Understand what set of skills and capabilities is core to your business
• Look at your content strategy – make it bite sized and searchable, and engage your internal experts
• Look into how videos can help you drive engagement (make it easy to do the right thing)
• Look at your current learning eco system and find out what pieces you a missing to create the best value for you business

Enjoy the journey!