Corporate Training Trends to Look For in 2021

woman leading corporate training session

HR and learning and development professionals rose magnificently to the challenges of 2020, learning lessons themselves along the way. Looking forward to 2021, we can expect to see more changes ahead. While 2020 was a year that saw us all keeping our heads above water and responding to events, 2021 is full of promise and potential for positive change as we continue on in the new normal.

During the pandemic, organizations saw workers take the initiative and work out the best way to work together and communicate digitally. With or without the support of L&D, many workers have had to upskill in a hurry to deliver services and communicate in different ways with each other and with customers. In the past, too many L&D professionals have not trusted workers to do this.

However, the experience of the pandemic has shown that if organizations give their people the opportunity and tools to learn, they will use these for the benefit of themselves and the organization. The coming year will give us the chance to do that and reap the rewards.

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Influencing factors on workforce training

Spontaneously, in response to the challenges of the pandemic crisis, employees have begun to build the learning culture that has long been the ambition of L&D leaders. 2021 is a time to build on that, not least to prepare for a continuing period of disruption to our old normal.

In the Deloitte 2021 Global Human Capital Trends survey (published December 2020), executives chose “the ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles” as the biggest factor in being able to navigate future disruptions, with 72% selecting it as the most important or second most important factor.

Almost half (41%) of executives said that “building workforce capability through upskilling, reskilling, and mobility is one of the most important actions they are taking to transform work. Yet only 17% say their workers are very ready to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles”. 2021 workforce training programs can close that gap and create a flexible workforce ready for anything.

Here are some of the most important corporate training trends will drive a bright future for training and development in the workplace:

virtual corporate training session

The three corporate training trends for 2021

1. Intelligent technology

We’ve been talking about artificial intelligence for a long time but we are optimistic that 2021 will be the year when HR professionals put AI at the heart of learning delivery. AI supports the high level of personalization that really makes learning stick. Using individual learner data, intelligent software can work out how, when and where individual learners prefer to learn. One learner might prefer to access video learning content on a mobile in the evening. Another may prefer to tap into some written learning content to help them carry out a task they are struggling with as they work.

Language learning is very individual. At Speexx, we use AI to recognize individual learners’ voices and help them get their pronunciation right when they are learning a foreign language. AI can also spot when someone is disengaging with learning and identify just the right time and the right activity to get them interested again.

2. Digital training and remote learning

Corporate training became digital by default in 2020, providing a springboard to revolutionize training delivery and content in 2021. Digital learning is just about individual learners accessing digital learning modules. The most effective learning, especially learning language and communication skills, is social. Groups of learners can meet in live virtual classrooms – and in smaller break-out groups with other learners at their level. Digital learning also encompasses virtual instructor-led training programs – and one-to-one video mentoring sessions with human or, in future, AI, mentors.

3. Measuring the value of corporate training programs and L&D

At the Speexx Exchange conference in December 2020, digital learning expert, international analyst and Towards Maturity founder Laura Overton highlighted that most HR professionals still measure the success of corporate training through test results, completion rates and even how much money digital learning saves the company compared with traditional classroom delivery.

Instead, in her view, the focus should be on how much the learning has contributed to improving how learners carry out their everyday tasks – and how much the learning drives innovation and business value. That can only happen when individuals in the organization, rather than being viewed as recipients of or participants in learning, are instead connected contributors to the learning process, sharing knowledge within the organization.

empowered woman attending corporate training

The future of corporate training for the modern workforce

The day-to-day work of HR and learning professionals will evolve in 2021 as we respond to these trends, focusing on the real value coming from intelligent virtual learning. Life in L&D departments will feel very different as more organizations make the transition from face-to-face to digital training, and from top-down learning delivery towards learners taking responsibility for their own learning.

Many routine tasks – organizing trainers, creating training plans and administrating classroom training – will become obsolete, freeing up learning professionals to do more interesting and rewarding things.

In its 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report, Deloitte says,

“If the past year has shown us anything, it’s that putting people at the heart of an organization’s decisions about work and the workforce pays off in the ability to better stay ahead of disruption.”

Autonomy is set to be the buzzword of the coming year. Trust your employees to drive their own learning, giving them the tools to do that effectively and corporate training programs will deliver provable value. Workers will feel more engaged and purposeful. As 2021 dawns, across the globe there is hope for better times ahead. There is renewed focus on people and their quality of life and work. HR and training professionals stand ready to lead the transformation to a more human-focused way of working.

To find out more about corporate training trends and how to successfully move your traditional training to digital, be sure to get in touch with our digital transformation experts here at Speexx