Why delaying digital skills training is no longer an option

woman applying her digital skills training

Why should you consider reprioritizing digital skills training in your learning and training strategy?

The answer lies in the data.

In February this year, Speexx held a Masterclass Webinar with Donald Taylor discussing and analyzing the results from his annual L&D Global Sentiment Survey.

Each year, the L&D Global Sentiment Survey checks in with the L&D community worldwide. The format consists of a short online poll asking L&D professionals of various positions what they think will be trending in the following year.

More specifically, the question asks: “What will be hot in workplace L&D?”

Improve communication skills for your entire workforce with digital language training –  contact Speexx for more information

global sentiment survey 2021

Enhancing digital skills training is the new normal

With eight years of aggregated data, the information provided from this report is nothing short of fascinating.

As one would imagine, this year’s results differ greatly from prior years – in no small part due to the pandemic. In the webinar, Donald delves deep into the results and explains what they mean for our “new normal” in work and learning.

As expected, the report provides insightful data with an interesting forecast into the future. However, this year was one like no other.

In this article, we will share the areas of focus for the future of L&D uncovered by the survey and why enhancing the digital skills and skillset of our workforce is the best approach for the future of L&D.

Back to basics for the learning community

If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us is that we have to be aware of what’s happening outside the organization, so that we can adjust ourselves and be ready for what’s happening next.” – Donald H. Taylor

To kick off Donald’s presentation, one obvious anomaly which needed to be acknowledged was the effect that COVID-19 had on the results of the report.

With this information in mind, you can understand that when looking at the results, something is quite different than from years before.

For the first time ever, reskilling and upskilling were identified as “what was hot in L&D this coming year”, subsequently pushing down all other hot topics such as collaborative and social learning, artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality.

As Donald and the webinar participants dissected the results of the report from each angle, it became evident that COVID-19 has changed the way L&D views what may be considered “hot” this year, and possibly for years to come.

What’s more, the report had unexpectedly uncovered a deeper concern within the L&D community, forcing us to reevaluate how digital skills and digital skills training programs should be prioritized in learning.

how will covid affect 2021 slide

Digital skills training as a new priority

In the past few years, the L&D Global Sentiment Survey has taken a pulse check on the L&D community to discover what they think is “hot” and trending, allowing others to share and explore new innovative approaches to their learning strategy.

In short, what we’ve learned in the past years is that L&D, while sometimes hesitant to learning and training plans when it comes to making the switch from face-to-face to digital, had generally become interested in the idea of including more innovative technology into their learning programs to account for the growing demand for digital skills.

As we all know, integrating digital skills training practices into traditional learning programs to improve digital skillset was no longer going to be optional for those who wanted to keep L&D alive during the global pandemic.

Change in direction for L&D

As a result, the survey made certain to address this specific situation.

In the form of a free text answer, Donald asked,

“How will your learning and development work change as a result of COVID-19?”

Surprisingly, 44% of participants responded to this question with over 24,000 words to review. By using a word cloud, Donald was able to see which words dominated the space. By removing the words “learning” and “will”, the word cloud revealed a very interesting cluster of words highlighting the true direction in which L&D leaders believe their work will change as a result of COVID-19.

And you can see here in the above image, there is mention of:

  • Online delivery
  • Virtual learning and training
  • Digital skills training
  • Remote work

But there is another set of words which jumps out on the page. It is “focus”. Or rather, “focus on”.

What exactly will change with our focus in L&D going forward as a result of the global pandemic?

world cloud on digital skills training