5 Trends in Corporate Learning and Development

9 min read

A staggering 86% of employees say that training is important to them—especially with the shift in how we work, according to a recent survey conducted by SurveyMonkey

Employers have seen the effects of the new economy and realized that their old corporate learning and development programs are no longer working. And with the help of new technologies, digital coaching, and innovative platforms, companies are incorporating various methods to advance their L&D and ensure that their employees are set up for success in their learning journey.

Let’s examine five trends changing corporate learning and development, and how you can incorporate them into your own L&D strategy.

Investment in Digital Upskilling and Reskilling Grows

The way we work has significantly changed in the past two years as companies shift their focus, services, and methods in light of COVID-19. With new work models such as hybrid and remote work, employees and employers aren’t operating the way they would solely with in-person employees. 

When working with international employees, employees and employers can be working in different locations and time zones. Some even work with language barriers. So when creating an effective program that emphasizes upskilling and reskilling, employers must consider all of these factors and turn in a digital direction.

This digital shift creates an agile learning environment—one step closer to creating an agile workforce. Training systems like LinkedIn Learning to help employees easily and quickly learn new skills and gain certifications that can help with their job performance and team efficiency.  

Digital learning platforms have been vital to improving company L&D programs. Responding to the increased demand, they have expanded their offerings and courses with the assistance of industry experts and university professors who want to help professionals obtain the skills they need for their jobs. 

Some employers also offer benefits/incentives for continuous learning. For example, these benefits can include paying for the courses if they aren’t free, carving out time in each employee’s work schedule to complete courses or a course completion bonus. 

Microlearning Programs Become More Sophisticated

Microlearning is a method where short content segments are distributed to learners to study on their schedules without sitting through hours of courses. 

It is an excellent method to adopt or develop concise programs that help employees understand what needs to be learned or improved without the unnecessary jargon that can cause learners and employees to check out mentally. Microlearning also enhances engagement and can positively impact retention by up to 80%.

While it is not a new practice, microlearning is an easy program to implement into the evolving workforce. It can come in a variety of formats such as:

  • Five to ten-minute videos on the content. Explainer videos, mini-lectures, etc.
  • Short quizzes. Based on the short videos or guides
  • Infographics. Geographic, comparison, statistical, etc.
  • Social media channels. Creating polls or trivia on platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter, etc.
  • Guides. One-pagers that cover the critical points of the content. 

These formats are simple and easy to make. Employees can file these materials in their personal files and documents to reference whenever a refresher or an objective perspective on a project or situation is necessary.

Demand for Personalized Learning Increases

A generalized learning program is not beneficial to the specific needs of your business or the development of your employees. Employees are now exploring new roles and new areas of interest, so offering what they actually want to learn helps create a better, personalized experience.

With advancements in technology such as AI and machine learning, employers and employees can identify skills that need improvement or that they need to shift their careers, providing individualized content to help them through the learning process. These personalized learning programs can ultimately improve overall employee performance, engagement and retention.

Personalized learning programs are great for all employees, especially those in a remote structure. Remote workers tend to work a little longer into the day. At times, they can have larger workloads, so developing a personalized learning plan or corporate coaching sessions that work with their schedules makes the overall process more appealing to employees.

Examples of personalized learning include one-on-one mentoring, an online platform or dashboard tracking employee progress and courses, and guides and materials specific to what employees are currently learning.

Soft Skills Training Evolves for the Hybrid Workforce

Remote work doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon as more and more companies opt to keep a fully-remote structure in place or create a hybrid model. While remote work has been a huge plus for many professionals who want the flexibility, it’s also forced many to re-evaluate their basic soft skills.

The way employees and employers connect with other professionals has significantly changed with more online events and workshops. How we maintain these inter-office relationships and office politics isn’t the same in the virtual world as it is face-to-face. 

Online networking requires more intentionality and dedicated time building relationships to create a better work environment and culture. 

A few popular areas of soft skills training include:

  • Communication training. Help employees to listen and articulate their thoughts actively.
  • Time management training. Being home can provide more distraction, so employees learning how to manage their time may need help with their performance and productivity.
  • Positivity training. Leading with a positive attitude sets up a better work environment.
  • Presentation training. No matter your industry, presenting your ideas concisely, confidently, and persuasively helps employees stand out.

While these are just a few examples of how to redefine soft skills for employees, it’s essential to communicate with them to determine where they are and develop these training and programs to meet them where they are and assist in their growth.

Gamification of Learning Programs Becomes the Norm

Interactive learning is the future of L&D. Gamification learning programs incorporate the content learners need while creating a fun, engaging learning process where participants are more likely to retain the information provided.

Research has shown that 90% of employees share that gamification learning has made them more productive at work while increasing the employee experience by an average of 60%. The interactive elements within an employer’s L&D motivate employees to work harder while also expanding the company’s overall productivity. For most employers, creating an incentive program around their L&D also contributes to an employee’s participation in their learning and development programs.

Employers can get really creative with implementing these programs. Some examples of gamification learning can include creating points-based trivia and quizzes where employees can earn points when they reach a minimum score or creating a trophy/badge system every time an employee completes a course. 

Another example might be making an incentive program—such as a free lunch or dinner—on the company’s dime. There are several ways employers can benefit from gamification learning and why it’s increasingly popular amongst both businesses and employees.

These are just a few of the trends we have seen within the workforce regarding corporate learning and development. These trends will likely continue to evolve as our workforce transforms into a new normal, and it is up to employers to adapt to the needs of their employees as a part of their business.

By turning to corporate coaching, companies can ensure that they stay on top of corporate learning and development trends—creating the best possible learning programs for their workforce.

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