6 Learning and Development Trends To Follow in 2021

All of us can agree that 2020 was utterly crazy. Most organizations had to resort to remote working facilities with the ongoing pandemic. 2021 has not been much different. The pandemic has forced us to change the way we work, communicate, and learn. Obviously, the learning and development trends in 2021 will be highly influenced by these changes.

It is not as easy as asking an expert for HR assignment help and be done with it. If you are willing to adopt a learning and development (L&D) technology for your organization, you need to first educate yourself about these trends. This will help you find the right technology to support organizational performance and take a more strategic role in training development.

Here are the major L&D trends that have gained a lot of momentum in 2021.

More focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion training:

With the widespread social unrest, particularly in the US, organizations have started putting more attention towards diversity training. As compliance with social and governance initiatives have become compulsory from the investors, executive suit, and the board of directions, diversity training will continue getting traction across various organizations – small, medium and large.

If the organizations already have their dedicated L&D teams, they will need to identify the best way to deliver the diversity training in effective and up-to-date best practices. As it appears, diversity training needs to go beyond the standards of appropriate outward conduct and address issues such as unconscious bias.

Use of AI in talent development, particularly for leadership coaching:

AI has been used for training purposes for the past few years now. However, this time, AI is expected to get more intelligent. It will decide who is ready for leadership training. AI technology has been slowly creeping into the learning technology stack while using smart assessments and recommendation engines.

The results that organizations have received to date are quite promising, which indicates that it is going to be an upcoming L&D trend. It will employ L&D while profiling learners based on their skills and knowledge. It will also assist with identifying future leaders in the organization and retaining them for further talent development.

Making new virtual experiences engaging:

Instructor-led training (ILT) has gradually shifted from offline to online over the past few years. Up until last year, there was still a massive reliance on in-person training across different industries and organization sizes. However, due to the pandemic, the transition from offline to online training has accelerated significantly. But now that things have settled, training teams are turning their attention to making sure virtual sessions are just as engaging as offline, in-person training.

Irrespective of how the ILT sessions are being conducted, the speed at which this had been done in the last year had made the quality suffer. It is evident that the key learning and development trends in 2021 will focus on newly converted online training and virtual classroom environments to ensure that the learning experience remains effective.

The upskilling and reskilling will still be in focus:

LinkedIn’s study highlighted that upskilling leads to reskilling 51% to 43% in terms of effectively rolled out programs in 2020. So it only makes sense that the trend will continue gaining momentum this year. Upskilling refers to learning new skills for the same job function. In the current context, it can mean doing the same job but now remotely using different tools.

Last year’s rapid shift to remote work has already forced the first major round of upskilling on both learners and trainers. By 2021, both upskilling and reskilling programs will continue to address these issues while also facilitating necessary training that gives organizations a competitive edge in increasingly dynamic business conditions.

Making most out of resources:

If you have been following the HRM technology closely, you must have noticed that it has shifted rapidly in recent years. Now that learning and development have the necessary resources to engage learners with ever more sophisticated digital experiences, this year’s focus will be on the systems of productivity.

This trend is most likely to gain more traction as teams across the organization, including L&D, deal with budget freezes, redundancies, and cuts. Learning technology needs to increasingly focus on offering solutions to make training teams digital, agile, and efficient.

L&D as learning consultants for business partners:

The dilemma of what skills to build or what courses to develop is common for most learning professionals who take their lead from business partners. Working with business partners to identify exactly what is needed on an organizational level should improve performance and make an impact.

However, L&D usually has an automatic reaction to training requests, especially when the instructions come from upper management. Therefore, one should instinctively start working on the requested training. But when it comes to making a positive impact, it is important to challenge those requests and work as a consultant to business partners to set up the essential organizational training.

In 2021, L&D is expected to receive more attention as it finds ways to act as internal consultants on learning and training needs. As L&D carves out this role more definitely, it will have the opportunity to establish its role as crucial strategic influencers.

Final thoughts

Irrespective of what L&D trends come your way, the key is for learning and development to stay agile and remain adaptable. If you are in the L&D department, you need to understand that change is inevitable and often unexpected. What matters is how you embrace the change and identify the opportunity within it.