7 Key Learning and Performance Industry Insights for 2021

2021 is the year of adaptability and flexibility in learning and development. Organizational learning ecosystems are being redefined to meet the demands arising from the influx of change the market has experienced. Learning and performance leaders have had to continually adjust to provide effective learning strategies for remote workers. With the increased demand for visibility into learners’ performance, new approaches on enabling and supporting the remote workforce will drive innovation ranging from analyzing learning metrics to designing engaging solutions that are reinforced by interactive technology.

The following are seven learning and performance industry insights for 2021 from the experts at KnowledgeWorks Global Learning.

Learning and Performance 2021Enhanced Virtual Learning Strategies

Organizations continue to be challenged to provide effective and retainable learning that is delivered virtually. Learner engagement remains critical to ensuring business success through workforce productivity. Therefore, applying experience design to learning solutions enables the human factor to be more prevalent and helps bridge the gaps in cognitive retention for learners.  The industry has witnessed the rise in this design approach to create transformative experiences. As organizations work through their ongoing virtual transformation, learning leaders are looking to embrace engaging solutions such as interactive video-based learning to develop an inclusive digital strategy. Revisiting a virtual learning strategy frequently will provide a fresh insight into what is working well and for adjusting approaches for improvement.

Workforce Skills Enablement

With the massive change in the way organizations do business over the last year, is there any wonder that Industry reports indicate that 50% of employees will need to be reskilled?  Traditional skills are becoming outdated and new skillsets are now required for organizations to be successful.  Upskilling is necessary for employees to adjust and stay current in the new digital workplace. Virtual onboarding for employees is also a top priority, ensuring knowledge is presented in an innovative setting to expedite the learning process. Many organizations are undergoing restructuring of employee roles to support business growth. Due to blended roles a considerable portion of jobs will require significant reskilling/upskilling over the next three years.  Advances in technology also are forcing upskilling and role redesigns to meet the demand of the new virtual landscape.

Learning’s Role in Change Management

Learning has now advanced to include change management as part of the day-to-day transformation.  Learning leaders now must have insight into organizational change coupled with the understating of employee development requirements. This positions them to work with the business and learners to better align goals and change initiatives. Adaptability and flexibility are the foundation of the role of learning leaders within an organization. With the foresight to see and manage the challenges of an uncertain virtual world, learning leaders will be imperative in organizations’ ability to survive and remain productive, connecting solutions for developing employee skills, increasing productivity, and reaching business goals.

 The Customer Experience (CX)

The challenges of how people learn are not just limited to employees. Customers’ expectations have evolved as it relates to training on products and services. With the increasing demand for online support, companies are revisiting their strategies for the Customer Experience (CX). What once was an in-person experience now is a virtual approach to providing the best knowledge in an interactive setting. With the business landscape continuing to change for remote buyers, so is market competition.  Learning leaders are tasked with creating engaging customer training that addresses gaps and produces a superior experience.  Immersive learning will also be more predominant in educating the customer this year.  Customer-facing technology used for learning is evolving to ensure training content is accessible and personalized.

Holistic Data Reporting and Learning Analytics

With the demand to improve visibility into Return on Performance (ROP), organizations are identifying ways to access richer data and to gain visibility into metrics.  In 2021, the demand by companies to increase their ROI by analyzing deeper data will surpass what the market has seen in the past. The focus on learners’ experiences will provide the foundation for organizations to enhance learning design to meet the skill gaps and improve the bottom line.  Machine learning will become utilized more as organizations strive to utilize new methods to analyze learning data. Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) and Experience API (xAPI) will emerge more readily as the learning leaders strive to improve visibility into predictive performance improvement.

Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence

The industry will see an increase in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in learning in 2021. As working from home continues, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) will be utilized more by organizations for learners to experience scenarios and business simulations which will increase productivity and better achieve business goals. According to Gartner, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI by the end of 2024. The usage of AI Chatbots, AI Instructors and virtual mentors will provide the additional performance support for remote learners. With the growing amount of data for business, the use of AI and Machine Learning can provide organizations greater capabilities into automation models which can analyze complex data, thus, returning accurate results more efficiently.

Immersive Solutions for Continuous Learning

To effectively improve employee performance, organizations will need to design interactive solutions that will engage remote learners successfully. eLearning will continue to be prevalent with MicroLearning interactives leading the way for retainable knowledge in accessible and engaging blended solutions.  Mobile learning continues to evolve with a focus on new design approaches that better align with virtual learning. As remote collaboration requirements grow for learners, so does the usage of social learning.  Due to accessible social learning platforms and communication applications, learners have more ability to interact with their global teams. Gamification has emerged in most all functions within an organization. From HR (onboarding) to IT skills development, game-based learning approaches will continue to emerge in all aspects of continuous learning.

To find out more about these trends and how KnowledgeWorks Global Learning can provide you the solutions to enhance your virtual learner engagement and ROI, please contact: Kelly.Lake@kwglobal.com