L&D 2020: Are we doing enough?


Surely, like a personal growthagenda that is reassessed and reset with the onset of every new year, L&D professionalsare also on the lookout for latest trends and techniques that are not only afad, but also add tangible value to the system. Especially, when the overalleconomic condition is not very encouraging, these trends usually bring on a newwave of hope and greater avenues of learning and corporate growth.

Globally, year 2020 began with justa tad of optimism in the world economic prospects as per areport by the World Bank on the global economic outlook. There is still ahint of tension within the global economic and financial landscape, possiblyowing to several factors like growing trade tensions, political uncertainties, overalllow rate of productivity, and recently, a disrupting impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

On the national front, the Union Budget2020 has been presented giving an impetus to a few sectors likemanufacturing, IT and Technology, infrastructure and logistics. The new budget setsfocus on schemes like local manufacturing of mobile phones, electronicequipment and semiconductor packaging; building Data Centre Parks throughoutthe country; introducing a single window e-logistics market. Additionally, a budgetof INR 6000 crore is allocated for project BharatNet, a highlyscalable telecom infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis.

With the first quarter of 2020 about to end, coupled with loads of predictions and assumptions from the corporate standpoint, L&D pros continue to look for the best possible path to tread in this current economic uncertainty. It is completely surprising to learn from a Gartner report that if current economic conditions are here to stay , HR leaders claim they will try to protect three sub functional budgets in particular — HR technology, HR analytics, and learning and development (L&D).

The general sentiments show an increasedinterest and trust in HR technology and analytics across the industries, therising importance of skills development, and a future-proof return for these investments.However, sluggish economy usually results in a decline in hiring. And, the roleof L&D in processes like onboarding may take a back seat, while others likeon-the-job up-skilling and re-skilling become a priority. With this shift infocus, L&D sets priority on providing in-house learning facilities to preventbottleneck on skills and talent across the organization.

From the domestic perspective, talentacquisition and development in the wake of growth in any industry becomes oneof the most critical factors to achieve the set goals. With the purse stringstight and high goals in sight, prudence should be the keyword in L&D.

Here is a list of some of the collectiveL&D trends in 2020 to look out for-

  • User-Generated Content (UGC)

For L&D, user-generated content or UGC can be anyrepresentation of information like an article, a blog, a video, or aninfographic, created by a learner in his area of expertise,which can be curated further as training content. When addedwith an element of reward, UGC can be very useful in fostering a culture oflearning and increasing employee engagement while creating a highly relevant andupdated knowledge repository. Relatedly, a Learning Management System (LMS) canbe useful as a learners’ tool to host and actively share UGC with one another andgain valuable feedback.

  • Role-based Learning

For L&D, creating a learning path for every role,personalized to the core, is easier said than done, but is the most rewardingin its effect. It involves examining the requirements of each role in detailand mapping that to the present and desired skills level of the individual inthat role, as well as the manager’s expectations to create focused training andaddressing the real skill gap issues. An LMS geared with artificial intelligence (AI) capability can automate the process, monitor and measureresults, and come up with precise recommendations to create a tailored learningpath. Role-based training programs brace high performers foradvancement, save training cost by giving high returns on investment (ROI), andcertainly improve engagement.

  • Just-in-time learning & Microlearning

Leveraging thefamous Toyota Production System concept, JIT Learning refers to individual ororganizational learning according to the location and time they need it. ThiseLearning is bite-sized, just like microlearning, and with added predictivepower of AI and Machine Learning (ML), they both make for highly agile learningresources. Short units of learning like these are easy to access and retain,especially microlearning, which can break down a lengthy and complex moduleinto small chunks of meaningful yet inter-related topics. These trends will goa long way towards fulfilling immediate learning needs and increase employeeengagement.

  • Data Literacy

Data literacy has gained a major foothold in the enterpriseL&D due to a number of reasons. For the explanation, data literacy refersto an ability to read, work with, analyze, understand, and even argue withdata. In L&D, Data literacy has gained weightage in recent times due to prevalentonline learning which uses and generates tons of data. Being Data literate, onecan comprehend insightful intelligence from this data to guide businessdecisions towards low risk and high opportunity zone. It can further guideL&D to evaluate, advance and validate the ROI of their training programs.


In short, 2020 is the year mired withuncertainties and opportunities, in quite uneven proportions, and within thisenvironment L&D has to creatively shift gear from providing enterpriselearning as an additional activity to a culture that is relevant,self-motivated and beneficial to the needs of employees as well as the business.

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