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

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

On the national front, the Union Budget 2020 has been presented giving an impetus to a few sectors like manufacturing, IT and Technology, infrastructure and logistics. The new budget sets focus on schemes like local manufacturing of mobile phones, electronic equipment and semiconductor packaging; building Data Centre Parks throughout the country; introducing a single window e-logistics market. Additionally, a budget of INR 6000 crore is allocated for project BharatNet, a highly scalable 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 increased interest and trust in HR technology and analytics across the industries, the rising importance of skills development, and a future-proof return for these investments. However, sluggish economy usually results in a decline in hiring. And, the role of L&D in processes like onboarding may take a back seat, while others like on-the-job up-skilling and re-skilling become a priority. With this shift in focus, L&D sets priority on providing in-house learning facilities to prevent bottleneck on skills and talent across the organization.

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

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

  • User-Generated Content (UGC)

For L&D, user-generated content or UGC can be any representation of information like an article, a blog, a video, or an infographic, created by a learner in his area of expertise, which can be curated further as training content. When added with an element of reward, UGC can be very useful in fostering a culture of learning and increasing employee engagement while creating a highly relevant and updated knowledge repository. Relatedly, a Learning Management System (LMS) can be useful as a learners’ tool to host and actively share UGC with one another and gain 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 rewarding in its effect. It involves examining the requirements of each role in detail and mapping that to the present and desired skills level of the individual in that role, as well as the manager’s expectations to create focused training and addressing the real skill gap issues. An LMS geared with artificial intelligence (AI) capability can automate the process, monitor and measure results, and come up with precise recommendations to create a tailored learning path. Role-based training programs brace high performers for advancement, save training cost by giving high returns on investment (ROI), and certainly improve engagement.

  • Just-in-time learning & Microlearning

Leveraging the famous Toyota Production System concept, JIT Learning refers to individual or organizational learning according to the location and time they need it. This eLearning is bite-sized, just like microlearning, and with added predictive power of AI and Machine Learning (ML), they both make for highly agile learning resources. Short units of learning like these are easy to access and retain, especially microlearning, which can break down a lengthy and complex module into small chunks of meaningful yet inter-related topics. These trends will go a long way towards fulfilling immediate learning needs and increase employee engagement.

  • Data Literacy

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

Take Away

In short, 2020 is the year mired with uncertainties and opportunities, in quite uneven proportions, and within this environment L&D has to creatively shift gear from providing enterprise learning 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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