As we look forward to 2021 we can predict that the training environment will still look very different. Often a forced change like what has come with COVID makes us rethink the way we have been doing things and opens up new possibilities and opportunities. As we will continue to see more flexible working policies next year we will also continue to see more virtual learning. But COVID has impacted L&D in other ways too, here are the top 7 ways we expect training to shift in 2021.
1. A combination of virtual and face to face training
Being forced to do training online has helped us to see how effective it can be. We have transferred face to face courses online and developed new courses to help
organisations as they transition through COVID challenges. What we see in those training are high engagement and positive learning outcomes. Through break out rooms, focussed discussion topics and engaging exercises the attendees can collaborate and connect with each other and produce meaningful outputs. As helpful as virtual training has been there are of course things missed from face to face sessions. The opportunity to connect over coffee, helpful side discussions and practical activities are all missing from virtual training. Certain programmes like team interventions, emotional intelligence and some parts of leadership development absolutely need to be conducted face to face. In 2021 as the COVID crisis hopefully dissipates we will be able to combine virtual and face to face training to give maximum benefit and convenience for the attendees.
2. Increase in Leadership Development
Leaders response has been critical during the COVID crisis and this year has shown up gaps in some leaders able to navigate challenging situations and lead effectively through the resulting changes. In 2021 we expect organisations to put more investment into upskilling middle and senior leaders. Where we have already seen demand in this area and where we expect it to continue is in areas of communication, leading through change and culture transformation. Leaders need to adapt and plan what their business looks like in a post COVID world. 2021 has practically been an entire decade in one year in terms of its impact on organisations and the way we work. Leaders that don't acknowledge that will be left behind the curve and will find they are less appealing places for employees to work.
3. More Team Focussed Training
As teams have been dispersed in 2020 communication, collaboration and team morale has been harder to maintain. We are seeing increased demand for team focussed training and interventions to help managers and team members navigate the new ways of working. In 2021 we expect this to continue, managers need to adopt new ways of working and find ways to engage their teams during the uncertainty and distance. Team members need to take more accountability and initiative on work, communications and building relationships. This is more challenging but critically important as some people continue to work flexibly next year.
4. More multi-country learning collaboration
One benefit of conducting virtual training has been the ability to connect with colleagues who are based in different regions. We see this as a huge advantage and something that will continue in 2021. Connecting with employees in different countries brings different perspectives, solutions and approaches that may not have been tried elsewhere. We have seen great collaboration happening during training with ideas being transferred from one region to another.
5. Increased use of technology platforms
For us, before COVID all of our training were face to face and that is where a lot of our attendee interactions, follow-ups, check ins and organisation happened. With a
move to virtual training and a transition from 1-2 days in the classroom to a more prolonged training interaction, we needed to provide a better way of staying in touch with attendees, keeping track of actions and sending information. In 2021 for our longer training programmes we will be offering the option of using our LMS platform for the training or supporting you with putting a learning journey on your own LMS. This will increase training engagement, visibility of activity and ease of use for the training attendees.
6. Shorter, more frequent training sessions
Virtual training allows us to run shorter more bite-sized training without inconveniencing the attendee. We can run workshops between 90 mins - 3 hours that allow us to focus on one topic area at a time and then engage the attendees after with learning follows ups and activities. This model has proved effective for learning engagement and retention and is popular with attendees who don't need to book a full day or 2 days out of the office at once.