In a post-COVID world, organizations have adapted to new workplace challenges – many around how to manage a remote workforce. Perhaps no department met tougher challenges than corporate learning and development (L&D) teams.
L&D teams were tasked with implementing new remote onboarding and training programs, monitoring team member productivity and performance for virtual teams, and identifying cutting-edge, unproven digital processes and software tools to facilitate and support a high-performing, hybrid workplace.
After largely succeeding in adapting to the new ‘Zoom’ era of work, L&D professionals are valued more than ever before across enterprise companies. Moreso, c-suite leadership has taken notice of the success of many of these new, innovative L&D strategies that HR departments implemented have been – and wants to continue this digital transformation in 2022, driven by L&D leaders.
With more organizations investing in their L&D department and programs, here are eight learning and development trends to keep your eye on in 2022:
With digital transformation comes the need for reskilling your existing workforce on how to use new digital processes and tools. It also means many traditional types of jobs that can be automated, will be automated – meaning certain jobs will become obsolete. That brings opportunities as well – as new jobs will emerge as new needs become more clear (ie. think AI professionals.)
In addition to organization-wide reskilling is a new focus on continuous upskilling. Upskilling can be in the form of leadership training, with many organizations aiming to promote from within. Upskilling has become easier for the corporate world with the emergence of online eLearning courses from new professional learning platforms such as Udemy and LinkedIn Learning. L&D teams can also incentivize internal workforces to develop new skills by offering time off, monetary incentives, or other awards for completing these upskill and reskilling courses.
Above: The wide variety of learning & development courses offered on LinkedIn Learning.
Outside of general reskilling for learning new skills brought on by the digital transformation of outdated processes, other types of upskilling that can be done through online learning courses may include:
With the rise of eLearning has come the need for corporate L&D teams to continuously create, monitor, and update their learning content. A trend to watch in 2022 is repurposing existing training content into multimodal learning content – ie. the same L&D course content being reformatted across video, audio, reading, and visual content.
With modern learning management systems (LMS) and employee training software platforms, it’s much easier for L&D professionals to automatically create multiple types of new training and development content from one core piece of training content – without the need to spend time to repurpose it manually into different content formats.
Digital transformation is a core theme across the L&D trends we’ve covered – and it continues to be with in-app experiences. In-app experiences allow L&D teams to create learning, onboarding, training, and overall support content embedded directly inside the digital tools their workforce is using.
This type of L&D and support content allows employees to learn in the flow of work, at the exact moment of need, without leaving their digital tools. This type of learning empowers employees with the right support content at the right time, is more engaging and interactive, cuts down overall training and onboarding time, improves the productivity of workers.
Examples of L&D in-app experiences include:
Whatfix empowers your users with contextual flows and self-help widgets, improving productivity and proficiency while cutting training and support costs.
Similar to in-app experiences is the rise of learning in the moment of need. This type of learning experience is much more effective than traditional training, as it provides employees with support content in the flow of work. This allows workforces to become more productive, as instead of spending dedicated time on “what-if” training and development, they’re learning with real-life experiences – in the flow of their daily work.
This type of learning has been shown to retain more knowledge than traditional types of learning, as it has more importance, is interactive, and allows learners to connect the dots between the answer they’re being given and the problem at hand – as they’ve experienced the issue first hand.
Above: Example of learning how to set up and get started using Salesforce with Whatfix’s in-app guidance.
Microlearning is the act of breaking up L&D course content into small, bite-sized chunks of learning that typically last less than 5 minutes. Research has shown that microlearning can improve knowledge retention by as much as 80%, while also improving engagement of learners by 50%.
Microlearning is a way for L&D teams to get creative with their learning content – and can take the form of in-app tooltips or walkthroughs, short videos, daily tasks, and more. This type of content is also easier to repurpose and refresh, and L&D teams can incentivize the completion of microlearning content by gamifying employee education and training tasks.
Knowledge management is the concept of creating, curating, organizing, and sharing important organizational knowledge for employees to access and find important information. In short, it connects employees to the right resources for any internal questions they may have.
A successful knowledge management (KM) strategy starts with companies creating process documentation, ie. detailed step-by-step instructions on how to do different internal processes. The next step in this journey is to organize this content into an easy-to-search internal knowledge base such as an internal wiki. Without these content-storing platforms, internal knowledge becomes cluttered across internal Google Drives, PPTs, or is passed between employees through word-of-mouth.
Above: Example of a self-help widget embedded in Salesforce using Whatfix
In a distributed workforce, the need for a KM strategy has never been more important. Many organizations are now hiring dedicated knowledge managers inside their L&D or HR teams to lead a KM initiative. The benefits range from a more productive workforce, better employee training and onboarding, and easier knowledge transfer in the event of losing an employee to another company or key leadership retirements.
With nearly all work processes and training now done digitally, L&D teams should begin to collect data across different factors of their employee training and development strategy. The different types of data that can be collected allows L&D teams to:
Another trend for L&D teams is creating a better feedback loop between individual employees and the L&D team. Those employees going through learning content are the ones who have the most relevant input on what improvements should or could be made to learning tracks at an organization. However traditional team member feedback has been difficult to get.
With real-time employee feedback, L&D teams can ask learners for their feedback in short NPS surveys or more in-depth long-form answer surveys – directly after or in an employee training course. Learning through in-app experiences, with knowledge bases, or while learning in the moment of need all present unique opportunities for L&D teams to build in simple, short questions that pull vital data on the impact and helpfulness of their training and support content. Look for L&D teams to continue to bridge the gap between their workforce and themselves in 2022.
Above: Example of gathering real-time feedback on your employee training content with Whatfix.
Looking forward to 2022 – and beyond – L&D teams will be at the forefront of adapting to change. These teams will be tasked with upskilling, reskilling, and developing employees to meeting the everchanging normal of the corporate world.