April 2, 2020

Trends in workplace learning and the outlook for 2020

Today, companies must rethink their traditional approach to workplace learning to gain access to the skill required to succeed today and in the future. Here are key learning trends to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond.

The rules of work are being rewritten, and workplace learning has been on the rise over the last few years. Given the context of today’s world, workplace learning is even more critical for businesses as demand in certain industries – and even in certain branches of the business – is shifting. Industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and distribution need to ensure their entire workforce is properly trained on procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changing and uncertain environment is also requiring the need for businesses to transition employees to fill other roles. As well, businesses of all kinds will need to gain access to the right skill as they resume business activities after the health crisis.

While learning was once seen as an added workplace benefit for attracting talent or a checkbox item to meet basic compliance training, it is now a critical step in gaining access to the skill needed to succeed today and in the future. According to McKinsey, businesses can’t afford to put skill building on hold, even as they move rapidly to prioritize employee safety. Employers must focus on balancing priorities: protecting their employees’ health and well-being, reskilling and training the workforce to meet demand, while meeting the needs of a diverse workforce.  

Leveraging technology to deliver new learning experiences

In-person workplace learning has almost come to a complete halt. Roughly one-half of in-person learning programs through June 30, 2020, have been postponed or canceled in the U.S. and Canada, and in parts of Asia and Europe, the figure is closer to 100%. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a greater need to leverage technology for remote workplace learning. In fact, many organizations are considering migrating some existing in-person training programs to an all-digital format; however, this requires a fundamental rethinking of the learning experience. Here are the key workplace learning trends to adopt for 2020 and the years ahead.

Workplace learning trends for 2020 and beyond

1. Personalized

Employers are already moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to learning initiatives, instead implementing new models and technology platforms that offer up relevant content throughout the employee lifecycle.

Personalized learning platforms or Learning Experience Platforms help organizations create customized learning paths for each employee as this type of technology recommends modules to the learner based on their own unique context.

2. Tailored

Workplace learning experiences will need to be tailored to the varying preferences, expectations, and learning styles of all their learners. What works for one group of people might not work for another. For example, traditional training manuals and long-form content might make it difficult for some employees to retain what they’ve learned, while for others, it may be an ideal format.

Companies must provide a variety of learning experiences to suit the needs of a diverse workforce – from mobile learning solutions, to a Netflix-style training experience where they can easily access modules that are customized to their own needs.

3. Contextual

Organizations need to consider the methods of delivery and type of content they’re providing for their people to ensure material is effectively retained. In fact, if information isn’t applied within six days, we forget about 75% of it. Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends report states that learning is evolving to become more integrated with work and daily tasks. Contextual learning or microlearning will help employees learn from short bits of information and immediately apply their learnings to the project or task at hand. For example, short snippets of information or videos pushed from mobile phones can help employees learn in the context of their work.

4. Accessible

Gone are the days where employees must sit at a desktop and block off a large amount of time to learn a new skill or new material. The modern workforce is in different places at different times and now workforces are dispersed as some employees are working from home while essential workers may have to remain on-site. Employers can remove friction points in the learning process by helping people learn on their own time, anywhere they are. Mobile learning solutions will provide the workforce with greater access to their learning materials when they don’t have time to sit at a desktop. This means ensuring learning can still be done when employees don’t have access to internet using offline mode.

5. Employee-driven

Social learning methods are another impactful way employees can build knowledge and skills quickly through peer collaboration and coaching in an informal setting. This type of learning enables employees to share concepts and ideas on discussion boards, allowing them to directly reply to questions and read answers on specific topics. Social learning experiences via mobile will help employees build knowledge and skills through peer collaboration and coaching in an informal setting as employees feel ownership over the content. Additionally, this type of learning experience will help keep remote workforces engaged and connected to their colleagues.

6. Integrated

Companies will also need to focus on tying employee learning paths to performance management to illustrate clear career progression and encourage employees to drive their own development. Additionally, employees will be more likely to participate in training and reskilling initiatives if they see the investment in their own development.

Related: Engage and retain top talent by elevating your employee learning experience

Embedding learning into the employee experience

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up our business as usual routines, it has also presented businesses with opportunity to rethink their organizational preparedness plans and how they will gain access to the skill required to meet demand. Traditional ways of learning are simply not effective in the context of today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving landscape.

Businesses must implement an effective learning and development strategy to acquire necessary skills, and, importantly, to keep the workforce engaged during this uncertain time. Creating a culture of continuous and real-time learning should be a priority for organizations, spurring the need to update the traditional learning infrastructure to make learning part of the broader and on-going employee experience.

Learn how Dayforce Learning technology helps organizations build learning cultures or access the Learning Portal for resources on COVID-19 preparedness and spread prevention, managing remote teams, and workplace mental wellness. These resources are available free-of-charge to both Dayforce customers and prospects.

Britt Armour

Britt Armour is a content marketing specialist at Ceridian, where she writes about the HCM space, and how Dayforce is disrupting traditional HR solutions.  

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