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    The Top Learning & Development Priorities for 2022

    We are living through disruptive times, where the pace of social, technological, economic, political, environmental, and demographic changes shows no sign of slowing in 2022. This creates an urgent need for organizations and individuals to keep up to date with the latest trends if they don't want to become rapidly obsolete.

    In terms of business continuity and resilience, for L&D teams this means one thing: They must make a pause, analyze the current situation with an open mind and start adopting the latest trends in their industry without fear or worry. The actions leaders make today will define which doors are open to them tomorrow.

    To take corporate learning experiences to the next level this new year, L&D leaders must start asking themselves some key questions:

    • Are your company's training plans aligned with the new context we are now living in? 
    • Is your company making reskilling and upskilling a priority?
    • Can your current training models attract new generations of workers?
    • How can you reposition and renew your existing programs?
    • Are your current training strategies agile enough to withstand future waves of disruption?
    • How can you promote transformation and prepare your talent for the future?
    • What old mindsets, operating models, and assumptions should you eliminate?

    Which training and development approaches will be the most successful in 2022? What strategies should be prioritized by L&D leaders? Here we offer our valuable insights, based on our research and expertise in the industry:

    1) Focus On Ongoing Skills Development is Key

    The World Economic Forum predicts that over the next four years we will see 85 million jobs displaced and 97 million new jobs. Many of those new roles will require completely new skills from your employees. This means that in order to thrive, organizations will need to focus on continuous skills development.

    According to the 2021 LinkedIn Learning Report, 59% of Learning and Development professionals said upskilling and reskilling are a top priority in 2021; this is equivalent to a 15% increase since June 2020. However, Covid-19 has rapidly accelerated the need to acquire new skills. Business leaders are feeling the pressure to reinforce these strategies even more. Six out of ten leaders say that between the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, their need to acquire new skills has accelerated.

    Skills development goes hand in hand with lifelong learning. In this new environment, training, work, and reskilling are no longer linear, but rather occur in a cyclical model of constant reinvention. More and more professionals will want to work for companies that invest in their development and help them become more “employable”... and on the contrary, they will leave or not consider working at those that seem to not prioritize this issue.

    Must read: How to Identify Skill Gaps in Your Company? A 5-Step Process

    Also read: How to Turn Your Employees into Lifelong Learners

     

    2)Adopt Personalized and Adaptive Learning Experiences

    Traditionally, corporate learning experiences have been designed with a “static”, “linear” and “one size fits all” approach. However, modern learners are now expecting modern and personalized experiences... just the way they stream movies and listen to music. Your workers want to learn at their own pace and, from time to time, they may need additional support to review the content at the point of need, as often as necessary. That's why it's essential to provide micro, mobile, personalized, and just-in-time experiences.

    After years of having this issue on the table, organizations are now finally taking action. According to a report by Deloitte on the future of learning, 11% of organizations identify personalized learning design as their top priority, while nearly 44 percent of organizations place it among their top two priorities.

    In simple terms: learning creates value, as it helps workers and organizations anticipate and respond with agility to changes. However, to offer REAL value, L&D leaders must know their audiences. Therefore, by 2022 it is a priority not only to design personalized learning experiences but also to implement the right technologies and strategies that enable leaders to get to know their students/employees thoroughly. By constantly analyzing each employee's performance in real-time and offering individualized learning pathways, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning, employee satisfaction will increase drastically.

    Fortunately, today we have multiple options technological options available to capture and quickly analyze key information. Here at SHIFT, after working with different large companies throughout our 20-year journey, our team has discovered that when training activities are intrinsically linked to the objectives and needs of a certain audience, self-directed learning habits arise naturally, without having to resort to extrinsic motivation or force training. Whatever the preferences and goals of your employees, it is essential that you, as a leader, really get to know them (their patterns, interests, goals, frustrations) and understand where each of your employees is in their professional and company journey and strategize how you can help them get to the next step.

    Also read: Learner Experience Mapping: Building Personalized “Learner-centric” Experiences

     

    3)Expect a Rise in Your Online Training Budget

    The pandemic has changed business priorities dramatically. With the increase in remote workers, online training and development programs have become protagonists. After several fluctuations during 2020, training budgets have finally start increasing in 2021 and will probably continue to increase next year.

    Among the results of the report published by the Statista Research Department, 79% of the companies surveyed said they have increased spending on eLearning at the expense of presence training. In line with these results, LinkedIn's Workplace Learning Report also showed that budgets for learning and development increased by 57 percent over the past year. 64% of respondents agreed that learning and development had gone from a pleasant option to an urgent need in 2021.

    In addition, we can say that not only is it important to increase training budgets, but to ensure that you have a strong eLearning strategy backed by management; this is imperative to continue thriving in 2022. According to the LinkedIn Learning Report mentioned above, when managers and leaders support learning, students are more engaged and programs have much more impact.

    Also read:

    10 Things Modern L&D Professionals Should Be Doing

    The New Rules for Bringing Innovation to eLearning Course Designs

     

    4)Pay Attention to Where Learning Happens - Encourage Learning in The Flow of Work

    Today learning can happen everywhere, anywhere, and in many different ways. According to the  70| 20 | 10 Model for Learning and Development, we can say that most experiences can be classified into three big categories:

    • Experiential: 70% of the knowledge is obtained from work-related experiences (work assignments, projects, etc.). 
    • Social: 20% happen through educational experiences where participants are involved in learning and are not just simple information passive “tourists” (interactions with others, such as co-workers and managers)
    • Formal: 10% happens through formal training experiences.

    This means Learning and Development professionals have at their disposal a wide combination of opportunities to generate an impactful and transformative learning experience.

    So in 2022, companies should encourage learning in the flow of work, intertwining the different learning styles. Offering workers informal, on-the-job training, coaching, and mentoring via interactions with subject-matter experts and colleagues and formal online training courses, where learners feel empowered and owners of their learning journey, driven by their day-to-day, on-the-job experiences.

    Learning as we work has many benefits both for employees and companies, for instance, it drives productivity and knowledge retention by providing learning at the point of need without detracting from our workload.

    A study by Towards Maturity shows that the organizations applying new models such as 70:20:10 are consistently reporting more benefits compared to those who are not.

    • They are at least: Four times more likely to respond faster to business change (30% vs. 7%)
    • Three times more likely to report improvements in staff motivation (27% vs. 8%)
    • Twice more likely to report improvements in customer satisfaction scores (42% vs. 18%)

    Employees today are ready and eager to learn continuously. However, many of them have the same challenges to make this possible: time constraints, lack of training options, and the preference to spend free time in other ways. Therefore, establishing a culture of lifelong learning, offering multiple learning opportunities, and creating a sense of urgency to keep updated should be a priority in 2022. Provide guidance to people on how and what to learn during and out of the working day. In a company with a positive learning culture, people are more committed to the three types of learning experiences mentioned above.

    .

    Recommended read: Redefining Your L&D Strategy In Disruptive Times: Enter Self-Directed Learning

     

    5) Measuring Online Training Effectiveness: Big Data & Learning Analytics Go Mainstream 

    How are you measuring the effectiveness of your online training programs? Understanding the number of people trained and calculating the cost per employee is a good first step. Defining completion rates is also important. However, they do not provide enough information as to whether the eLearning program translates into achieving the business goals, or if we are being able to maximize our training ROI.

    In this context, one of the major problems that remain unresolved is the measurement of the effectiveness of training and development activities. This is because the measurements used today are mainly based on post-training comments, satisfaction surveys, the number of trained persons, and other low-value indicators. To top it off, the number of companies using these indicators is increasing.

    Considering this situation, one of our predictions for next year is that L&D leaders will start paying more attention to measuring training effectiveness using big data and analytics. Companies will start identifying other more relevant KPIs (employee engagement, knowledge retention, and time to proficiency)  that will enable them to evaluate training more effectively.  

    On implementation of big data and analytics, leaders can leverage the basic reporting capabilities of their LMS and training software, and additionally, they can start searching for advanced apps that allow them to take this to the next level. Obtaining detailed reports with ease can help you track key insights and data points more quickly and efficiently. These reports often show data related to behavior patterns, user preferences, and friction areas that will give you a deeper understanding of why your online programs are not hitting the mark. 

    Training Industry lists in this article, great points on how to identify the right KPIs for your training programs.

    Recommended read: Big Data: What Is It, Why It Matters and How To Use It In eLearning

    6) Expect a Boost in Social Learning

    According to the latest report by LinkedIn Learning, social learning drives engagement in a big way: Students who use social features such as questions and answers or learning groups obtain up to 30 times more hours of learning content than those who don't. Also, 91% of L&D professionals said teams learning new skills via collaborative and peer-to-peer methodologies are more successful. An overwhelming majority also agreed that social learning helps build a sense of belonging in an organization.

    Also read: Successfully Apply Social Learning to Your Existing eLearning Programs


    The world has undergone many changes in a short time, and its effects are continuous and lasting. The way companies are training, hiring, and engaging their employees has also changed and will continue to evolve in 2022.

    These key trends are shaping the future of Learning and Development and forcing leaders to establish new priorities. Now that you know this, you have the opportunity to get on a train that goes at full speed and does not look back! 

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