Many organizations hoped that 2021 would mean the return to the office and a chance to reignite in-person training and learning opportunities. Not only did many organizations put off the office return indefinitely, but others also decided work-from-home would be their future. So, what does that mean for learning and development? At the start of each year, numerous articles were published to discuss the top trends to keep an eye on. Since 2021 hasn’t been the year we quite expected so far, let’s dig into a few of those trends and see where we are today.
“The Understated Power of Peer Learning”
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) rightly pointed out, “Peer learning (also known as peer-to-peer learning or collaborative learning) can be the most effective way to engage learners and deepen their knowledge around the training. Through discussion groups, peer coaching, or action learning groups, learners will hone their problem-solving skills as well as learn how to actively listen to diverse opinions and provide and receive constructive feedback—skills that are critical for success in the workplace.”
Peer learning in dispersed teams can be a challenge, though. Developing strategies around peer learning needs to look at both the culture (are people given the time during working hours?) and the technology (is it simple and accessible?). Establishing what works best for your teams can take a lot of exploration, but the investment in the right solution can be a game changer for retention and skill development.
“The Upskilling and Reskilling Revolution”
Growth Engineering took a look at the upskilling and reskilling revolution, saying, “Even before the global pandemic struck, reskilling and upskilling were a priority for many [organizations] who had identified current or expected skills gaps.” The pandemic accelerated the need to enhance those training capabilities. That same article from Growth Engineering noted, “For many, the transition to a virtual work environment has meant doing the same job remotely, but with new tools and new skill requirements. As such, reskilling and upskilling became an essential business requirement.”
Now that we’re nearing the end of 2021, what does upskilling and reskilling look like? Many industries have been disrupted, older Americans have been retiring in greater numbers, and hiring is more competitive than ever. Upskilling and reskilling gives organizations the opportunity to reinvest in the workforce and empower individuals in their growth. Again, this is where culture and technology meet. Having a team that focuses on learning and training, giving people space to grow, and adopting the right technology are keys to staying ahead of the curve.
“Corporate Learning Will Be an Everyday Thing”
Forbes was spot-on when they wrote, “There will also be a marked uptick in learning ‘on the job’ or ‘in the flow of work’ next year as more and more business leaders realize the significance of integrating learning into people’s everyday work as a means of developing applicable skills.” Through the pandemic, we’ve been reminded that our employees are multi-dimensional individuals who also have roles and responsibilities outside the workplace. So, training and learning can’t be one-dimensional.
A somewhat recent Blackboard whitepaper explored why informal training is more effective for the workforce. And, while it was written pre-pandemic, many of the lessons resonate in today’s work environment. “Learning that truly changes behavior and impacts job and business performance more frequently occurs informally—most often during teachable moments when employees have an urgent need for the knowledge required to successfully complete a task or perform their duties.” So how do you prepare for informal or everyday training? By both creating micro-courses focused on skills and knowledge aligned with your organization and creating a culture of peer learning.
What Has 2021 Taught Us So Far?
First off, the current environment isn’t exclusively a result of 2021. As we look back over the past nearly two years of the pandemic, this shift took what was originally a “mission statement” promise of putting people first and, essentially, codified it. Organizations that aren’t investing in their people and creating a culture of learning are much more likely to fall behind.
So, what has 2021 taught us so far? Organizations need to start building or strengthening their culture of learning. It’s not about perfection right out of the gate, but, rather, starting and demonstrating your commitment to training and learning.
Get Started Today
If you search online for “Learning Management Technology,” you’re going to observe a lot of results. Every organization has unique needs, so research is important in order to find the right fit. What Blackboard does best is flexibility, scalability, and security. For you, your team, and your organization, that means peace of mind.
Our technologies are designed for learners and course developers, alike. We already know peer learning is important, that’s why Blackboard designed integrative tools that are easy to use from any browser, without need to download any applications. Additionally, our core learning technology makes it easy for learners to take courses at their own pace and gives your organization insights into their progress and successes.
Ready to explore what Blackboard can offer your organization? Our team can’t wait to learn about your training and learning needs. Let’s talk!