Top 10 Learning and Development Trends for 2020

It’s an aptly numbered year—2020. Hindsight is 20/20. Perfect vision is 20/20. The New Year invites us to think of the months to come. Let’s consider predictions and trends for 2020 that may play out in the learning and development (L&D) field.

1. The demand for quantified L&D measures increases. Every other business department quantifies its success and value. Marketing, Finance, Production, Sales. Each shows measures of their work’s value. The days when an L&D team can skirt those measures are over. It’s not enough to point to the number of training hours or learning programs delivered. Business leaders demand verifiable outcomes because they want to know the measurable value from their learning teams.

2. Business leaders expect equal focus on hard and soft skills training. Every job has technical, task-related requirements, known as hard skills. They comprise the nuts-and-bolts knowledge required to do a specific job. However, many jobs center on service and communication. That makes soft skills increasingly important. Therefore, employees at all levels will require training in critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, and relationship management.

3. Instructional design training for L&D teams becomes a critical requirement. Many L&D teams are comprised of SMEs. That means they gained their skills on the job rather than from formal training. Subject matter experts are important. But if L&D is to become a data-driven enterprise, it’s not enough. SMEs must become equally adept at the professional techniques required to translate expertise into measurable, repeatable learning.

4. More learning leaders join the C suite. As L&D leaders quantify their professional competency, their bosses and peers more clearly see the vital role they play in the long-term health and success of a business. The Chief Learning Officer role soon will become as commonplace to the C suite as the CFO or CMO.

5. The modern job environment necessitates constant learning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the median employee tenure at a job is 4.2 years, while another study from BLS reveals that employees average 12.3 jobs in their working years. Consequently, this frequent churn requires that training becomes a vital part of the employee experience.

6. Learning becomes a must-have function for businesses of every size. Another outgrowth of short employee tenures and high job churn is that learning opportunities will be expected within companies of all sizes. Offering these opportunities will help companies attract and retain employees.

7. L&D teams respond to increased training needs by becoming more efficient. Doing more with less has been the marching order for L&D for at least a decade. Professional teams need to equip themselves to deliver foolproof, repeatable processes and procedures. This will give teams time to focus on what they do best—creating effective learning that can transform an organization.

8. “Butts in seats” mentality replaced by measurable learning. Hours spent in a classroom is a meaningless measure because classroom hours do not correlate to knowledge gain. L&D teams will provide far more meaningful data that can track to three levels of improvement—individual, classroom, and organizational.

9. L&D teams master data capture and analysis. Hand-in-hand with instructional design skills, L&D professionals will also need proficiency in capturing and analyzing data. Measurable data tracks changes in knowledge, skills, and behaviors. As a result of that tracking, L&D teams will gain knowledge to inform internal decisions and track training effectiveness. By understanding the impact of the learning product, L&D teams become equipped to create learning strategies that deliver on business goals.

10. Evidence-based learning becomes the L&D standard. Data will continue to play an important role in the professional competency of L&D teams. Therefore, providing evidence-based, outcome-driven learning programs will become the norm. Your L&D team will become highly proficient in creating measurable learning that tracks specifically to organizational improvements.

These are just a few trends for 2020. What trends do you see ahead? Let us know your trends for 2020 predictions in the comments. If your L&D team needs advice for the coming year, please contact us here at eParamus. We’re ready to help.

Please follow eParamus on LinkedIn and feel free to connect with me, Laura Paramoure, PhD to discuss your specific learning challenges.

Photo copyright: Pogonici / 123RF Stock Photo

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