Surprising Findings on How Learning Organizations Are Moving Forward After the Turbulence of 2020

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As learning organizations began 2020 poised on the precipice of an auspicious future, everything came to a grinding halt in March 2020. Things turned out, quite unexpectedly, different than anyone imagined. Unable to rely on traditional learning and training, organizations had to pivot faster than ever before, and shift digital strategies into high gear. 

Now, more than a year later, learning organizations are taking a collective breath while determining what the “new” future will be for delivering content and programs with impact. 

A recent Brandon Hall Group survey conducted in partnership with Inkling through the end 2020, reveals that three-quarters of learning organizations say they believe their learning department or function has emerged stronger coming out of 2020. This along with shifting priorities and renewed focus on making learning agile demonstrates the lasting impact the past 12+ months will have on learning organizations going forward.

Surprising Findings on How Learning Organizations Are Moving Forward After the Turbulence of 2020

Forced Digital Learning Transformation 

The pandemic forced many learning organizations to put their plans for digital transformation front and center. Traditional, in-person learning had to move to a virtual environment. Learning leaders barrelled through roadblocks and bottlenecks to deliver content and training in real time, all the while adapting to day-to-day changes and communicating those to their employees. 

Managing change became the name of the game, and the “new normal” kept shifting. Budgets were impacted immediately while companies simultaneously needed to re-engineer how learning is delivered and the technologies it requires. 

Decentralized Learning Environment and Shifting Priorities

As companies fine tune return-to-work strategies, it remains clear that there will be more remote workers than there were before 2020. Before shelter-in-place orders were issued, only 15% of organizations reported that more than half of their workforce was remote. Once their return-to-work strategies roll out, that number is set to increase to 30%.

Surprising Findings on How Learning Organizations Are Moving Forward After the Turbulence of 2020

As learning organizations look beyond the pandemic, priorities have shifted. When asked about their specific L&D priorities for 2021, responses typically fell into one of several areas:

  • Increase investment in skills and competencies
  • Learning restructuring and alignment with the business
  • New types of content/content modernization
  • Improving the technology stack

Agile Learning is Critical for Recovery

Many learning leaders expressed a real fear about the  potential of slipping back to business as usual. At the same time, they are very aware that recovery has to happen fast. Recovery is going to require engaging, relevant, and accessible learning  content, which is where agile learning becomes critical:

  • The ability to provide a digital repository that serves as a single source of truth so employees know where to go for reliable knowledge, refreshers and training.
  • Content authoring tools that enable more subject matter experts to create content relevant to operational training.
  • Instant, easy access to content through laptops, tablets and smartphones so decentralized workers can get information whenever they need it.
  • Modern, digital, mobile-ready content with notifications and alerts on changes for employees whether they have email or not.
  • Knowledge and learning that is unique to your company in a variety of engaging formats like 3D models, flash cards, interactive graphics, and video. 

For more surprising findings and details from the Brandon Hall Group survey on the future of learning in 2021 and beyond, download the eBook, Preparing a Strategy for Learning’s New Future.