What’s in store for learning and development in 2022?
The pandemic has accelerated a shift in the way we work and learn. Technology is evolving to provide us with the tools we need to develop the skills for the workforce of tomorrow, with L&D inching their chairs ever closer to the C-suite to play a crucial part in future-proofing our organisations.
To kick off the new year, we’ve rounded up a list of key learning and development trends to look out for in 2022.
1. Reskilling is essential to address talent gaps
Talent management is evolving. Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations face tension between cutting costs in an economic downturn and delivering training to help their workforce adapt to the changing working environment. Research by the CIPD reveals that high-performing organisations are now investing in strategic learning to drive the skills needed in future work and using learning as an enabler of agility. In addition to this, a McKinsey & Company survey reveals that a staggering 87% of respondents say their organisations are either experiencing skills gaps now or expect them within the next five years.
Topping this year’s annual Global Sentiment Survey, reskilling and upskilling play a key part in closing talent gaps as we adapt to these changes. For leaders, there’s a demand to be able to manage remote teams and demonstrate exemplary leadership during periods of stress and unpredictability. For employers, the threat of the ‘Great Resignation’ means extra pressure to retain top talent, with development opportunities being a key motivator for employees to stay. The Work Institute identified 52 different reasons for leaving a company. In their 2021 Mid-Year Employee Retention Report, findings for the leading rate of attrition correlated with the previous 11 years — that career reasons continued to be the number one cause of an employee leaving the company. If employers are intent on retaining current employees, they need to focus on providing them with a clear pathway for career development.
With the increasing need to develop and reskill for the future of work, the digital learning experience must be built to accommodate and engage the remote worker, all while overcoming the hurdle of isolation. L&D, it’s time for you to consider what capabilities are needed to help augment existing talent and future-proof your organisation for the post-pandemic world of work.
Want more help on selecting the right choice of technology to help? Our free ‘Guide to sourcing a learning system’ has you covered for 2022.
2. Personalisation is a key driver for learning culture
Psst. Personalisation is going to be big in 2022. The ‘Innovation in L&D and HR’ survey by Donald H Taylor at the end of 2021 revealed that personalisation was the number one issue that L&D and HR were looking to solve with learning technologies.
A content strategy is more often associated with marketing, but the skills of marketing are becoming increasingly useful in L&D. By definition, a content strategy “focuses on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of content.” This includes all forms of content—whether that’s text, images or other multimedia. To ensure learning content is targeted, relevant and useful, a robust content strategy can make or break engagement. It’s the ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘why’ of your learning content, key to helping you curate the right content to the right people at the right time.
So, what do we mean by the curation of learning content? Curation is the process of selecting, organising and managing a collection of items. It involves you aggregating the relevant content according to your strategy and sharing it with the learner. The beauty of this is that it saves you both time and cost involved with creating the perfect learning content from scratch—instead, you can aggregate ready-made resources from multiple channels and align it to specific cohorts of learners or even at an individual level for more highly personalised development pathways. This isn’t about reinventing the wheel or overcomplicating the process. Curation is all about keeping it simple, engaging and on-topic to benefit both you and your learners.
Take a good look at the content you plan to make available. What do learners really need to know in order to achieve the learning outcomes? Does that lengthy article you plan to share really provide value or is it simply an unnecessary extra to bulk out your resources? Remove anything which is not immediately relevant and consider a range of options for your learning content. These could include:
- Online learning modules
- Discussion forums
- Audio content
For example, Thinqi’s smarter learning system allows you to incorporate many of the above examples in the form of a digestible playlist that’s ready to access at point-of-need. It’s also designed to provide an appealing and personalised learning experience, with recommended content tailored to individual learning pathways.
It’s time to leave that ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach firmly behind you.
3. To link data with performance, L&D must move closer to the organisation
Data continues to be a hot topic at learning events, with learning analytics still coming in at third place in the Global Sentiment Survey 2021. This year’s LPI Dashboard also reveals that L&D professionals consider data analytics as one of their weakest five skills. As an L&D professional, you’re naturally familiar with the expectation to formulate learning and development strategies that drive performance in the organisation. You’re also likely well-acquainted with having to prove to the C-suite that your department is worth continued investment.
According to Towards Maturity’s Learning Benchmark Report, high-performing organisations who see performance improvement as a critical outcome of their work enjoy the benefits of reduced time to competence, increased productivity and improved organisational revenue.
Learning initiatives should begin with business goals in mind. How will learning help to achieve these goals (if, of course, learning is the right solution at all)? How can individual performance help to drive these outcomes?
Ensuring your data successfully joins the dots between training initiatives and performance is vital if you’re going to prove that L&D has delivered. When we consider how the business landscape is changing, we realise that we need to shift the focus towards performance and capability when asking questions. This is where performance consulting can help. This is an efficient way of working closely with stakeholders in the business to find out:
- Who needs guidance
- What they need guidance with
- Who has the knowledge to close any gaps
- What is stopping them from performing currently
By identifying where these gaps are, you can not only assign the right training but also use this knowledge to shape training needs in the future. The right data will enable you to address and remedy these gaps in an agile and iterative way.
Access to the relevant data provides L&D with the opportunity to assess and predict the business outcomes of learning interventions in line with the overall aims. Determining from the outset what the problem is and how learning can provide a solution is essential for creating the necessary links. Without knowing what to look for, it’s all too easy to get lost in metrics and reports that fall short of value generation.
The vast data sets within your LMS or LXP can provide key insights into how employees are progressing and where any gaps are in order to drive performance. For example, you could look at assessment scores for individuals and departments on a particular course, strengths and weaknesses in certain topic areas, and particular skills and capabilities against a required skills profile (something which is key for talent management).
Tracking the path that high performers have taken can help you model learning initiatives accordingly with the help of advanced learning technologies such as Thinqi. For example, by using xAPI (full name: the Experience API), it’s now possible to track the types of interactions that a learner in a specific role took to achieve high scores in assessment and acquiring knowledge. With attribution to workplace performance, this enables us to identify the most performant learning paths for certain roles, which can help inform future learning initiatives.
We’ve covered only a small selection of the trends and hot topics in the L&D industry this year. We’re also keen to see how the themes of learning transfer, marketing learning (which you can get clued up on with this free guide and social learning. 2021 has been an opportunity for L&D to give itself the time and space to really think about its digital solutions in response to the pandemic. In this increasingly shifting and adapting marketplace, organisations with the most agility and responsiveness to change are the ones who stand the best chance of success, or even survival. The need for organisations to be able to rapidly evolve and adapt to new skills requirements means your role will become more and more essential.
We’re excited to see what 2022 brings, and our team are constantly working hard to make sure Thinqi remains at the cutting edge of key developments. It’s our goal to provide a smarter learning experience and to equip our customers with the tools they need to reach peak performance at a time of momentous change.
Happy New Year from all of us here at Thinqi HQ!