A new research report reveals a bright future for L&D.
By Debbie Bolla
Learning and development (L&D) programs haveÂ moved far beyond compliance and mandatedÂ regulatory trainings. Now, L&D is pivotal to severalÂ layers of workforce management. Innovative trainingÂ approaches can aid with skills development, showcaseÂ growth opportunities, and increase retention. SoÂ itâs no surprise that LinkedInâs 2020 WorkplaceÂ Learning Report found that more than a third of L&DÂ professionals anticipate their budgets to grow year-over-year. What else is projected for the industry in theÂ coming years? The report points to several trends.
1. A continued shift from instructor-led training toÂ online learning. Driven by technology and ease ofÂ use, many learning professionals are experiencingÂ the benefits of on-demand training approaches. InÂ fact, more than half (57%) of respondents reportÂ they spend more time with online learning than theyÂ did three years ago, and more than one-third (37%)Â spend less time with instructor-led training in the sameÂ timeframe.
2. L&D is gaining executive support. Often seen asÂ a critical lever in business strategy, 83% of surveyÂ respondents said they have executive buy-in for L&DÂ at their organizations, but only 27% report that theirÂ CEOs are active champions of learning. Perhaps a lackÂ of everyday support is a driver behind the second mainÂ challenge L&D programs face: the ability to create aÂ culture of learning. One approach that could furtherÂ drive learning programsâ impact is the increased use ofÂ internal champions to bolster employee participation.
3. The skills gap continues to plague organizations.Â The LinkedIn report finds that more than one-thirdÂ (38%) of enterprises believe that closing the skillsÂ gap is an urgent business priority. In response, L&DÂ professionals plan to leverage upskilling and reskillingÂ initiatives, with 51% of organizations planning toÂ launch upskilling programs in 2020 and 43% planningÂ for reskilling programs in 2020.
4. Understanding the impact of L&D programs is criticalÂ to future success. According to this yearâs research,Â the top area of strategic focus is evaluating theÂ effectiveness of programs, with 38% of respondentsÂ in agreement. Most often, leaders measure the impactÂ of online learning through qualitative feedback fromÂ employees (43%), the number of courses completedÂ (38%), and employee satisfaction rates (34%). OtherÂ strategic areas of focus include increasing programÂ engagement (35%) and empowering self-serviceÂ learning solutions (35%).
5. Both L&D professionals and employees experienceÂ challenges when it comes to training initiatives. The topÂ three challenges for L&D leaders are getting managersÂ to make learning a priority for their teams (49%),Â creating a culture of learning (42%), and increasingÂ employee engagement in programs (36%). FindingÂ time is the biggest challenge for employees, with 49%Â reporting that they canât fit learning in during theÂ regular workday.
The issue of time should be considered whenÂ developing new learning programs. Todayâs workersÂ expect a personalized learning experience that isÂ engaging and can be accessed on-demand. DesigningÂ training initiatives around these factors will increaseÂ the chances of having a highly utilized and impactfulÂ L&D program.