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6 Learning & Development Trends for 2021

Posted on 12/31/20 By Lorman Team


If we had to describe 2020 in two words, we'd probably say it was unusual and unpredictable. But there is a silver lining: we can leave this year with clear eyes, ready to adapt and move forward into 2021. 

Luckily, there are some things we can count on. We compiled a list of learning and development trends you can expect in 2021. 

6. Investment in Ongoing Training

Research conducted by Middlesex University found that 74% of workers feel their company's lack of training programs limited their potentials.

In a separate study, 70% of workers said they were willing to leave their current job to join companies that invest in employee learning and development.

This need for ongoing learning will drive 2021 training trends. Companies will look to educate their employees through continuous training programs.

This approach is cheaper and more effective than paying for employees to attend individual one-off seminars and courses throughout the year. A push to invest in ongoing employee training programs is expected to top the list of training and development trends in 2021.

5. A Shift Toward Online Learning

The world has continued to embrace online learning due to the social distancing policies. Technology has changed how we communicate, conduct business, and has opened up a world of new learning and development trends beyond the confines of physical structures.

eLearning is now predominant in most companies, and experts predict that organizations will continue to invest in virtual training moving forward.

The expected changes in corporate training trends in 2021 has perks. Research shows that 90% of employees agree that a switch to mobile-based training is beneficial.

Learning materials are now conveniently available online — a major benefit for employees since 85% of workers have expressed the desire for flexible training.

4. Professionals Will Seek More Certifications

The unemployment rate was at an all-time high in early 2020 as companies made the tough decision to lay off workers amidst the pandemic. And the rise in unemployment has led to an unprecedented increase in the employee talent pool.

Professionals will likely focus on advancing their studies or taking up new courses to set them apart from other candidates and fill skill gaps.

A focus on expanding professional skills and knowledge will be a key trend in learning and development in 2021.

3. An Emphasis on Compliance and Safety 

Organizations will focus on employee health and safety more than ever before. In addition to adhering to standard regulations, companies will need to focus employee safety in regard to the coronavirus.

The pandemic has already brought signification changes in health and safety regulations which will be reflected in upcoming training trends for businesses worldwide.

Organizations need to review and regularly update their corporate training protocols to comply with new COVID-19 regulations.

2. More Focus on Upskilling Employees

Teams that were downsized early in the pandemic are expected to stay small in 2021 as companies try to regain lost profit without hiring more employees. Smaller teams mean that employees will need to play several roles within their organization.

Incorporating skills training won't be a difficult endeavor for businesses, as studies have shown 74% of workers are willing to learn new skills or re-train in order to remain employable.

Employees will need to acquire entirely new skillsets and capabilities in order to keep up with the organization's demands, making upskilling a high priority in 2021.

1. A Push to Develop Soft Skills

The pandemic has reminded professionals that soft skills are even more important than ever. As things around us change quickly and unexpectedly, it's important that employees know how to adapt, communicate, and manage their time.

Employers will look to hire individuals with strong interpersonal skills. To keep up with these corporate training trends, organizations will likely include more soft skills training in their learning and development plans in 2021. 

Some of the most in-demand soft skills are:

  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity


Learning and development is changing for organizations globally. But despite the unpredictable nature of the world, you can count on most of these L&D trends to stick around in 2021.

Adapting to changes is essential to the success of any business. Staying current on learning and development trends will help you stay ahead of the curve. 

Have you completed your employee training strategy for 2021? Download our free guide to developing and implementing a successful L&D program.

 

 

 

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