Post-pandemic progress: A golden opportunity for L&D?

Employers have emerged from the pandemic eager to ensure their teams are truly resilient

Post-pandemic progress: A golden opportunity for L&D?

Between the pandemic causing employees to rethink career trajectory and the increasing sophistication of learning and development (L&D) platforms, there has never been a far greater opportunity for learning and development.

Employers have emerged from the pandemic eager to ensure their teams are truly resilient in the face of change. While lockdowns made it difficult to hold face-to-face learning, smart leaders knew it was a crucial time to double down on L&D and explored virtual offerings in the market.

Rosie Cairnes, Asia-Pacific regional vice president at Skillsoft, one of our 5-Star Learning and Development award winners, says the organisation saw a fourfold increase in the overall learner activity during the pandemic, highlighting the vast spike in demand. Interestingly, the motivation behind the desire for learning has also shifted.

Staying one step ahead

This year’s 5-Star L&D award winners demonstrated an ability to react to the needs of customers in real time. As learning was pushed higher on the priority list so too was the need for sophisticated technology.

The quality of virtual learning became paramount through lockdowns. With a workforce suffering from Zoom fatigue, the demand for immersive and interactive experiences grew.

“We’ve definitely noticed a shift in acceptance of virtual learning because we’ve learned how to create virtual leadership development experiences that bring people together to work in teams to explore concepts, to facilitate shared learning and share stories, to do exercises together and practice one on one or in small groups virtually,” said Dominique Powrie, managing consultant at DDI, another 5-Star Award winner.

Kim Seeling Smith, founder and CEO at Ignite Global, a 5-Star Award winner, agrees that delivering content by video alone will not spark behavioural change.

“Nobody wants to spend good money to train their line managers or their staff on things that are not embedded,” she says. “So, we need to recognise that learning is different now. People have a very short attention span in this digital age where information is coming at us faster than we can process it.”

“Users need to learn from videos or lectures and then apply [the lessons] on the job, as well as experience mentoring and coaching. I think as much experiential learning that we can bring into it, the better the learning will be and the more it will land.”

The big priority for HR leaders was having flexible software that could be tailored to suit the needs of different roles within the organisation. From a technical perspective, HR leaders now expect more from their LMS provider in terms of capability.

Cairnes told HRD the demand for integration has been a prominent trend among customers who want the LMS they choose to fit seamlessly within the employee’s existing technology.

“We’ve witnessed this rise of organisations wanting to urgently focus on deep and seamless integration with multiple platforms,” she says. “Organisations almost want the LMS to be somewhat invisible and serve learning in the flow of work when it’s needed but not necessarily be front and centre.”

The future of L&D

 Cairnes expects to see greater investment in L&D as HR leaders strive for a holistic approach to the employee experience.

“One of the roles for L&D providers will be to really help organisations drive a culture of learning,” she says. “The only way that organisations can truly be resilient and prepared for the future is to have the skills and mindset that learning brings and really support leaders of learning to be a more strategic partner to the business.”

“To create a learning culture, you really need your managers to be on board with supporting learning for their people,” she says. “I think the learning of the future is really going to be taking what we are learning and iterating now and creating the right environment by providing the right resources, tools and assets to the team at the time they need them and that the content is really relevant.”

Read our full L&D report here.

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