top 5 new trends in training and development 2021 - learning and development trends 2021

It’s no secret that the learning landscape has seen unprecedented change in our “new today.” And, as we continue to transform, new trends in training and development are emerging in 2021. 

As an organization or a learning professional, you may not only be seeking new ways to deliver learning and manage your training programs but are most likely looking for new balances in your business and personal life. And, let’s not forget your employees. New balances are needed here as well — from reskilling to finding new ways to collaborate, connect, and deliver learning. And, it all has to happen now, not months from now. In a recent article, McKinsey & Company comments: “Now is the time for companies to double down on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling. Developing this muscle will also strengthen companies for future disruptions.”  

Where Learning Has Changed 

For many learning professionals, one of the biggest shifts in the past year was moving from Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT). This is significant because ILT / vILT touches a vast majority of organizations. In Brandon Hall Group’s recent survey, HR and the Impact of COVID-19, they found that 96% of organizations use ILT / vILT to some degree to deliver learning.

Some were ahead of the curve in making this shift, while others are still learning along the way and going through that process. Yet, as things continue to change in different ways, we’re all still looking for new ways to accelerate our learning programs in this unprecedented time of transformation. And, we’re realizing that this shift meant much more than just moving to Zoom. 

As we continue to speak with our customers, partners, and friends in the learning industry, these 5 new trends in learning and development for 2021 remain. 

Top 5 Trends in Training and Development in 2021:


Get the details of these emerging trends below! 

1. A Boom in ILT / vILT

emerging top trends in training and development 2021 - learning and development industry trends 2021

Though face-to-face training is limited, virtual instructor-led training is booming because the scope of today’s transformation demands it. Our employees are facing many unknowns and the key to supporting them is human interaction. Human interaction helps organizations maintain clear communications, address the resistance, and maintain a sense of community and connection — and that’s where ILT/vILT shines. Accelerating the transformation can’t be done with a 30-minute e-learning course, but rather with the help of the best instructors and SMEs, whether in person or virtual, who will lead, train, and reskill our employees. 

2. Complexification of ILT / vILT

Although there’s been a boom in instructor-led training, it’s also become more complex as it moves virtual. Organizations are managing more resources than ever before, such as new tools, roles (producers, technology assistants), and technologies (virtual labs, platforms, and simulators). There’s been a need to redesign courses, ensure better remote collaboration, and schedule more sessions. For example, classes that once were held over three days, now require shorter sessions over more days (six half-day classes instead of three full-day) so that they are more digestible in a remote environment. 

With all these changes, ILT and the corporate classroom have complexified. And, there’s been a surge in the need for faster delivery, increased productivity, and better operational efficiency. 

3. Strong Financial Pressure to Do More with Less

When there’s a crisis, there’s usually a strong impact on the budget. This brings about the need for organizations to make the most of their strategic resources and better control their investments.

How can this be managed? There are several ways we’ve seen organizations address this need including increasing the productivity of their L&D and operations teams and increasing the usage rate of existing strategic resources. For example, by better identifying internal SMEs, instead of using external trainers, organizations can ease the pressure and do more, better, and different with less.

4. Increase in Spending for Learning

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This is one of the recent training trends that is somewhat surprising. According to Training Industry’s Data Fluency in Learning 2020, Leading Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic study, 62% of those whose spending has been affected, are spending more now.

Whether that’s because some organizations are fortunate enough to have had their budgets increase, or that costs have increased due to the shifts in the way we manage and deliver training, we can all agree that there is more to do. We have to be prepared to tackle these challenges by better utilizing our current resources.

5. Need for Technology Investments with Strong ROI & Immediate Payback

Lastly, another recent technology trend in learning and development for 2021 is the need to invest in technology with immediate payback and a strong return on investment. What does this mean? Back to basics. There’s less of a focus on the “shiny and new” and more of a focus on the “core”, such as the learning platform, LMS, and the Training Management System (TMS).

>> What’s the difference between a Training Management System (TMS) and
a Learning Management System (LMS)
? Find out!

What’s Next for Future Technology Trends in Learning and Development?

If you’re faced with needing to do more with less, Training Orchestra’s Training Management System technology can help!  For over 20 years, Training Orchestra has been helping 600+ organizations worldwide address the complexities to automate and optimize their ILT and vILT training operations: session scheduling, resource management, instructor calendars, cost tracking and reporting. As a complement to your existing learning technologies, Training Orchestra’s Training Resource Management System can replace all XLS spreadsheets and manual tasks, so you can better manage training as a business.

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Interested in how you can improve ILT / vILT efficiency and do more with less? Contact us to learn more!

Want to learn more about the emerging trends in training and development in 2021 and beyond? Read more about how ILT and vILT learning experiences help organizations meet the demands of the “new today.” Plus, stay tuned for future trends in training articles to come!

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