COVID-19 has turned into a global crisis, which refuses to abate. With the lockdown still being enforced, a vast majority of people are eagerly awaiting some relief to start their daily pre-COVID lifestyle. Businesses across industries are adopting measures such as remote working and virtual meetings to counter the lockdown. The subsequent lockdown has been a catalyst to a rapid shift in learning models. Not just schools and higher education, even up-skilling and re-skilling of working professionals has moved from physical classroom to virtual classrooms. The shift has resulted in continuing learning and remote learning models are here to stay.
Professionals and first time job seekers are increasingly recognizing the need for learning to stay skilled, relevant and competitive in the current scenario. Employees are being provided professional and personal development while they continue to work from home. Learning to learn is a skill that needs to be developed amongst all learners and will develop a strong learning culture for organizations, developing employees for their current and future roles. There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. Covid’19 had changed the way we live, work and learn.India’s technology adoption has pre-poned by 2 decades making organizations and learners agile, fast and responsive to change.
Learning and Development is undergoing tremendous change and is the need now more than ever. Here are some trends that will shape learning and development in the next few quarters:
- Remote working: With the lockdown continuing across almost all cities in India, remote work for knowledge workers is here to stay. Many organizations are looking at getting their employees back only in the next calendar year. That said, the need to collaborate digitally, communicate effectively , be pro-active and lastly be able to balance between work and home.
- Efficiency vis-à-vis Resilience: Adapting to an existing environment efficiently increases efficiency for employees and organizations. However, with the many changes that we face currently, it is important that our employees are equally resilient. Providing them learning programs that increase flexibility , adaptability and problem solving skills of employees is the need of the hour. Resilient employees take such opportunities to survive and thrive the change. However, resilience may take time to build, one needs to focus on building their
- Learning through Digitization: There is no doubt that digital learning has made huge inroads in to our learning systems. Building a right mix of micro learning, virtual sessions and simulations is a good way to leverage technology to give learners an “in-person” feel. Build in polls and chats increase the engagement of learners during the sessions. Providing the right tools for remote learning, the right content and learner experience will be required to be made possible by the L&D teams of organizations.
- Increased focus on Soft Skills Training: Over the last few months, many employers have increased their focus on skills such as agile thinking , communication, collaboration, creativity etc. However, it is a known fact that soft skills cannot be trained in a day, they have to become a habit and hence experiential learning will be required to develop these skills across all employees. Using technologies such as AI, IoT , ML and Gamified Learning, organisations can provide their employees a learning experience that upskills them while keeping them highly engaged during the learning process.
- Data Literacy: Organizations across industries are required to maintain huge amounts of data and increasingly so on cloud. Hence data & cloud security become key for all companies. Data literacy, analytics and data sciences are essential to any organization’s growth.
- Unlearn to Relearn: COVID-19 has disrupted the people supply chain, with over 81% of the workforce being affected by the crisis globally. While there is a possibility of restructuring the supply chain from the base, with many workers having reverse migrated, and offices functioning either remotely or with a limited staff, there is a great imbalance of talent demand and supply that needs to be addressed. To re-invent the supply chain, instead of whitewashing the gaps, organisations need to take a step back, unlearn the skills used for working at a physical workplace and relearn skills to adapt to remote working. While technology plays a part in developing the supply chain, each organisation needs to form a unique structure that suits their business guidelines.
Up-skilling and reskilling are the need of the hour. Not only do they skill workforce for current & future job roles, it also helps in overall development and retention of employees. Learning to learn and continuous learning will be the way of life and L&D professionals’ ultimate goal.