These are the trends in learning for 2021 (for every HR specialist)

trends leren 2020

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A recent Deloitte survey among hundreds of HR professionals showed that learning and developing will be the biggest challenge within HR for the time being. People rate the ‘opportunity to learn' as one of their top reasons for taking or keeping a job.

And organizations too are now all too aware that changes in technology, life expectancy, working methods and business models have created enormous demand for continuous knowledge development.

That continuous learning can no longer be ignored, so there is no discussion about it anymore. But what does learning look like in 2021?

These are the 6 trends in learning for 2021

  1. The role of learning is becoming more important in the War for Talent
  2. Big data is becoming increasingly important
  3. Gamification in training is increasingly used
  4. Blended learning is increasingly popular
  5. More is learned in the work context
  6. Responding to changes is becoming increasingly important

1. The role of learning becomes more important in the War for Talent

In the current tense labor market, retaining your employees is more important than recruiting new staff, as we read in Stand van Werven 2021/2021. Talent retention is up five percent on the recruitment department's priority list.

In the same report we read that topics that respond to the long-term vision – including the development of talent – will have more influence. We also see a trend that more and more HR departments hope to be able to retain employees longer by placing more emphasis on learning and development.

Keeping up with market developments is also seen as an important objective of the L&D strategy.

2. Big data is becoming increasingly important

Big data is the new oil. But then you have to do something with it. We noticed that many of our customers do or want to do something with data, but that there is little structure and policy in this. And this while HR Analytics gives an organization the right tools to increase the job satisfaction, development and performance of your people.

Although a gut feeling – certainly in a field such as HR – remains of unprecedented importance, it can no longer be denied that the value and quality of decisions increase if you can substantiate them with objective data.

2021 will therefore really be the year in which HR departments will see the importance of data and will also make smart decisions about it.

3. Gamification in training is increasingly used

Gamification sounds like Spielerei. Nothing is less true. In gamification, game principles and game techniques are used as a learning tool. Games give people a sense of community, fulfillment and they provide clearly defined and attainable goals. This keeps you involved, motivated and alert. By using gamification in the learning process, people learn faster.

A study by the Aberdeen Group found that organizations using gamification saw a 48 percent improvement in employee engagement (compared to 28 percent in organizations that don't use gamification), and a 36 percent improvement in employee turnover (vs. 25 percent).

These substantial differences demonstrate the benefits of using game-like scenarios in the learning process, especially in a work environment increasingly shaped by millennials – most of whom grew up playing games.

4. Blended learning is increasingly popular

Blended learning, also known as hybrid learning, is a form of learning in which you mix different learning forms.

Think of the combination of online training methods such as webinars, whitepapers, e-learning and YouTube videos with traditional classroom learning methods, knowledge meetings and one-on-one coaching sessions.

The use of this mix of learning methods is gaining popularity. Classroom learning is currently still the most popular form of learning, but this will be overtaken by blended learning in two years' time.

An important reason for the success of blended learning is the increasing importance of individualization. Mass and generic is very much 20th century. Today we expect an original and personal offer, also when it comes to the learning program. This must match our personal (work) situation, our wishes and our needs.

In addition, it is simply the case that new learning methods are available. Think of virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics and of course gamification.

And thanks to our smartphones and tablets, we can now learn anywhere, anytime.

5. More is learned in the work context

Charles Jennings' 70:20:10 learning model assumes that people learn most by doing. Seventy percent of our learning takes place in the workplace through hands-on experience, 20 percent is social learning – learning from others – and only 10 percent is structured learning through a training program.

He emphasizes that the exact relationship depends on the personal situation, but that learning through experience is important is clear.

After all, we forget half of what we learn within an hour, unless we practice, practice, practice.

Think of how we learned to drive. In addition, about ten percent is by being in the books, twenty percent learn from family and friends sitting next to us in the car and seventy percent we have learned in practice, simply by doing it over and over again.

In this video, Jennings explains his model himself.

6. Responding to change is becoming increasingly important

The world around us is changing faster and faster. That is why it is important that your employees develop broadly. As Patrick Kieviet, founder of HR Consultants UK, explains in this blog: ‘You don't know yet what your organization will need and where the disruption in your business will come from.

Focus your learning process and culture on change and be happy if people want to develop more broadly. The corporate culture of a learning organization is really different from that of many organizations now.

In a learning organization it is accepted that people are involved in their development as part of their work.

That is an essential part of their job. In this way they develop a learning mindset.

Organizations that do this are competitive now and in the future and can switch and change quickly. They can respond to new things that we don't know yet. ‘

We're not there yet

According to a survey of hundreds of L&D professionals from the UK, measuring the impact of L&D was crucial to future success. Good guidance and a state of the art LMS play a crucial role in this.

The fact that organizations and their L&D professionals understand this is a good signal and we are well on the way, but also have a way to go. A flexible Learning Experience Platform ensures that you are ready for the future.


Curious about the trends in the field of learning for the coming years? We have described these in detail in this whitepaper. Do you need help to put continuous learning on the agenda and to ensure that knowledge development takes on a more strategic role? Please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help you!



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