Trends and insights into L&D

Johnson Wong looks at the new future of L&D.

In this new decade, L&D is poised for massive change. The global pandemic and business disruptions have also fuelled the need for enterprises to accelerate their workforce transformation and innovation. The digital and virtual realm of learning is becoming the default mode that was once a ‘good-to-have’ for enterprises.

The digital learning experience is taking centre stage with greater demand for virtual training and assessment. Before sharing the trends and insights of L&D, it is imperative to understand that what L&D needs to evolve and better serve enterprises’ needs in staying relevant and productive.

What business needs L&D in the new normal?

Business leaders and L&D decision-makers need to work together.

  • To enable the workforce: 
    • to learn faster, smarter, possibly, cheaper in the longer term.
    • to perform skills accurately, consistently and just-in-time when it is needed most in the job.
  • To achieve greater business alignment where the value of skills acquired linked to business profitability (return on investment, ROI).
  • To support value creation for the enterprise by building capabilities (skillsets) that are relevant to business potential to innovate.
  • To contribute to the overall enterprise’s agility and transformation.

L&D key trends

  1. New corporate learning models such as design thinking, workplace learning, career coaching, user experience (UX) coupled with learning technology integrations.
  2. Intensification of learning technologies applications in enterprises: Virtual learning tools and systems, micro-learning, blended, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), serious games including gamification, and scenarios of actual work conditions.
  3. Increased enterprise adoption of learning experience platforms.
  4. Gaining traction of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science applications for organisational learning development.
  5. A continuous quest for L&D practitioners to develop systems for learning (linking learning ROI to business goals) and the efficacy of learning in the flow of work.
  6. Enterprise transformations – rapid acquisition of hybrid skillsets (across functional areas) of the future-ready workforce (e.g. a minimum viable skillset for successful job role transition)
  7. The rising number of global communities in L&D professionalisation of practitioners.
  8. Prevalent use of social learning and collaborative incubation platforms for innovation. 

L&D insights

Insight 1: Adaptive organisational learning strategy

  • A more streamlined priority to develop future-ready business capabilities and innovation potential. 
  • Differentiate and distributed learn tech architectures to pre-empt market disruptions and meet business needs.
  • Technologies that enable workforce skills transformation and business models for organisation learning to address industry needs.
  • Prowess in digital literacy and accelerated transformation.

Insight 2: Greater synergy with business goals

  • Learning that is designed in the flow of work.
  • L&D stakeholders will need to arm with strong business acumen and challenges – to enable their org-wide strategy effectiveness.
  • Multi-functional workgroups of L&D and business leaders – organisation learning that aligns to business impact.
  • Real-time L&D dashboards linked to business goals, learner analytics, predictive reporting, ROI, and other metrics associated with business innovation.

Insight 3: Building capabilities of workforce resilience

  • Regular workforce capability diagnosis – profiling and assessment system.
  • Identification of workforce attributes of learning agility. Use of GRIT scoring and people diagnostic profiling tools to inform areas of learning and performance.
  • Performance support tools and systems.
  • Integration of learning experience systems that accelerates workforce acquisition of new skills with higher performance.

Insight 4: Integrated organisational learning technology

  • Greater adoption of on-demand learning platforms to develop or deepen new business capabilities.
  • Smarter, customised and cost-effective solutions that provide flexibility for learning to be embedded in the flow of work.
  • Increasingly, learning analytics are implemented to measure and track the metrics of workforce skills acquisition.
  • Use AI and data science in providing a wealth of actionable insights for decision-makers to calibrate the learning strategy. The prevalent use of bots to provide learning on the job as well as automation of certain aspects in the work processes.

Some examples of emerging organisation learning tech:

  • AI-Powered digital or augmented learning solutions such as Zoomi, KEA, Docebo, customised corporate platforms.
  • Curated micro-learning modules and mobile learning.
  • Structured career coaching systems that are virtual and blended
  • Learning experience platforms (LXP), including corporate-based social learning.
  • Embedding work scenario-based gamification (serious games) and wearable learning gadgets (Internet of Things or SMART components) that have ‘live’ or asynchronous feedback to learning metrics and insights.

Insight 5: Innovation and co-creation of business value

Creating conditions for learning and innovation:

  • Incubation and collaboration platforms that are integrated with learning.
  • Learning squads to take on new business innovation journeys.
  • Recognition and reward mechanisms that promote learning and innovation.
  • The hybridisation of multiple data analytics with HR, business, functional operations on learning and innovation metrics aimed in producing insights as levers to new or faster organisation innovation journey (and capabilities development).

Insight 6: Learning ecosystems and partnerships

  • L&D and Government-led joint ventures, consortiums, foundations, associations and industry test-bed programmes to foster collaborations that amplify and benefit organisations and their consumers.
  • Global professionalisation of L&D communities. The community of practice (CoPs) within or across sectors to share practices, benchmarks and partnerships to drive economies of scale as well as to innovate in a similar value stream.

The trends and insights shared serves to provide cues for businesses to jump-start their calibration of enterprise L&D strategy. The intent is also to drive L&D efforts to build a more practical and seamless workforce transformation journey in this new environment.


About the author

Johnson Wong is a learning strategist and director of Empower Training and Consultancy Pte Ltd.



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