Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Studying And Improvement (L&D) Innovation In 2021

L&D innovation in 2021

In this time of economic and social stress, we must rely more than ever on training to prepare employees for ongoing disruption and change. In many ways, we are in the middle of one of the greatest learning opportunities of our lives: learning how to create work environments where safety, quality and trust become core business values.

So far, companies have invested heavily in training to help employees cope with COVID-related disruptions. This trend will continue well into 2021. Over the next several months, the business community has an opportunity to move forward and help everyone feel vaccinated through education and targeted communication. Retraining and professional development will continue to be important and there is evidence that there will be labor shortages for certain critical roles.

Leading L&D

As a result, we’ve identified new best practices for corporate learning. Research we conducted in collaboration with NIIT shows that companies that invest in the critical practices that drive learning and development success are 59% more likely to grow, 27% more cost-effective, and consistently more engagement, retention, and leadership offer scores.

I’ve worked with hundreds of companies on their learning strategies over the past two decades and I’ve found that most companies share three fundamental challenges:

  • effectiveness
    What L&D programs, tools, and strategies move best to develop the skills and abilities for success?
  • Efficiency
    How can we get rid of the noise, reduce waste and focus L&D investments on the most important areas?
  • Alignment
    How do we continuously realign the entire L&D function / learning strategy to help us address the most important, urgent and strategic issues facing the company?

In times of change and uncertainty, companies need to focus their training activities on business alignment. You will benefit from aligning your general learning strategies with the most important and pressing business issues.

Adaptive learning organizations value alignment. Such organizations have learning councils in place, they work with senior business leaders, and they understand the critical skills and technology trends that apply to the company. Such organizations also have a deep understanding of the company’s professional roles, the current delivery of training programs, and any skill gaps within the company. Most importantly, these organizations can prioritize. For example, Microsoft missed the search engine, social networking, and mobile device market and was a fulcrum for a growth philosophy that sparked the company’s success with Azure and the public cloud.

High-performing L&D teams are also heavily involved in future work plans, talent mobility strategies, succession management, and all other areas related to people and leadership. In addition, such leading L&D organizations have good planning and governance. L&D leaders need to be empowered to build, adapt, and respond to learning needs. This means setting up learning partners, skill academies and strong performance counseling skills in order to identify performance problems early on.

For the first time in decades, the area of ​​strategic and facilitated internal mobility will come into focus in 2021. Companies like Unilever, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, Society Generale and SAP value internal mobility. In the coming year, skills matching systems and products for the talent market will be on the rise. Of course, we have to recognize that the more people move around the organization, the more training they will need to support them in new roles.

A coming wave of new ideas and innovations

Innovation and experimentation, especially through technology, will be a defining characteristic of L&D in 2021 and beyond. Look at innovations like virtual reality and augmented reality, record store learning, microlearning, and workflow learning.

LXP vendors are realizing that they need business rules, e-commerce, resource management, and even talent market capabilities, so the “layer” of software that sits just on your LMS becomes increasingly important. So it’s important to streamline what data goes where. It becomes clear that the actual data machine for learning is not the LMS or the LXP, but the memory for learning records, which now contains all the detailed learning data.

One final but important aspect of L&D innovation is that the demand for content will continue to explode. You will be inundated with new content offerings from hundreds of different companies in 2021. Tools for in-flow learning, in-house gig work and mobility, competency-based mentoring and development, and academy-centered learning are also in high demand. Watch as various players in the Enterprise Platform market show how these elements can work together in a highly productive manner.


In summary, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the transition to more agile working methods and made L & D’s adaptability critical. You need to focus on realigning the L&D function to meet current and evolving learning challenges. At the same time, the learning market will continue to be a complex and rapidly changing world with dozens of platform providers, hundreds of content companies, and a myriad of new ideas and innovations emerging.

I encourage you to take some time and create a solid three to five year roadmap for your L&D infrastructure, content, and organizational strategy. Having this foundation in place will really help you stay on course for the months to come.

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