The year 2020 had been one with unexpected challenges. As the virus spread across the globe, no country, no city was left unharmed. We too are dealing with our part of extraordinary challenges, not the least of which has been the histrionic shift of the business environment from physical to virtual processes. 
This change in the business environment has unlocked thought-provoking prospects for organizations to revolutionize and discover new methods of operations and delivery in the likely future – be it remodelling the existing business models, restructuring processes or redefining customer and employee experience journeys. This shift is also inspiring organizations to adopt artificial intelligence, automation, and digital technologies that not just need professionals to have technical skills, but also social and emotional skills to confirm they are able to map and offer a positive customer and/or employee experience.
The year 2020 made us believe that achievement and innovation in employee learning and development will depend on how organizations apply their acquired information to generate growth and expansion occasions in future. Training statistics reports highlight the need for adaptive learning and emphasis on greater innovative learning experiences. And to understand it better, let’s take a look at three trends that are here to stay:
1. Surge in ‘Continuous Learning’ Attitudes
Businesses will need to experience noteworthy attitude changes to stay ahead in future. One can expect a change in the traditional learning and development trends, as employees are stimulated to adopt a continuous learning attitude at work.
Professionals will be continuously pushed to pursue new ways to refine their skills (both technical and non-technical), better their team-bond, and excel at other learning and development areas.
One can even expect rising job obsolescence in the coming years. In such a situation where much of human work is expected to be mechanized, employee training and development trends will lean toward alternative skill requirements and learning necessities. Organizations will have to seek intellectual agility just as much as technical know-how. In the face of amplified automation in the future of work, uniquely human skills will have to be combined with specialized information and advanced critical thinking capacities.

2. Soft Skills Trainings:
Companies will gain more consciousness about soft skills and their role in organizational success. Subsequently, they will reinforce their related learning and development interventions. According to a study by HuffPost, businesses investing in soft skills programs can expect up to 24% higher profit margins. It mandates recognizing skills needed for the future and upskill employees accordingly. Similarly, as per LinkedIn reports, 94% of employees claim that they would continue with a company longer if it invested in their career progressions (technical and non-technical). Whereas 70% of employees specified that job-related training and development prospects influenced their decision to stay with a specific employer. One can definitely expect a fundamental shift in training and development trends where individuals are mentored for enhanced communication skills, stress management and mental health and honing cross functional abilities and skills.
3. Gamification Glory:
Gamification has been causing a ripple effect in the training and development space for some time now. COVID-19 accelerated the growth, as more organisations looked for approaches to keep their employees connected while working distantly. But global pandemic or not, we anticipate that this trend is here to stay!
In 2020, the change to virtual working happened quickly. Learning & development departments were racing to get learning material on the web. So, this way, in future learning leaders need to guarantee the recently converted learning content is convincing and engaging for learners. One approach to do this, is to gamify your substance or content, or the learning environment itself.
Gamification allows organizations, as well as learning institutions, to generate intangible motivators that drive fruitful training results. The motivator/incentive can be a gift card or a financial reward, designed to induce a sense of being competitive among employees.
Overall, gamified e-learning courses simplify the learning process. It makes the course content alluring to the learner, boost motivational levels, and enhance the retention of content. Most importantly, when used in corporate training, gamification will help in fostering an emotional and intensive learning experience. By nurturing a competitive spirit, gamification will inspire employees to perform better and put in more to ‘win’. And as a cherry on the top, gamification can likewise make it quicker to take in new data.
4. Self-paced and blended learning approaches:
With more than half of the world adopting and coping with the work from home approach today, Trainings can longer be one-size-fits all! With the surge in online learning trends and digital training tools, training design needs to suit different needs and preferences. With the blurring lines between work schedules and home roles, self-paced learning approach is the need of the hour. Employees can avail the freedom to learn from anywhere and at any time. They can spend a few hours to pursue their online course in between their office hours or break into chunks throughout the week. This adds to the commitment and engagement levels. With micro learning approach addressing quick learning needs, bite-sized sessions are trending as well. Providers can also infuse blended learning techniques to increase the learner experience and interaction levels in an online learning tool.

Going forward, these training and development trends will take on a more vital and tactical part with thoughtful alignment with organizational priorities and business operations. Hence, the training and development team will play a noteworthy role in driving counselling or self-help education programs for employees to augment the pace of learning within the team. More importantly, beyond multiple technologies and domains, the ability to see the interconnected big picture is becoming key where organizations are progressively leveraging learning to trigger employees to be on the lookout for coming up with innovative solutions to challenges old and new.

Author's Bio: 

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