Keeping Up with the Changing Face of Learning and Developing

Posted in : HR Updates on 20 May 2021
Laura Boden
Think People
Issues covered: Learning and Development Strategy; Future of Learning and Development

Learning and Development practitioners were among the many whose profession was heavily impacted by the pandemic. Necessity meant training providers had their innovation skills tested and, with the assistance of technology, have been able to meet the challenge. 

While learning was put on hold for a brief period, it became clear that L&D would be critical in an organisation’s recovery. A large-scale May 2020 survey noted record numbers of CEOs actively championing learning programs (43% more than in 2019). 

The world of work will look a little different for most of us going forward, whether our roles return to the office, stay at home, or become flexible. Learning and Development are critical to equip staff with the professional skills, technological understanding, resilience, and change management strategies needed for success during this long-term recovery period.

So how will L&D meet these challenges while catering to a diverse range of learners in both virtual and in-person environments? Learning will continue to be a critical differentiator of performance, engagement, and employer brand, so it is important to get it right.

Here are four essential considerations for building a future-proof Learning and Development strategy: 

  1. A learning culture cannot be imposed on a workforce, it must be encouraged.  Workplace learning should be continuous and outcome-oriented, for the benefit of both the organisation and its employees.  When employees are given interesting and relevant training options, they are more likely to participate fully. Training opportunities that interest or help them to achieve their goals makes learning mutually beneficial and helps create the highly sought-after ‘Learning Organisation’.

  2. Soft skills are as important as ever. Research has highlighted a potential disconnect between what employees view as relevant skills (technology specialisms) versus what organisations really need (communication, innovation, agility). It is important to note that soft skills are not learned in a single workshop. To truly develop these skills, employees require multiple training experiences over time to learn and practice them. Your organisation’s learning calendar should reflect this.

  3. We have more delivery options available to us now than ever before. Your development offerings should be a blend of delivery platforms and formats, especially if you have a hybrid or flexible working team. Blended learning incorporating remote and in-person, live and pre-recorded, and a variety of learning materials and exercises, will allow you to see what actually works for your employees and the learning topic.

  4. Resilience remains a vital skill, not just in reaction to the pandemic but in recognition that the world of work may continue to change at an unprecedented rate. L&D without resilience is short-sighted. We can’t know exactly what hard skills we might need tomorrow, but the need for resilience is certain to be needed well into the future.

In summary, now is the time to push the boundaries and try new, innovative learning approaches. However, it is essential that you are clear on your goals and the goals and aspirations of your employees. Learning and development will be essential for organisations recovering from the pandemic, and evaluation and agility will be essential for meaningful and impactful learning and development strategies.

Lessons from Leaders Panel Discussion: The Future of Learning & Development

Free to Attend, 28th May at 10.00am, Online Event

Our expert panel brings together experience-informed perspectives to discuss the outcomes of our survey carried out in collaboration with Irish Institute of Training and Development exploring the challenges and opportunities for L&D in the future, and practical things you need to do to keep pace with those rethinking skills and interventions with an agile, technically enabled, blended and individualised approach.

We will be joined on our panel by:

  • Sinead Heneghan, CEO, Irish Institute of Training and Development
  • Laura Lynch, Head of Organisation Development, Queen’s University Belfast
  • Emer Hinphey, Managing Partner, Think People Consulting

Register for free at:


This article is correct at 20/05/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Laura Boden
Think People

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