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Disruptive Corporate Learning and Development Trends // 2022

Corporate training programs are no longer optional, and here’s why.

  • By 2022, 54% of all workers will need re-skilling and up-skilling. This is according to the 2018 World Economic Forum report.
  • Opportunity for personal development is now a major reason for accepting a job offer. This is due to technological advancements and the fear of redundancy.

However, with this growing need for continuous learning, are companies getting the most out of training programs?

Not according to these findings by McKinsey:

  • Only 25% of businesses experience measurable performance increases.
  • Only 50% of companies keep track of employee feedback after training.
  • Only 30% of companies have a metric for measuring training effectiveness.

We’re going to delve into why corporate training is failing, and how you can get a better ROI from it. For instance, why your employees forget and how an interactive training program can help.

How Much Is Spent on Corporate Learning?

According to the 2020 Training Industry Report:

Average Annual ExpenditureNo. of Employees2019 2020 
Large companies>10,000$17.7M$20M
Mid-sized companies1,000–10,000$1,708,355$808,355
Small companies<1,000$367,490$506,819

Average Annual Expenditure 

This data represents US-based organizations and educational institutions with more than 100 employees. Small companies represent 40% of the respondents, mid-sized companies represent 34%, and large companies represent 26%.

  • Mid-sized companies spent less on learning and development in 2020. There was a 52% drop in expenditure from 2019.
  • Large companies spent more on training, with a 13% increase for 2020.
  • Small companies spent more on training, with a 37% increase for 2020.

Under the current training budgets, the most anticipated training purchases are:

  • Digital learning tools (40%)
  • Learning management systems (41%)
  • Authoring tools (37%)

Currently, the focus of corporate learning and development is more on non-executives and non-managers. On average, executives get the least of a budget’s allocation with 9% compared to 44% for non-managers.

But there is an alternative—companies can gain a greater competitive advantage by budgeting more for upper management.

For instance, most executive MBA programs offer coaching and leadership training, networking opportunities, etc. Without such developments, managers fail to realize their full potential, which limits their performance.

Why Corporate Learning Is Failing

For all the talk and hype about organizational learning, changes due to L&D remain cosmetic and improvements short-lived. Regrettably, there are more failed programs than successful ones.

The following are statistics that highlight this: 

  • 42% of global L&D professionals note that there’s a lack of learning culture in corporations (LinkedIn Learning, 2020).
  • 36% of global trainers have a problem with employee engagement (LinkedIn Learning, 2020).
  • 70% of training programs fail to achieve their goals (McKinsey).

Here are reasons why corporate learning is failing.

Reason #1: The Forgetting Curve

Picture this: your company invested over $500,000 on employee development, only to have them forget 90% of their training within the first month. This is the forgetting curve, a gradual decline in memory retention.

  • After day 1 of training, you remember 100% of what you understood.
  • By the second day and without a review of the previous training, you will have lost 50%.
  • By day 30, memory retention is at 2%–3%.

The good news is that you can avoid this through:

  • Micro courses. This involves breaking down information into modules via a learning management system (LMS). This encourages learners to revise their training for better retention.
  • Engaging content. You need to consider aspects like user interface, graphics, and how compelling they are to users. For example, Quantic’s courses feature infographics, how-to videos, and checklists. This makes the content more interactive and memorable.
  • Follow-up tasks. This is a great way of ensuring learners revisit their training and practice. Online learning platforms like Quantic feature practice simulations based on real-life job situations. Solving these simulations boosts learning retention.

Reason #2: Standardized Training

Traditional training methods involve a collective delivery of content, similar training instructions, and similar methods of content delivery. But individual factors like work schedules and learning styles affect learning retention.

Instead, a more personalized approach to training would yield better business performance. The content would match individual learning needs, making the training relevant and more applicable.

Reason #3: Absence of a Learning Culture

Traditional leadership focuses too much on success and results. The perception of failure is that it’s something to be avoided or evidence of incompetence. There is no time or money for experimentation and learning.

In a nutshell, the opinion is that it’s better to buy than build talent. The result is that companies fail to develop new capabilities and eventually lose their competitive edge.

Even as companies now recognize the long-term gains of workplace learning, organizations may sometimes revert to old thinking habits.

In 2009, Toyota recalled over 9 million vehicles. Its leaders admitted that their goal to become the world’s largest carmaker compromised their commitment to learning. 

Corporate Learning and Development Trends 2021

Innovation in Corporate Learning and Development

The arrival of the pandemic took the L&D industry by storm. Overnight, practitioners experienced massive cancelations of in-person training programs, followed by record-breaking requests for remote training plans.

Many organizations had to rethink and adapt their L&D strategies, with a transition into fully online programs.

For the trainers, it was about figuring out the best use of different learning modalities which include:

  • Webinars
  • Video tutorials
  • Mobile learning (via tablets and smartphones )
  • eLearning (via laptops and desktop computers)

For companies, it was about:

  • Investing more in learning technology solutions, particularly learning management systems
  • Developing key performance indicators
  • Tracking business outcomes

How Mobile Learning Is More Effective for Corporate Training

Organizations are embracing mobile devices as powerful personal development tools. They are always beeping with alerts and reminders to keep users checking back, plus they’re accessible from almost anywhere.

With this level of engagement, it’s no surprise that corporate training is becoming more mobile. For businesses and training organizations, mobile devices enable on-the-job training, just-in-time learning, mentoring, and training feedback. 

Also, mobile learning irons out most of the problems associated with traditional training methods. For instance, scheduling issues, mismatching of individual learning styles, high costs, etc. 

Accordingly, the shift to mobile technologies has increased the effectiveness of corporate training. Here are a few examples: 

  • Better course completion rate — Given the flexibility of mobile learning, learners don’t need specific schedules or locations to learn. This ability to learn anywhere and at any time accommodates most schedules, which encourages course completion.
  • Better knowledge retention — Mobile devices provide constant access to information, and learners can access their training just when they need it (e.g. before performing a task). This encourages frequent training reviews and increases knowledge retention.
  • Higher engagement — Mobile-based courses are tailored to individual learning needs, from content creation to delivery (e.g. videos, podcasts, interactive games). This increases the training’s engagement level and encourages participation from learners.
  • Faster learning — For companies with different worker schedules and physical branches, organizing a training program that suits everyone can be difficult. They would need different sessions across various locations and time zones, which only slows down the training.

Fortunately, mobile learning eliminates this need since the training can be accessed from anywhere and at any time.

Corporate eLearning Solutions

The Early 1990s

In the early 1990s, most organizations used videotapes for employee training. It was a faster and more effective alternative to textbooks, albeit with some disadvantages.

First, videotapes were expensive and not that accessible. For employees to access training, they needed to have the right equipment, which was costly. Second, videotapes offered limited interactions to learners, which made it hard to track progress or gain insight.

Meanwhile, a new higher-capacity storage device was catching on. One that was easier to mass-produce and required less equipment: the CD-ROM.

Earlier versions of CD-ROMs had limited storage capacities, which wasn’t ideal for storing training videos. But with the development of digital video discs (DVDs) soon after, companies could store entire encyclopedias. This was the end of videotapes.

The Late 1990s

By the end of the 1990s, DVDs had taken over as the default eLearning solution for most organizations. They were cheaper to mail across offices, ubiquitous, and more accessible. All you needed to access training was a computer.

Despite these advancements, DVDs still couldn’t track learning progress, nor give insight. Companies needed a more objective way of measuring training impact. This ushered in one of the earliest innovations in eLearning, the learning management systems (LMS).

The Early 2000s

Learning management systems offered what previous solutions lacked—the ability to track employees’ performance. It was a way for instructors to create and deliver training content, then assess students’ performance.

At the same time, advancements in internet speeds and computing power gave rise to online publishing. It was now possible for instructors to place classes online, track student progress, and communicate with learners in real-time. 

For the L&D industry, this was a transition from computer-based training (CBT) to web-based training (WBT). Soon, there were more eLearning solutions like live-instructor-led training or e-classrooms, where instructors could address individual learning needs.

From the days of videotaped training, eLearning has come a long way. Each solution was built on the disadvantages of the former. For the L&D industry, however, there’s always room for improvement.

Corporate Learning and Development Programs

In an increasingly competitive and automated workplace, employees’ roles continue to evolve. 

According to a recent McKinsey study, up to 800 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2030. To remain employable, a large number of workers will need upskilling and reskilling. 

For most organizations, this evolution points to mass training across departments, branches, and geographical locations. Consequently, companies will require scalable L&D programs and the ability to track progress.

Looking on as a manager, how do you undertake a training program of this scale? How do you keep track of progress?

  • Start by assessing your needs — You need to identify the gaps in capabilities across the entire company. What skills are lacking for the company to attain its long and short-term goals?
  • Design the training journey — Most large-scale training programs are delivered through digital formats (e.g., eLearning). Digital learning offers flexibility—which is vital for accommodating company-wide schedules—and is continuous.

Learners can always access training whether on the job, in their free time, or before performing a specific task. This continuous interaction with training reinforces the skills learned and promotes knowledge retention.

  • Measure progress — Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure your progress. While the full picture comes at the end, it is still possible to draw conclusions during the training journey.

The first indicator is your capabilities. What new capabilities does the company have? 

The second indicator is behavior. What are the newly-trained workers doing differently?

The third indicator is business performance. How close are you to your short and long-term goals?

Your responses should give you an accurate measure of how effective a training program is. In some cases, a few tweaks are enough to turn things around. In other instances, your L&D may need overhauling.

The following are trends in the L&D industry.

Gamification: Taking the Boredom Out of Training

Gamification is one of the trends taking shape in the L&D industry. Organizations are introducing gaming elements to their learning environments. These elements include interactiveness, fun, and engagement.

The idea is that games create conducive conditions for developing new skills and promoting behavioral change. For example, interaction and engagement make learners more motivated, while fun makes the learning experience memorable. 

The result is better rates of course completion and better knowledge retention.

The Rise of Big Data

For all involved, the incorporation of big data technologies in L&D has advanced the scope of analytics. There’s more engagement data for trainers, greater impact assessments, and deeper insights for companies.

Consequently, big data is now the basis of most corporate decisions. From determining current and future training needs to developing learning strategies, businesses now rely on big data to inform these decisions.

The result is that corporate training is becoming more effective and businesses are realizing better ROI.

Microlearning: Bite-Sized Training

With today’s fast-paced and busy schedules, there is never enough time. Overtime is no longer so much about getting ahead as it is about keeping up. So how do you fit training into already-packed schedules? Microlearning.

Microlearning involves breaking down coursework into small learning units. As such, learners can go through these units at their own time and pace. For instance, while commuting to work or waiting for the next meeting to start, etc.

As a result, microlearning has led to better course completion rates, information retention, and is among the disruptive trends in L&D.

Corporate Learning and Development Strategy

For a large and diverse audience, you need a blend of strategies to keep the learners engaged. The following are suggestions on how to integrate various L&D trends into your strategy.

  • Embrace agile learning — This method uses incremental steps to facilitate faster learning. As such, the learning journey is broken down into small learning units—much like microlearning.
  • Adopt social learning strategies — This is a great way of offsetting the forgetting curve. Social learning makes the learning journey more interesting and engaging. This could be through gamification, peer learning, etc.
  • Measure progress — Leverage big data systems to assess your progress towards training objectives. This could be the capabilities you’ve developed, behavioral changes, or business performance.

Along with these suggestions, you will also need to execute your strategy at scale. This implies a team of trainers coordinating the company-wide training. The problem is this can take time and money, but there’s a cheaper and faster alternative.

The Quantic School of Business & Technology takes a collaborative approach to training. With its mobile-based curriculum and global professional network, Quantic specializes in large-scale training and efficacy

Quantic’s virtual learning program connects learners and encourages their collaboration through team projects. Whether in different states or time zones, employees work together on simulations and challenges, with trainers available for support.

How Modern Corporate Learning Drives Competitive Advantage

Better, faster, smarter. The hallmarks of a dominant company, courtesy of modern L&D.

Today’s corporate learning is such that companies can accurately tell why this month’s training was more effective. Companies can explain why employee output was greater last quarter, or why the cost of training per employee is lower this year.

On data and insight alone, the old ways just can’t keep up. But beyond data is the results. Here’s an example of a modern L&D program, through Quantic School of Business and Technology.

This makes the learning experience faster, more efficient, and more effective than traditional training techniques.

Your company is sure to gain competitive advantages in performance, sustainability, and enhanced capabilities. The program implements scenario-based training to solve business questions like, “How can we work more efficiently?” “What are our limiting factors of productivity?” “What skills do we need to develop?”  

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Employees Need Training?

Yes. Without full-scale training, your company limits its ability to gain new capacities, retain top talent, and boost performance. This then limits your company’s competitive edge. 

What Makes for Good Corporate Training?

The training has to be specific to your company’s needs and objectives. This involves reviewing your employee’s needs as well as the company’s capabilities and goals. The training must also have a way of measuring effectiveness (e.g., key performance indicators).


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