12 L&D trends to expect in 2021

Mindset shifts, skills and product developments you can expect to see more of in 2021 and beyond.

Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer

12 L&D trends to expect in 2021

Who could have predicted what happened in 2020? We certainly didn’t see a global pandemic and year of lockdown around the corner this time last year, but that’s not going to stop us setting our predictions for 2021.

The most obvious prediction? What’s happened this year has set the scene for what’s to come next.

L&D mind-set shifts 

1. Social learning
Gone are the days of people feeling uncomfortable behind the camera. We’ve been living in a world where screens and cameras are pretty much the only option for human interaction. It’s second nature to us now and next year we’re going to see user generated content take off. 

A lot of L&D teams will question letting their learners lose on their LXP or LMS but we’ve had a year of trust. So, it’s time to let that go. If you can trust your employees to work at home you can trust them to post content too. 

2. Communication and community
This year comms has become a huge talking point for L&D. With workforces becoming more dispersed and the need for community, belonging and information higher than ever, we’ve already noticed a high demand for the communication features in THRIVE LXP.

In 2021, lots of switched-on L&D teams will be coupling learning with communication to help their teams feel connected, better informed and get the answers they need.

3. Achieving more by working less
Auto-curation, auto-reporting, auto-onboarding and auto-campaigns. The world of L&D is getting techier. With the increase in demand for more modern learning platforms, features like automation will become a big priority next year.

Let’s face it we’re all busy, automation as part of your learning system is intrinsic to maximise output whilst not compromising on quality of work.

4. Understanding learner behaviour 
You’re already big on reporting but is knowing your organisation’s compliant enough? Data will continue to be a big topic in 2021 and more forward-thinking L&D teams will make understanding learner behaviour a part of their L&D strategy.

Few traditional LMS’s capture all the engagement data you need to paint a picture of your audience. But lots more modern learning experience platforms, like THRIVE LXP, are doing the hard work for you and presenting it in a way that’s foolproof.

Take a look at this blog; data questions your LMS should answer to learn how to use data to better understand your users and deliver learning that lands or explore our excellent Data Lab service which works with your team to measure the real impact of learning activity.

Learning platform product development  


5. Integrations
With the increase in remote working, companies' tech stacks are getting bigger. Fosway research found 84% of L&D leaders believe it's more important than ever to integrate digital learning into corporate collaboration platforms, that means requirements for integrations are going to be big on the agenda next year. 

Explore our full list of integrations and see how we can help your tech stack work smarter.

6. Broadcasts
The most impactful learning platforms replicate the learning experiences we have in our personal lives and this is a feature we see L&D teams and business leaders using a lot in 2021. 

Live streaming has become one of the most powerful social learning tools. It’s truly authentic, allows your people to build relationships and it’s instant, your people can live moments as they happen live.

We recently launched our own broadcast tool in THRIVE LXP and it’s already being used in disruptive companies like DECIEM and SKY TV.

7. UI & UX
88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience. The same goes for your learning management system. A poor UI & UX leaves your learners bored, frustrated and unwilling to return.

We’ll see more companies move away from traditional LMS’s and move towards next gen LXP’s which are made for consumers in the age of social media who have come to expect flawless digital experiences.

8. Anywhere, anytime learning
Multi-device, on the go learning has been around for a long while but it’s become a bigger requirement than ever. Why? Because ways of working are evolving and self-directed learning habits are on the rise. That means your learners need continuous access to the answers they’re looking for at all times of the day, wherever they’re working. 

Workplace skills 

9. Diversity and inclusion 
With the Black Lives Matter movement shining a light on the diversity issues we face both in our everyday lives and in the workplace, we expect to see more companies transition from equality and diversity to diversity and inclusion. 

This isn’t just something that’s going to be demanded by HR teams but increasingly employees and customers want to know where brands stand on important issues. So giving your people the access to relevant information and training is going to be essential.

10. Human skills
Whether it’s adaptability, empathy, resilience or patience, this year has certainly put our more human skills to the test. Lots of companies will be taking these soft skills through to 2021 as they continue to navigate through change and adapt to a new world of work.

11. Hot topics
L&D teams will really need to put their agility skills to the test next year as we see campaign learning on the rise! This refers to timely topics which require L&D teams to listen to their learners and be reactive with content that’s relevant.

Some examples from this year that we created for the Content Club include Movember, Mental Health Awareness Week, Black Lives Matter, Remembering the kindness at Christmas and of course, Covid-19. 


12. Remote working 
Working from home isn’t going away. With new ways of working come new skills. Whether it’s communication, managing teams from home or digital skills, your employees need to upskill today to take on tomorrow.

That’s it. Lots of lessons we’ll be carrying through to 2021 with us, what’s on the cards for you?



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