5 Essential Training Trends for 2021

Okay, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the expected dominant training trend of 2021. 2020 was the year of virtual training, and 2021 will be, well, the other year of virtual training. But when we’re looking ahead, it’s not enough to simply say we’ll all be working from home for the foreseeable future. What’s the best way to spend that stay-at-home time, and, as trainers, where should we focus our energy? In our analysis, five trends emerged. Two are specific skill sets, and the others focus on maintaining connections in our newly minted virtual working world. Here are five essential training trends for 2021.

1. Self-Mastery

In the end, what can be more important than keeping your workforce happy and sane? Self-mastery — courses that focus on “non-business” individual skills to help people reach their potential — came on strong in 2020, and the trend is expected to continue in 2021. According to techrepublic.com, “Anxiety management, resilience training, stress management each saw more than a 1,000% surge in use on Udemy for Business, with meditation and mindfulness training increasing by 886% and 784%, respectively. Udemy said that the “’increased demand for productivity and mental health skills indicates that employees are adamant about mastering their minds and taking control of their time.’” 2020 was a struggle for most of us; recognizing that employees need help and providing them with tools that make them feel productive and fulfilled will build trust and loyalty in your organization. And remember, self-mastery does not have to be a solo flight. For example, our team has hosted online Zoom workouts and a monthly book club for our Innovators. Starting off virtual calls with five minutes of “water cooler time” just to talk together can help conquer isolation while also relieving stress.

2. Upskilling

With so many employees working from home, 2021 is an ideal time for upskilling and reskilling. What are the major knowledge or skills gaps in your organization? What skills can you teach that will move employees toward higher-value work and make them more productive in the future? While trainers are, of course, always looking for gaps and trying to fill them, we often find there’s not sufficient time to teach employees skills that they already know.” In many organizations, the thirst for new technologies can get ahead of the appetite for training. 2021 provides an opportunity to get back to basics when needed, enhance skills where gaps don’t exist, and teach new skills in an ever-changing workplace.

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3. Collaboration

How can you help employees continue to work as a team when they’re no longer in the same workplace? Many companies are finding that the key to workplace harmony lies in stressing collaboration during training. Most workers will eventually return to the office in some form, and maintaining cohesive teams will be a key competitive advantage when that day comes. Focusing on collaboration comes in two forms:
  • Soft skills courses that stress collaboration: Courses in listening skills, communication skills, business etiquette, and conflict management may be more important than ever in a virtual world.
  • Training courses on any subject with built-in collaboration: Gamification, for example, pushes trainees to work together throughout the training. And good old-fashioned team exercises work nearly as well in a virtual setting.

4. Augmented and Virtual Reality

Perhaps the moment has arrived for AR and VR to become ubiquitous in training. More and more industries are investing in these immersive technologies and for good reason: If you can’t take the trainee to the environment, bring the environment to the trainee. VR is not just for NASA anymore. AR and VR are being used to train doctors, students, drivers, and a variety of other professions. Your company’s use of these exciting technologies — loved by Millennials and Gen Z — is limited only by your imagination.

5. Staff Augmentation

Staying at home in 2021 doesn’t mean staying idle. The new, unexplored work-from-home world is a major opportunity for trainers to show their value in keeping our organizations together, building loyalty, and enhancing much-needed skills. Likewise, companies have the opportunity to staff their teams with qualified contingent workers should they experience cutbacks. For example, one of our very own clients utilized our Innovators on Demand® service to fill in needed hours so their employee could work less hours to be home with their kids. What a wonderful solution to accommodate their employee’s needs!
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Meet the Innovator: Doug Wooldridge

One of the newest Innovators to join our employee team, but certainly not new to ttcInnovations, is Doug Wooldridge! You might recognize the name being

About the Author:

Allan Dodson is so much more than a writer and instructional designer. He’s helped develop strategy in Fortune 500 boardrooms, and he’s taught acting skills to 4th graders.  He’s developed training programs for everything from hair highlighting to pest control to DSL lines, and he’s made presentations to C-level execs, teachers (tough crowd!) and all workforce levels. In short, he has the experience, versatility, creativity, and energy to move projects large and small, and he’s ready for any challenge.

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