Industry Insights

Corporate Training Trends for 2021 & Beyond

Posted by Alexandra Harris on Sep 9, 2020 11:33:49 AM

Welcome. No year has ever been as difficult for those involved in corporate training and professional development than 2020. With constant adaptations, disruptions, and adjustments, businesses have naturally had other priorities to navigate, but that doesn’t mean that corporate training has been totally forgotten about. Quite the opposite, in fact, businesses have had to train their people to adjust and adapt throughout the year, by being reactive, agile, and robust throughout.

So, during this volatile time, what are the corporate training trends that have shaped 2020 as a year of major change for learning and development? We have seven trends to walk you through today…

Corporate training trends for 2020 and beyond

Embracing a workplace learning culture

What businesses want from their employees is for them to continually strive to improve themselves and their work, which of course results in an improved workforce and more capable individuals. While self-study is part of that, and it was heavily encouraged during the lockdown, there is also a considerable responsibility on the part of businesses to develop and introduce effective training programs that staff can opt-in or out of. Companies who develop their staff often do better at keeping them, and by creating initiatives to learn, they can help to develop a culture of learning. A new part of this trend that we’ve seen in 2021 is businesses asking their learners ‘What do you want to learn about?’, rather than deciding for them.

Experiential learning

Here at StratX ExL, not only do we vouch for experiential learning as the best method of corporate training, we get to see the results directly in the people and businesses that we work with. All of the theoretical corporate training in the world is somewhat a lost opportunity without giving professionals the opportunity to put it into action. Through business simulation games, individuals and teams can work on both hard and soft skills that really gives businesses an opportunity to discover talents in their workforce that they might have been unaware of.

A combination of soft and hard skills for personal development

With many businesses spending the last decade investing heavily in technology to automate processes, we have now reached a point where systems can operate independently. As a result, we have seen greater emphasis placed on the skills only humans can achieve: soft skills. Businesses are embracing creativity, leadership, innovation, growth mindset, and communication as the key areas for development to improve workplace satisfaction and productivity. Soft skills cannot be developed overnight, as nobody can suddenly become creative, so the trend this year is about implementing methodologies that allow employees to get exposure to activities, experiences, and training sessions (like workshops) that will help them to unlock their hidden talents in a structured way.

While automation is feared to make some technical hard skills obsolete, the need for hard skills that cannot be replaced by automation such as business acumen, strategic thinking and customer-centricity will continue to be critical in the business world. Learning programs that enhance a mixture of both soft and hard skills will be the most beneficial for professional development.

Integrated digital learning opportunities

With fewer distractions, greater interaction and involvement, the benefits that face-to-face training sessions, workshops, and seminars bring are undeniable and are harder to be replicated by the virtual environment. However, the modern day learner expects to have greater flexibility and to be able to access their training partially or fully digitally. We access everything through our phones and laptops, so why should corporate training be any different? Of course, this requires a large investment and some research and development to find the best way to seamlessly integrate digital learning experiences into the natural workflow of the organisation.

A personalized learning experience for all

This is the great challenge for school and university teachers around the world, asking ‘how do I meet the individual learning needs of all of my students?’. Without the aid of technology, it’s almost impossible, as businesses are finding as they seek to embrace personalisation. In 2021, the needs of the individual and their impact going upwards will start to outweigh the needs of the business and their impact being driven downwards. Job and industry-specific content must be designed and delivered in a way that employees feel that the material is made just for them, in a way that they want to learn, with some autonomy over their learning experience.

Drawing from the wealth of expertise within

In 2020, a corporate training trend that we’ve seen grow in popularity is to ask people within the business to create user-generated content, talking about certain topics or processes that they have great knowledge and experience with. Panels, Q&As, webinars, blogs, and collaborative video content are all growing in popularity, and it all starts with the company setting up a platform or portal for this content to be hosted on. This medium also allows employees to take control of the narrative of the learning and also make choices about what they want to learn about and who from.

At StratX ExL, we partner with our clients from design to content, because who better to delve into the specifics than the experts within the business itself.

And finally…

Blended learning in the workplace

Businesses want all of their employees to take advantage of their training schemes and educational materials, but it’s quite difficult to ensure a total balance. Some people have more intense jobs than others, some work different shifts, and others are on the road visiting clients - so how can a business find a balance for everyone? Well, blended learning is a start, a format in which the education is done both digitally and in-person does give trainers a great deal of flexibility. This trend embraces the idea that everyone learns differently, by introducing a digital learning aspect which can be performed in various different online methods (games, quizzes, simulations etc). In 2021, with social distancing, lockdowns, and workplaces having to adjust, being able to do physical training with smaller groups who can then move to an online platform really do make blended learning more essential than ever.


No matter which trend you decide to implement, an engagement-focused approach is key to unlocking the best learning potential of professionals. Discover how experiential learning is a proven method that drives engagement both online and offline by downloading our experiential learning user’s guide.

Learn More About Experiential Learning

Alternatively, consider downloading our new Leadership development trends whitepaper which includes the top 6 L&D Trends for 2021

Leadership Development Trends Whitepaper

Topics: Learning & Development, Experiential Learning, Blended Learning, Trends

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