Learning and Development has changed exponentially over the last few years largely due to the advancement of the internet. 2020 has been no different….if anything the change has accelerated. 2021 will bring its own challenges to the world of Learning and Development, new ways of learning and new subjects being required. Below are some of the challenges and developments that you may have faced within the Learning and Development world during 2020, or should expect in 2021, with some ideas on how to encompass them.

people interacting on a virtual classroom screen


We live in a highly personalised world. We are used to personalised emails from strangers, Spotify customising our music choices and Facebook deciding which adverts we may like. A major challenge for organisations is that employees are now requesting more relevant and personalised training. Employees are starting to demand that their training programmes are relevant to their specific requirements to help them progress with their personal and professional development. Roles that offer significant personal learning and development are an attractive proposition even when they offer a lower salary. Significant personal development is proven to improve staff retentions rates too. When creating learning for your people, you should be thinking about how relevant the learning is to that person and the challenges they face, their career aspirations and how they prefer to learn and digest content. One size no longer fits all!


Let us be honest some Learning and Development training can be just plain boring! So a robust development strategy needs to have considered how to keep people engaged. Employees who has disengaged with the learning content will usually eventually drop out of the programme as they no longer see the benefit in attending. There are many practical ways you can keep people engaged. Providing personal learning plans, encouraging self-assessment as well as conducting frequent formative assessment will all help in a learner feeling involved and owning their learning. Gamification is also a useful tool. It helps participants practice real life situations in a secure environment, leading to more effective knowledge retention. It’s fun and can provide the essential entertainment that so often is missing but which will help the learning and retention process. Encouraging online communities, discussions and multiple touchpoints is a fabulous way of creating a sense of connection and belonging. Awareness of the individual’s different learning preferences can work to your advantage; having a healthy balance between these, means that all of your learners will find the learning engaging.


Both the Millennials and the Gen Z generations have grown up with on-demand style content and now require the same service within their working environment, training being no different. Learning and Development companies need to ensure that their learning content is made in many different forms and are easily accessible for their people. Having this style of on-demand content available for your employees means they can learn at a time that suits them and in an environment that suits their learning style, especially with how popular flexible working environments are becoming. Allowing people to be as flexible with their learning like they are with their working means they can improve performance when they find it convenient.


Once again this reinforces the point of providing an on-demand service. With the growth of software like Netflix and YouTube, people are finding it harder to sit down and absorb learning through a purely classroom style. However, having a video of the session available means that they can watch the learning in the same format as their favourite TV series. Learning content in a video format can be watched on numerous occasions so the opportunity for refreshing knowledge is much greater.

Internal Talent Pool

Hiring new members to join the organisation can be as we know, expensive. This is why you should have an internal pool filled with talent, being continually developed so they are ready to step into more demanding and senior roles. Providing learning and development to all members within the organisation can help them feel they are empowered and ready to take on a role with more responsibility. It will also help you identify your high potential and understand the career aspirations of your people.

To find out more about how we have successfully delivered leadership focused learning & development solutions for the world’s most successful companies call: (0)1279 652255 in the UK. Alternatively, you can find out more about OnTrack International by contacting us by visiting our website.