Human resources staffs and learning and development professionals are combining proven, trusted instruction methods with new technologies to deliver learning and skills-building in the workplace, a new report from CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global information technology (IT) industry, reveals.
This hybrid model of learning and development allows training programs to be personalised to the needs of specific organisations and individuals without sacrificing the tried-and-true methods that are essential to the learner experience, according to CompTIA’s “Workforce and Learning Trends 2020” report.
“Artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, augmented and virtual reality and other innovations are creating new options for workplace training,” said Charles Eaton, CompTIA’s executive vice president for social innovation and CEO of Creating IT Futures.
“In some instances, however, having too many options can make it a challenge to identify the innovations that are the best fit for each unique audience of learners,” Eaton continued. “The choice for many instructors is to blend familiar learning and certification methods with some technological enhancements.”
This move toward a “seamless, blended” learning experience is one of six trends identified in the report that are impacting the training market.
• The pace of change requires agility on many fronts.
• L&D increasingly shapes strategic direction, but resources don’t always follow.
• A soft skills gap is bringing a new focus on challenges and solutions.
• Subject-matter experts remain core to the learning experience
• Talent shortages push the reskilling and upskilling envelope.
• L&D aspires to create the seamless, blended experiences learners expect.
The ability to be agile is critical to the success of training and development programs, but once again the rapid pace of innovation can challenge even the best efforts and plans. Nearly half of survey respondents from large organisations (45%) and one-third from medium and small firms rated a lack of agility as their top concern.
“To make learning and development more agile, organisations cannot afford to view training as a one-time event,” said Stephanie Morgan, director of education and ed-tech labs at CompTIA. “The skills you train employees for today are not the skills they’re going to need in five years. Agility requires broadening the tools in use and the skills taught, and fully embracing an ‘always learning’ mind-set.”
Upskilling employees (and reskilling) are important responses to the persistent “skills gaps” that many organisations say they face. In the CompTIA report, 52% of respondents said they rely on an even mix of hiring and upskilling to close skills gaps in their organisations.
Most respondents also believe that a strong learning and development program can contribute to the strategic direction of their organisations. Two-thirds said that learning and development is viewed as a strategic priority rather than an operational cost within their organisations. Still, budget limitations are a concern, with 39% of organisations citing insufficient investment as a barrier to an effective learning program.
The budget issue is linked to persistent questions about the return on investment in reskilling and upskilling efforts. More than one-third of respondents (37%) expressed a desire for training to help them become more data driven, which may reflect a desire to better measure the impact of learning and development programs.
CompTIA’s “Workforce and Learning Trends 2020” report is based on a survey of 400 HR and learning and development professionals across a range of industry sectors and company sizes in the United States. The complete report is available at https://www.comptia.org/content/research/it-workforce-learning-trends-analysis.