In a knowledge economy, no business can beat the competition and remain profitable without reskilling and upskilling employees. Enterprises from various industries must focus on employee learning and development to improve the employees’ efficiency, productivity, and performance consistently. Also, employee learning and development programs help enterprises to improve employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover.

According to Forbes.com,

A whopping 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Development is no longer an optional perk or reserved for only certain positions. It’s expected by today’s talent.

But the employee learning and development trends change from time to time. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created many new employee learning and development trends by making employers allow employees to work from home. Some of these trends will remain relevant in 2021 despite employees returning to offices. But employee learning and development will be transformed and defined by several new trends in 2021.

No organization can upskill and reskill its workforce successfully without adopting the current and emerging trends in employee learning and development early. The trends will help managers to boost the performance of employee training programs as well as motivate the employees to hone their skills and knowledge. We have shortlisted some of the hottest employee learning and development trends for 2021 by gathering information from diverse online sources.

9 Employee Learning and Development Trends Organizations Must Look for in 2021

Personalized Learning

While implementing online employee training, most organizations emphasize enabling employees to learn at their own pace and convenience using mobile devices. But they cannot boost the performance of online training programs in 2021 without focusing on learning experience personalization.

While creating eLearning materials, the writers have to personalize the content according to an employee’s ability, skill, knowledge, and experience. Also, they need to keep the learners engaged by implementing microlearning concepts. At the same time, the organizations must invest in the right learning management system to keep the personalized learning experience seamless.

Culture of Learning

The organizations will make workforce upskilling and reskilling an ongoing process to increase revenue and beat the competition. They have to persuade and motivate employees to acquire knowledge, information, and ideas on a daily basis. No organization can motivate employees to learn without developing a culture of learning.

In addition to launching new training programs regularly, many businesses will emphasize developing a culture of learning. While building a culture of learning, the decision-makers have to focus on two key things – convince employees to make learning an everyday activity and make employees learn every day through engagement and motivation.

Soft Skill Development

According to the American Management Association (ASA),

Research conducted with Fortune 500 CEOs by the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Melon Foundation, found that 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge.

While planning and designing training programs in 2021, decision-makers have to focus on improving employees’ interpersonal skills. They will implement a slew of training programs to make employees acquire and hone essential soft skills like communication, collaboration, creativity, adaptability, persuasion, strategic thinking, and emotional intelligence.


In 2021, businesses cannot attract and retain talent only by offering attractive employee benefits packages. They have to complement the employee benefits packages with opportunities to enhance professional profiles. Many employees will love to work with organizations that enhance their professional profiles by offering courses and certifications.

The large organizations will help employees to join sought-after courses by tying up with premiere universities and educational institutions. Also, most organizations will issue certificates to employees on the completion of courses and training programs.


Microlearning is one of the hottest trends in employee learning and development. It is all set to make the ebooks, lengthy videos, and conventional training materials obsolete in the near future.

According to the statistics posted on KnowledgeForceConsulting.com,

Microlearning can decrease development costs by 50% and increase the speed of development by 300%.

While preparing eLearning content in 2021, the content creators have to focus on conveying information in bite-sized learning units. The microlearning units will make employees acquire the knowledge and skin required to accomplish a specific goal. Also, they will enable employees to acquire knowledge without putting in extra time and effort.


According to the gamification statistics available on FinancesOnline.com,

12% of employees who receive non-gamified training are unproductive, higher than those who receive gamified training (3%).

Unlike conventional employee training, gamified training makes employees acquire and retain knowledge by keeping them engaged and motivated.

But the content creators cannot gamify employee learning programs without adopting the gamification strategies preferred by adult learners like progressing to the next level, competing with other learners, getting scores/points, and becoming part of a story. The content creators have to combine gamification and storytelling strategies to create content that makes employees more productive.

Digital and Virtual Learning Integration

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic compelled most organizations to switch to digital learning models. Many organizations enable employees to learn over the internet using learning management systems (LMSs) and virtual classroom software. But businesses have been switching from digital learning to virtual learning to boost employee engagement and efficiency.

In 2021, most organizations will bridge the gap between digital learning and virtual learning by leveraging virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. They will allow employees to access a wide variety of digital content over the internet using both computers and mobile devices. But they will use AR and VR technologies to create learning environments where employees can acquire knowledge by interacting with virtual elements.

Remote Work Collaboration

According to the Economic Times,

A number of companies like Tata Steel, Philips, Infosys and Maruti Suzuki are evaluating job roles that will enable employees to work from home or remotely permanently even after the pandemic.

But no business can sustain operational efficiency in the near future without improving the productivity and performance of the employees in a distributed work environment.

The leading companies already reskill and upskill employees by focusing on remote collaboration. They have launched online employee training programs that prepare employees to communicate and collaborate with coworkers across teams and departments by honing key skills like social awareness, communication, and listening.

Business Performance Improvement

While planning and designing employee learning programs, managers often focus on workforce reskilling and upskilling. But many organizations already make the learning programs more effective by focusing on business performance instead of skills. They emphasize meeting changes in business requirements by training and skilling employees.

While designing employee learning programs in 2021, many managers will focus on meeting business requirements and enhancing business performance. They will leverage the real-time data collected from various sources to align employee learning and development to specific business performance goals.

In 2021, every organization must focus on workforce learning and development to enhance employees’ efficiency, productivity, performance, and satisfaction. They must adopt these key employee learning and development trends early and proactively while planning and designing employee training programs. But the decision-makers must remember that the trends in employee learning and development will change regularly in 2021.