Does the survey offer any deep insights into the state of L&D today?

The Global L&D Sentiment Survey published by Donald Taylor is now in its eight-year and the number of respondents is higher than ever with over 3,000 people from 95 countries voting this year. You can access the full report on Donald Taylor’s website.

Of course, we all know that the last twelve months or more have been like no other period in recent global history in terms of the level of disruption to normal working practices in just about every industry sector and every region across the globe.

It is therefore less than surprising to learn that the priorities of L&D people have shifted dramatically from the previous in a way not seen in any other survey. The most dramatic change is that for the first time in the survey history a priority introduced only this year has gone straight to the number one slot. The newly introduced priority is termed ‘Reskilling/Upskilling’.

If reskilling/upskilling is the big winner in the race to the top, what about the losers? Well, these were many of the other priorities that have been passed on over the survey years including learning analytics, personalised learning, learning experience platforms, microlearning, artificial intelligence amongst others. In a nutshell, the losers are all ‘new toys’ that L&D has been seeking to find a problem to fix.

To my mind, reskilling/upskilling covers every use case for workplace learning. Workplace learning is, or should be, focused on providing people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to successfully and productively undertake their role which will involve either upskilling or reskilling an individual for a specific role.

Analysing the survey data a little further surfaces the fact that the only other priorities to increase or retain their position this year were social/collaborating learning (2), coaching/mentoring (6), performance support (10) and mobile delivery (11). The first two of these highlight the fact that the most effective and preferred mode of learning is, and always has been, synchronous and facilitated by people. The second two indicate the importance of providing training at the exact point of need, anywhere and at any time.

So, in my mind, the main takeaway from the 2021 survey is that in the last year L&D professionals, teams and operations have focused on doing just what it says on the tin, delivering learning and development for their people. I’m not sure we really needed the investment in a 3,000-person survey to tell us this. Surely this is the normal response of most of us to such a crisis situation – you need to get back to basic needs and just do what needs to be done i.e. retrain people to be productive and competent in the new ways of working forced upon us all.

If this has offered you food for thought in terms of how you want to direct your learning & development efforts for the coming year, why not research our comprehensive multi-publisher catalogue offering a huge range of courses on all these subjects here to find the courses you need to support your organisation in 2021 and beyond?