Training in 2021: what you need to know

With everything that 2020 threw at us, you know that L&D plays a big role in ensuring that your workforce are ready for unexpected challenges and that L&D is also a fast-changing area that has been changed for good over the last year.

So what are the key things you should be looking out for in 2021?

Power skills will be the focus

Power skills is just another word for soft skills really! But companies are aware that the changing working landscape requires upskilling in those skills necessary to manage a remote workforce. Even IBM has rewritten its list most important skills with soft skills overtaking tech skills. For IBM the top 4 skills are agility, time management and prioritisation, team-working and communication.

The world economic forum identified the top 10 skills needed for future work:

One key point we are seeing is that companies are realising that they should be doing soft skills training in the language that employees are doing these soft skills in: if teamwork is within an international, remote team, training focussed on teamwork and communication should be done in English.

Using your own company’s human resources

We all know about the 70-20-10 rule of learning. What about bringing the 20 and 10 parts of your training together, by having current employees involved in formal training programmes, either sharing their knowledge or as an example of what learners should be aiming for? Or using real case studies from your business and industry during trainings? What about a learning day, showcasing real learning from within your company?

A good training organisation should be able to work with you to provide these within their training programmes.


We saw in 2020 the importance of being able to pivot at a moment’s notice. Employees themselves have to be agile, as do L&D departments: the training sessions that were planned for 2020 probably didn’t happen exactly how and when they were supposed to! Working with agile external training providers is also key. You don’t want your staff to be left hanging because the training organisation hasn’t been able to adapt their training and methodologies quickly enough.

In my training organisation this year, a lot of training was on hold as clients found their footing in the new work from home situation, but we took this time to recreate a lot of our training programmes as 100% online courses. This doesn’t mean just doing the same training on Zoom, it meant looking at the instructional design of the programmes to create new virtual learning experiences.

Blended Learning

Blended learning traditionally combines e-learning with face-to-face sessions. The new blended learning may well be a combination of digital programmes with virtual training and perhaps some in-person sessions (hopefully!) Learners miss the human interaction, which is not provided by digital learning, so combining the two at least brings the human element and the digital part provides some respite from speaking to people through Zoom or Teams.

A good virtual training should be able to give learners the feeling of human interaction, even through a screen.


We are bombarded with more and more apps, digital information, content, social media and we just don’t have the time to spend hours on one course. Miocrolearning breaks down learning into bite-sized pieces, which are either available for learners to access at their own pace (pull learning) or are sent to learners at regular intervals (push learning.)

For our professional English training courses, we offer a blended programme with Gymglish, a fun and adaptive microlearning platform. Learners get a 15 minute lesson sent to them 5 days a week. For our workshops, this is something we are going to be offering in 2021 as an add-on: access to a platform with short videos and learning content as a follow-up to a virtual or in-person workshop.

Microlearning can also be in the form of an optional “lunch and learn” programme: now that we are all working virtually, you can organise lunch and learn masterclasses with the whole of your multinational company!

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