Insights from the inside; what does the future hold for training?

The bewildering pace of change in all aspects of life over the first and second quarters of 2020 prompted us to ask some of our expert trainers for their take on what learning in 2021 will look like. Lisa Hughes and Felicity McCarthy put their blue-sky-thinking hats on and presented us with some very interesting food for thought. Here’s what they said.

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Felicity: Training and education has been available online for some time now, it’s not a new concept at all. Now that the classroom environment is temporarily off the table, online is the only option. What this results in is that the organisations which can deliver very high quality training online will be at a significant advantage. Of course, in education, it is not just about the technology. For me, the blend of online delivery, but with the personal touch, is going to be critical for people to have a truly positive learning experience.
Lisa: Learning will continue to be a blend of online pre-course work and live, virtual delivery that will be enriched and supported by in real life group work and exercises. We learn as much from each other as a group and the relationships that are formed in our learning experience as we do from the content, so online learning will become more interactive, engaging and less like traditional lectures.

Lisa: Recent emerging trends in ‘asynchronous’ co-operation have shown that geographically and time zone diverse teams can now build on each other’s ideas as they appear. This is still very new to many businesses, where brainstorming in person or online in one time zone can potentially continue elsewhere, while the original team sleeps. Innovation in education often mirrors business, so this is something to watch out for.
Felicity: In the past few months we’ve seen great examples of how quickly businesses have innovated and rapidly learned how to use technology to deliver products and services to customers and clients. There is also something of an acceleration in business’s need for their staff to have the most up-to-date skills so they can drive businesses and careers forward, even in uncertain times.

Felicity: There is likely to be a surge in self-directed learning. Consumers can take courses, go at their own pace, move quickly or slowly. Those who are highly motivated will be at a significant advantage, they will upskill quickly. I would predict more sophisticated training being able to adapt to the learner. This should create more dynamic training experiences where each learner receives an almost personalised learning experience enabled by technology.

Lisa: As someone who loves to learn I am excited that the future is about continuously learning, growing, re-inventing our skills and ourselves.  The future is uncertain yes, but that also means it’s full of possibilities: learning, making progress and continuing to move forward are key elements of human happiness. Rather than ceasing to learn when we leave school or college it’s now an ongoing process where acquiring new skills for the world of work and beyond.

Felicity: Increasing availability of education online has created a global marketplace, presenting both opportunities and challenges. Arguably a huge amount of choice should be a positive for the consumer, but there’s still a ‘Buyer Beware’ that it can lead to distinct variety in quality, at both the low-end and the high-end of education providers.
Lisa: Without the limitations of accessibility or need for co-location in education, now those who are differently-abled or remotely located can participate more fully in learning and build the skills that will create a truly diverse workforce and leadership, both at home and globally.

Lisa Hughes is an experienced Executive Coach, Trainer and Facilitator, designing and delivering programmes for Irish Times Training for over 10 years, working with individuals and teams on Leadership Development, People Management, Resilience Building and Successful Change Management. 

Felicity McCarthy has worked on the cutting edge of the technology sector for 20 years with companies like Facebook, eBay & Dell to name just a few. Felicity is now an independent digital marketing consultant and trainer, delivering digital marketing training with Irish Times Training since 2012.
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