Skillsoft, a leader in digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organisations unleash their edge, today released Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report. Following a year that brought a pandemic, an uncertain global economy, and worldwide social reform, the report illustrates the long-overdue social, cultural, and organisational change that resulted, and the critical role of learning in building a future-fit, resilient workforce.

As the workforce transitioned to operating remotely, consumption of learning content increased exponentially, and new topics emerged as not just popular but mission-critical. Widespread training was needed to help workers pivot to the skills required to collaborate in a virtual world. At the forefront was the development of “power skills,” including agility, communication, resiliency, and adaptability. Necessary and applicable across industries, departments, and disciplines, power skills equip individuals and organisations to be successful in challenging times.

Learners continued to shift course, adapting and consuming content that enabled prolific skill gains on a number of future-fit topics. Skillsoft’s report highlights trends and the learning behaviours of more than 1.1 million unique learners – examining which skills are most in-demand across topic areas, including business, digital resilience, and technology. Safety and compliance were also a focus as new COVID-19 prevention regulations were put into place. Top course growth includes:
– 552 per cent growth in Encouraging Team Communication and Collaboration
– 652 per cent growth in Agile Software Development
– 367 per cent overall global increase in diversity, equity, and inclusion content accessed
– 407 per cent Trust Building Through Effective Communication

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) courses saw a surge across industries and disciplines, illustrated by a 367 per cent overall global increase in diversity content accessed on the platform. Between May and June, completions of a course on Understanding Unconscious Bias grew by 1200 per cent. The future of work requires real diversity, true equity, and meaningful inclusion. A Gartner study on Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams predicts that, “through 2022, 75 per cent of organisations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets”*. As the business world continues to expand through digital transformation and globalisation, products, and solutions must address the needs of a wide variety of people.

“This year has been transformational in so many ways, galvanising our collective mission to succeed, grow, and persist,” said Ron Hovsepian, executive chairman, Skillsoft. “Work has changed irrevocably, and building a truly future-fit, resilient workforce requires access to the tools needed to learn and achieve. We envision a world where learning is democratised, establishing an engaged, active, and optimistic workforce prepared to face the challenges of the future.”

The confluence of extreme circumstances accelerated digital transformation. A recent McKinsey Global Survey of executives found that organisations have accelerated the digitisation of internal operations by three to four years while their digital product offerings have accelerated by seven years**. For many organisations, this means new investments in technology, changes in staffing, distribution, sales, or service. In fact, 45 per cent of organisations are planning to increase tech investment. As organisations develop teams to deal with increasingly frequent change, agility is a priority. Since January, there has been a 652 per cent increase in Agile software development course completions, and five of the top 15 Skillsoft digital badges are focused on the topic.

“Post-pandemic, the world won’t go back to business as usual. More than 50 per cent of organisations agree that work has permanently changed,” continued Hovsepian. “In the U.S., 80 per cent of workers want at least one COVID-19 policy adopted permanently, such as flexible hours and remote work. Data also indicates rising expectations for organisations to afford greater autonomy while concurrently investing in holistic growth.”

The full Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report is available here. For more information on Skillsoft, visit www.skillsoft.com.

*Smarter With Gartner, “Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams”, September 20, 2019. [https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/diversity-and-inclusion-build-high-performance-teams/]

**McKinsey Global Survey, October 5, 2020. [https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-covid-19-has-pushed-companies-over-the-technology-tipping-point-and-transformed-business-forever]

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.