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5 eLearning and L&D trends we will see in 2020

Site Online Learning | January 1, 2020 | Read Time: 4 mins 30 secs

These are exciting times within the eLearning and L&D environment. Technology is changing the way we interact with the world. Organisations that don’t keep up with the changes are at the risk of being left behind1.

We are amidst the 4th industrial revolution, says Bernard Marr an Enterprise Tech Contributor at Forbes. The World Economic Forum predicts that AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be responsible for the loss of 75 million existing jobs and creation of 133 million new ones before 2025. AI along with digital disruption will result in 54% of employees having to re-skill to stay competitive2.

With jobs predicted to change this rapidly, organisations need to be prepared. A joint survey conducted by Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review found that 90% of organisations can anticipate some of the changes caused by AI and digital disruption, but 70% believe that they are not ready for it.

The year 2020 will see many of these organisations prepare themselves and put into place systems and procedures to ensure that their employees are capable and ready. This will be done through Learning & Development programs and eLearning.

Amazon recently said that they will invest $700 USD million training 100,000 employees on technology before 20253.

Here are some of the top trends and changes we can expect in the first year of the new decade.


Importance of people skills.

75% of a person’s success at a job can be attributed to effective people skills4.

A current McKinsey report states that 40% of employers are struggling to find capable young candidates that have effective soft skills. As a result, many leading organisations are running soft skills training programs to train new employees. In 2020, we will see this trend flow down to small and medium size businesses as well. Organisations will train employees on skills such as leadership, people management, teamwork and communication5.


Effective people skills empower teams and organisations


Re-skilling rather than re-hiring.

For the previous generation, skills developed lasted a lifetime. For us, it’s likely that existing technical skills will be obsolete in 5-10 years6. It is truly going to be a lifetime of learning for most of us.

Organisations are realising this as well. They can’t continue to fire and hire every time one skill becomes obsolete and another is needed. In 2020 and beyond, organisations will retain and reskill employees. It is estimated that hiring a new employee can cost as much as 6 times more than the cost of re-training an existing one7.


Video is still king.

Video is still king. There is no doubt about it. It is expected that by 2022, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video related8.

“85% of every dollar spent on classroom training is spent delivering it”.9

This is why L&D professionals love video. Video based training reduces overall cost while increasing engagement and retention. Organisations are likely to increase dependency on video moving forward due to the rate at which skills are changing and re-skilling is being required.


Data literacy.

Organisations that train their employees in data literacy outperform those that don’t.10

In the 21st century, data literacy is to us what literacy was to those in the 20th century11. Data literacy is no longer an optional skill. In 2020, it will be a basic requirement for most jobs. For years, larger and more successful organisations have recognised this, but in the coming years small and medium sized organisations will also have to ensure their employees are data literate to have a fighting chance.


The gig economy.

In the last few years there have been two trends that have dominated hiring and tenure patterns. The first is the gig employee (or gig economy). A gig employee is one who is essentially a contractor or a freelancer and not a full-time employee. These freelancers aren’t bound to any single organisation and prefer the flexibility it gives them.

The second is declining average tenure of employees. Millennials today make up 35% of the global workforce12. In 2018 the American Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the younger the worker, the less likely they were to stay committed to a single organisation. For example, the median tenure for someone between the ages of 55 and 64 was 10.1 years, whereas for someone between 24 and 34 it was 2.8 years13.

In 2020 organisations are going to have to work with L&D professionals to find a way to train millennial and gig employees in a way where both the employee and the organisation benefits within the duration of which the two will work together.


Knowing how to read data is an invaluable skill


Final thoughts.

With so much happening so quickly, organisations and L&D professionals have their work cut out for them. 2020 and beyond is going to be fast paced and exciting.

Here is a re-cap of what is going to be important in 2020:

  • Small and medium size businesses are going to have to start training their employees on soft skills.
  • Organisations will start to re-skill current employees rather than hire new ones.
  • Video is still king.
  • Data literacy is a basic skill every role requires and is essential to organisational success.  
  • Organisations will have to alter existing programs to suit gig employees and millennials.

As the digital disruption continues, people’s dependence on all things digital will also continue to grow. We see this in industries around the world. Teams need not be local anymore, universities offer degrees that can be done entirely online, and even business conducted without ever meeting the person on the other side.

Is your business and its employees ready for the ‘4th industrial revolution’?1



  1. ‘The 7 biggest technology trends in 2020 everyone must get ready for now’ by Bernard Marr, Forbes. Link.
  2. ‘Closing the Talent Gap – 5 ways governments and business can team up to reskill workers’ by Deloitte. Link.
  3. ‘Amazon plans to spend $700 million to retrain a third of its US workforce in new skills’ by Terri Cullen, CNBC. Link.
  4. ‘The hard truth about soft skills’ by American Management Association. Link.
  5. ‘10 eLearning trends that research says you’ll see by 2020’ by Kirstie Greany, Elucidat. Link.
  6. ‘Unlocking human potential: proactive practices for individual elasticity’ by Duleesha Kulasooriya and Maggie Wooll, Deloitte. Link.
  7. ‘Rethinking the build vs buy approach to talent’ by Josh Bersin. Link.
  8. ‘Video Marketing Statistics for 2020’ by Irfan Ahmad, Social Media Today. Link.
  9. ‘10 reasons to use video for employee training and development’ by Samantha Ferguson, Business 2 Community. Link.
  10.  ‘Trends 2020 the broadening role of L&D’ by Ken Taylor, Training Industry. Link.
  11. ‘Why is data literacy important for any business’ by Bernard Marr, Big Data & Analytics. Link.
  12. ‘Four learning and development trends in the digital age’ by Nikki Gililand, Econsultancy. Link.
  13. ‘Employee Tenure in 2018’ by Bureau of Labor Statistics. Link.


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