Corporate training trends 2020: The Zoom boom and beyond

This year didn’t turn out like anyone expected! What’s changed so far when it comes to corporate training trends in 2020? How can we expect employee training to change next? We take a look at industry research and our own survey data to see how future training trends are shaping up. 

corporate training trends 2020

Corporate training trends 2020

Here are three of the top 2020 trends in corporate training and development we’ve seen shift so far.

1. The “Zoom boom” and the rise and fall of VILT

When the door closed on face-to-face training earlier this year, L&D looked for other learning solutions. The rapid switch to webinars, conference calls and virtual instructor-led training (VILT) was an easy first step. Face-to-face training sessions were taken and delivered online. But the data suggest this isn’t a training trend that’s going to stay.

The use of VILT decreased from 67% of organizations as the pandemic hit, to 36% a couple of months later (Brandon Hall 2020).

brandon hall training trends data

Training and learning teams ran into a common pitfall. Face-to-face training sessions don’t translate well directly into effective virtual learning experiences.

Live virtual sessions are a logistical challenge and don’t scale well. Facilitators may have to run the same sessions multiple times. Consistency can be questionable. Good virtual sessions include interaction – sharing a recording does not create a good experience for those who missed it.

Face-to-face and VILT have the same Achilles heel: they’re time-consuming and hard to run at scale.

Brandon Hall Group’s research suggests that organizations moving to more of a digital online blend. Engagement with our Digital Learning Skill-Up program, which helps participants develop an online blended learning program, would suggest this.

New call-to-action

2. Emergence of elearning

VILT declined after the immediate rush, though, of course, it still has a place. Organizations looked to other modalities, adapting fast to the new world of online training. Elearning emerged as the most common approach to online training. Is this a corporate training trend that’s set to stay?

Brandon Hall Group found that by mid-June 2020, 68% of organizations were turning to elearning as a go-to tool for converting live instructor-led training.

Our survey found that over the next 12 months, VILT and elearning look to be the most popular modalities. And, 82% of organizations plan to start producing more elearning in the next 3 months.

But, are L&D teams set up to deliver on this increased demand for elearning? There’s a danger of L&D teams being overwhelmed. We’re seeing the emergence of a new model of L&D team to to help take on this challenge. They’re shifting from being centers of production, to centers of excellence, crowdsourcing training from across the business to tackle this challenge. Having the right elearning software to enable this shift ise the difference between those who sink and sail.

elucidat training trends survey produce elearningelucidat training trends survey plans

3. Will face-to-face make a comeback?

The shift to digital learning and online training is here to stay. Brandon Hall Group benchmarking data (June 2020) shows that 0% of organizations plan to increase face-to-face in the next 12 months.

“Our COVID-19 research shows that no organizations plan to increase face-to-face learning in the next 12 months. Obviously, that is a reflection of the pandemic situation, which makes live learning events impossible or unsafe. But the percentage of organizations expanding their ILT learning has decreased slowly but steadily over the past couple of years. So the pandemic is greatly accelerating the pace of change. Our COVID-19 research shows that 80% of organizations believe their use of digital learning will remain the same, increase or decrease only slightly as restrictions on live training ease. We think the long-predicted, long-awaited ascent of digital learning is here to stay.” -Claude Werder, Senior Vice President and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

According to an Elucidat survey, only 12% of organizations plan to fully revert to previous levels of face-to-face training. elucidat training trends face to face training


And a Fosway survey found that only 5% think learning strategy, investment and resourcing will go back to what they were pre pandemic. “The pandemic has been a catalyst for a much deeper adoption of digital learning,” said David Perring, Director of Research, The Fosway Group.

The move away from face-to-face is good news for budgets, too. In our survey, 53% expect to make savings, and 22% think they’ll save at least a quarter of their overall budget. elucidat training trends data training budget


So, what next? 

HR and learning teams need to develop a sustainable approach to online training that’s scalable and genuinely effective.

Developing a sustainable online strategy

Social distancing and travel restrictions were the catalysts for many organizations to embrace online training. But environmental concerns and cost-saving will be drivers moving forward. Taking a digital approach to training and learning isn’t something we should just do out of necessity. From innovative ways of creating connections between learners to enabling you to deliver on-demand training, online blended training programs offer wide-reaching opportunities for HR and learning leaders to embrace.

Elearning has emerged as a primary approach to training employees in the wake of COVID-19. To be successful, elearning shouldn’t be seen as a catch-all, but instead as part of a blended strategy. In this capacity, elearning has the power to offer on-demand training, regular nudges and on-going support. This is critical to knowledge retention and behavior change. It allows you to get training in the right place at the right time, regardless of the employee start date, working hours, etc.

We’ve written more about how to do this in our whitepaper – download it here.

New call-to-action