Top learning trends and workplace predictions in 2020

An online learning platform Udemy, analyzed data from more than 40 million users to determine 2020 workplace learning trends and the skills of the future. The report discuss how organizations can reimagine the future of workplace learning for the new decade by recognizing the top 5 learning trends and predictions in 2020.

With large-scale technology disruption, organizations will need to respond in a transformational way. It means rethinking workforce skills and talent management.

AI goes mainstream in 2020

According to Udemy report we’re starting to see AI adopted in all parts of the business. Marketing is applying AI data insights on customer behavior to tailor sales offers. HR teams are beginning to use AI to recruit, screen, and interview candidates. Finance teams are applying AI and machine learning to reduce company travel costs. The list of AI applications is endless.

Employees are warming to automation

As organizations build a data-driven culture to harness the power of AI and big data, roles are changing fast and becoming more fluid. For example, marketers and sales pros are becoming more data savvy. With more organizations offering reskilling programs for new roles internally, employees are starting to view automation and disruptive technologies in a more positive light.

When asking L&D leaders how their employees feel about automation and other disruptive technologies, 29% of L&D leaders said their employees were excited to learn new skills. Only 12% were afraid they would lose their job. With this new demand for reskilling, organizations are placing a higher priority on L&D. 35% of surveyed organizations enjoyed increased budgets in the last year, and only 13% saw their budget decline. However, 51% of L&D budgets remained the same, which is worrying, given the reskilling task ahead.

Upleveling the human

2020 is about realizing the full potential of humans and machines. AI and robotic process automation (a.k.a software robots) are scanning all kinds of data at organizations to improve workplace safety, fraud, hiring time, or travel costs. But it’s not just about software robots. 2020 is more than ever about the “human side” of our workforce. As automation and AI take care of the more mundane tasks, employees are increasingly specializing in tasks that leverage unique “human” strengths like creativity, emotional intelligence, and storytelling. 2020 and the next decade will be about upleveling the human and realizing the full potential of humans and machines in the workplace.

Therefore, soft skills like growth mindset, creativity, and communication matter in 2020. When  analyzing the fastest-growing soft skills people are learning at work in 2020, there was an uptick in learning about topics like growth mindset, creativity, and innovation.

That means it’s increasingly important for employees to adopt a growth mindset of continuous learning and be open to change in the workplace. While skills training is key, building an organizational culture and leadership to nurture innovation and creativity is also critical. Finally, employees are leaning into their innately human skills and what robots can’t do. Critical thinking, communication, storytelling, and emotional intelligence top the list of fastest growing soft skills in 2020 in the workplace.

Top 10 fastest-growing soft skills in 2020*

  1. Growth mindset
  2. Creativity
  3. Focus mastery
  4. Innovation
  5. Communication skills
  6. Storytelling
  7. Culture awareness
  8. Critical thinking
  9. Leadership
  10. Emotional intelligence

*Based on highest consumption growth rates 2018-2019 on Udemy for Business. Source: Udemy Data 2020.

Prepare Your Workforce for the Future

How can business and learning leaders prepare their workforce for the skills of the future? Here are 5 learning predictions for 2020 based on innovative ways L&D leaders are preparing their workforce for AI, cloud, and other disruptive technologies.

  1. Skills mapping will chart the future workforce

With large-scale technology disruption in the next decade, continuous skills mapping will become critical for workforce planning. Forecasting future skills for an organization is not an easy task and a common obstacle when implementing reskilling programs. In part, the challenge is old and new roles aren’t always a perfect match for reskilling. For many of these future jobs, there are no existing candidates externally with these emerging skills, making internal reskilling the next best option. For example, Amazon is creating career training paths for its warehouse workers to retool for new in-demand roles as data technicians at the company*.

*8 5 Workplace Learning Predictions: Prediction #1 35 8 Lauren Weber, “Why Companies Are Failing at Reskilling,” Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2019.

What else is on the list? That will be covered in our next article.

Photo: Unsplash/Ricardo Annandale









More articles to read

How to grow your small business sustainably

Workplace Learning Predictions 2020