Corporate Learning Evolves to be More Inclusive of New Types of Workers and New Ways of Work

Training will expand to gig workers, customers and digital automation workers

The days of learning leaders presenting to an in-person group in a conference room are not over, but eight out of ten learning leaders (83%) reported that the burgeoning hybrid workforce is pushing companies to reimagine corporate learning to meet new ways of work, according to new research from Executive Networks and NovoEd. Nearly six in ten (59%) of the 515 learning leaders at large corporations who participated in the survey believe that hybrid learning is becoming a major part of the learning landscape, not just a temporary trend.

“Learning leaders are preparing for profound changes as they redesign corporate learning with new delivery methods and rethink how to meet the needs of new audiences,” said Christina Yu, CMO, NovoEd. “The pivot to online learning and the availability of a greater range of technology and tools that can be integrated into learning initiatives, such as social and collaborative learning platforms, make it easier for real-time interaction between cohorts, experts, and mentors.

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In addition, corporate learning organizations are shifting away from focusing on full-time employees with long tenures. Currently, nine in ten organizations (89%) are targeting learning to full-time internal employees. Yet just six in ten (62%) will focus learning opportunities on full-time employees in 2025. Notably, the learning and development audience will expand to include customers, external stakeholders, contractors, gig workers, freelancers, service providers, and workers’ dependents. The biggest jump in training offerings for new audiences will be digital automation workers, which will rise 23% in 2025.

“The expectation that online and hybrid learning would be a temporary fix during the pandemic changed as hybrid and remote work became a permanent part of the business landscape,” said Jeanne Meister, Executive Vice President, Executive Networks. “The corporate university is no longer a physical space. Learning and development needs to happen where work takes place and learning leaders must place a greater focus on creating blended learning experiences that mirror hybrid work models.”

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With in-person corporate learning on the decline and corporate universities transforming into corporate academies, business leaders are re-evaluating how best to revamp their practices, communicate their business value, and repurpose facilities once used for in-person learning and development. When effective, strategic learning capabilities are aligned to the business needs of the organization, learning leaders can go a long way toward ensuring their organizations can compete in an unpredictable and fast-changing environment.