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#BizTrends2023: Making a big impact with skills development that is future-fit and fit for purpose

As we look ahead to 2023 and beyond, it's important to get some perspective instead of diving headfirst into the unknown. The best way to create certainty is through preparation, and here, mindset is everything. It is important that we be cognisant of the fact that old ways won't open new doors. It is also important to avoid getting stuck in the same ways of doing things. If there is a better way to do something (and there usually is!), we should strive to find it, or build it.
Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force
Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force

With this in mind, I want to unpack five of the most important trends that have emerged during 2022 in the training and skills development space and take a look at their potential impact into 2023.

1. Digital disruption - new systems that will be adopted by businesses

In order to support the changes in the workplace, businesses are finding they need to develop better systems, which means new technologies. Change can be stressful, and as more companies migrate to digital ways of doing business, there will be an increased demand for systems-based training.

Advice: Don’t adopt technology. This leads to doing old things in new ways. Internalise technology. This leads to finding new things to do.

Given that so much of the daily grind of doing business can now be automated and performed by software bots, it is becoming essential to reskill workers that were previously responsible for manual, repetitive business processes. This means seeking out training that is fit for purpose, in order to ensure that these individuals are not squeezed out of the workforce because their skills have become irrelevant. In establishing and integrating technology and people into new systems and ways of working, change management and systems-based will become critical.

2. AR and VR: Educational potential beyond leisure and video games

Thanks to the recent need for social distancing and the impact of working from home, the way we consume content has changed. The human attention span has shrunk, but there is even more to learn now than ever before. Given Mark Zuckerberg’s plan for the metaverse, and the fact that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is rapidly becoming mainstream, AR and VR will have a greater role to play in training and skills development. VR and AR will empower “learning by doing” as opposed to “learning by reading”. These learning methods will not replace textbooks and other types of knowledge delivery, but it can be used to enhance them. These immersive experiences will allow trainees to develop their skills through first-hand practical experience, providing active structures that support traditional passive forms of learning.

Advice: If there’s a better way of doing training (and here it is), it is worth the investment. It has been proven that VR learners are 275% more confident in applying skills learned after training, so this is one of the trends that will prove most effective in preparing a future-fit workforce.

According to Statista, in 2021, mobile AR had in excess of 800 million users which is expected to increase to 1.73 billion by 2024. This is particularly impactful, considering that VR training shows a 75% engagement rate, which means it performs better than other training methods, except for teaching other people. VR and AR will also be instrumental in improved customer service, reducing onboarding time and increasing safety in the high-risk workplace.

3. In-classroom training retains relevance

Despite an increase in virtual and remote learning experiences, there is still a place for real-world classrooms and lecture theatres. Being face-to-face with instructors is still an important factor in skills and knowledge transfer and students will still find it much easier to ask questions in the classroom, than they would in video-based classrooms. Furthermore, after being in and out of lockdown for months, many people crave the type of human connection that is only possible in the classroom.

Advice: Businesses will need to equip their trainees to move seamlessly between physical classroom and online training spaces in order to maximise the benefits of both. Flexibility will be key in achieving the optimal learning experience for each individual.

4. Incorporating new technologies into the online classroom: greater opportunities for all

Unsurprisingly, there has been significant uptake in online conferencing tools. Both for working and training purposes. This will only be further enhanced by more effective whiteboard tools and real-time immersive video content. It is becoming increasingly important to engage all of the human senses in the learning process, and technology provides new avenues for us to do so.

Advice: Leverage technology for its ability to level the playing field in the training and skills development space. Explore options in terms of enhanced accessibility, while reaping the benefits of reduced costs, and a more immersive learning and assessment experience.

Everyone has their own unique style of learning, and technology makes it possible to cater to the individual need, rather than just the majority need. Catering to individual learning styles leads to an increase in the quality of training results and ensures greater confidence in learners.

5. More self-paced learning: focusing on the individual, rather than the training material

As trainees move between the physical and online classroom, there is more flexibility possible in respect of time, content, and structure. Self-paced learning is geared toward meeting the individual’s need to learn new skills or gain a new qualification, but in a manner that accommodates the individual’s learning preferences and fits in with their work/life responsibilities.

This training format boosts knowledge retention and productivity and leads to higher engagement and course completion rates — all of which add up and translate into company growth and profitability.

Advice: Self-paced learning fits in well with the anytime, anywhere model of work and makes it easier to deliver training without the constraints of a fixed time, place, and instructor availability.

Self-paced learning takes much of the stress of studying out of the equation, where time to work through the training material is not an issue. It also means that the trainee can learn as quickly or as slowly as necessary, in order to meet their individual appetite for knowledge and increase the retention thereof.

Conclusion: focus on skills first, products second

2023 is going to be an incredibly important and exciting time, as we work toward economic recovery and growth. For businesses looking to secure their relevance in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing market, it will become clear that the future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways. This includes facilitating continuous learning and keeping abreast of emerging trends in order to leverage their potential. One of the smartest things a forward-thinking business can do is to join forces with a training partner that shares their vision. Huge changes are coming, with legislative updates being among them. In order to stay on the right side of change, companies would do well to outsource the training and skills development portion of their human capital requirement to the specialists.

About Daniel Orelowitz

Daniel completed his BCom Marketing Degree through Unisa while volunteering in various Youth Movements in Cape Town. In 2008 Daniel moved back to Johannesburg where was appointed as Executive Director of two Non-Profits. In 2013 Daniel decided to enter the corporate world but his love for education and training never diminished and joined Training Force, part of the Workforce Group. Growing through the ranks with many innovative initiatives, Daniel was appointed Managing Director in 2021.

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