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Learning and Development Global Sentiment Survey 2021

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Learning and Development Global Sentiment Survey 2021

Donald H. Taylor,

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Learning and development is meeting the challenges of COVID-19 head on – and could reap significant benefits.

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The Learning and Development Global Sentiment Survey, co-sponsored by getAbstract (and therefore unrated), offers actionable insights into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on L&D. The annual survey, now in its eighth year, asks L&D professionals to indicate their predictions of the hottest topics for the coming year. The results for 2021 reflect a field under pressure to deliver crucial skills – and poised to elevate its role as a strategic business partner. Donald H. Taylor, chair of the Learning and Performance Institute and author of Learning Technologies in the Workplace, brings four decades of experience in all phases of L&D to his analysis of the survey results.


Forward-thinking learning and development (L&D) professionals see reskilling and upskilling as the hottest topic for 2021.

Reskilling and upskilling appeared on the Global Sentiment Survey for the first time in 2021 – and rocketed to the top spot as the hottest topic in L&D for the year. A remarkable 13.1% of respondents selected reskilling/upskilling from 16 options in response to the survey’s single obligatory question, “What will be hot in workplace L&D in 2021?” The dominance of reskilling/upskilling held up in all working environments and nearly all regions – South American respondents rated collaborative/social learning higher. Most likely, L&D professionals are focusing on skills in response to the need for employee training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reskilling/upskilling’s number one position points to the fact that in 2020, L&D professionals had to focus almost exclusively on their core task.

Amid uncertainty, L&D practitioners are embracing the tried and true, and steering clear of new approaches.

The COVID...

About the Author

Donald H. Taylor has chaired the London Learning Technologies Conference since 2000, and from 2010 to 2021 was the chair of the Learning and Performance Institute. He speaks extensively on the learning and development profession and is the author of Learning Technologies in the Workplace.

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