Article: Where is learning headed in Southeast Asia?

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Where is learning headed in Southeast Asia?

After a year when everything shifted, learning has moved front and centre, according to a new study by LinkedIn.
Where is learning headed in Southeast Asia?

(The 2021 edition of LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report)

For a relatively new discipline within HR, Learning & Development (L&D) has gone from nice to necessity in a matter of years. LinkedIn has been tracking the state of workplace learning through annual surveys over the past five years and the trendline is clear: more and more organisations are recognising that skills are the currency of success in the new world of work and are relying on their L&D teams to lead the charge. 

The 2021 edition of LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, which was recently launched in Southeast Asia, sums up the future of learning with four key insights. 

L&D’s seat at the executive table is here to stay 

Just a year ago, in March 2020, less than a quarter of L&D pros (25% in Southeast Asia) believed they had a seat at the C-suite table. Then, the pandemic happened. By June 2020, this figure had more than doubled to 63% in both markets. It was good news for learning leaders but the question had to be asked: Would the rise of learning be a fleeting moment or would it lead to a more permanent shift?

Fast-forward to March 2021, it’s clear that this was not a flash in the pan. L&D pros have confirmed that their seats remain intact (70%), proving that the positive impact that L&D can make during times of change and uncertainty has been acknowledged by business leaders. So, what’s next? 

Upskilling and Reskilling are the #1 L&D priority this year 

According to a 2020 World Economic Forum report, the rapid acceleration of automation, coupled with the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, will shift the division of labour between humans and machines. The report predicts that this will globally displace 85 million jobs and create 97 million new ones by 2025. 

This signals a huge opportunity — or necessity, even — for L&D pros to inspire the skill-building that their organisations need in order to prepare for the new world of work. Based on LinkedIn’s research, it seems like L&D is onboard and revving to go. 

L&D pros across Southeast Asia report that upskilling and reskilling is their top priority this year as they continue to pull their weight as a strategic partner to the organisation.  

Top 3 L&D program focus areas in 2021:

  • Upskilling & Reskilling 
  • Leadership & Management 
  • Leading through Change 

Community-based learning is a powerful driver of engagement 

With fewer people in the office and a dramatic decrease in instructor-led training opportunities, many L&D pros spent 2020 creating, testing, and refining ways to maintain learner engagement. They seem to have landed on a solution: community-based learning. 

In LinkedIn’s study, a vast majority of L&D pros agree that: 

  • Learning is more engaging when people learn together (94%)
  • Employees who learn together are more successful (90%)
  • Community-based learning helps create a sense of belonging (96%) 

This sentiment is backed by platform data from LinkedIn Learning, which revealed that learners who use social features watched 30x more hours of learning content, on average, compared to those who don’t.

It follows that nurturing digital communities of learners is a huge opportunity for L&D pros to deepen engagement, especially in India and Southeast Asia where remote and hybrid workplaces look set to continue in the future.  

Diversity & Inclusion is becoming part of the learning agenda

Across Southeast Asia, one-way organisations are working towards a more equitable future is by prioritising Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) programmes. And they’re asking for L&D’s help to do so. 

More than half of the organisations surveyed in India (66%) and Southeast Asia (58%) already have a D&I programme or are interested in starting one this year. A similar number of L&D pros (56%) agree that D&I programmes are a priority. This signals consensus across organisations that D&I needs to be infused across all learning programmes for it to drive lasting change. 

As L&D’s influence grows, so does its responsibility. 

For a deeper dive into these insights and practical advice on how to rapidly build skills at scale, drive learner engagement in hybrid workplaces, and much more, download LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Southeast Asia Edition. 

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Topics: Learning & Development, #OneHR

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