Before I delve into why face-to-face or virtual training is not a good strategy for 2021, let me set the context.

Do you know learning motor skills are much harder than learning cognitive skills? It takes longer, and with repetitive practice to learn a motor skill. Now imagine, you can learn a motor skill in 20 hours. Is it too good to be true? Forget the 10K hour rule. What if I say it is possible to learn any new skill in 20 hours? Think about it how many things you want to learn. What is on your list? What is holding you back from getting started? [1] In most cases, the time and effort it takes to acquire new skills are the blockers. The time you don’t have and the effort you can’t spare. According to research, it takes 10,000 hours to develop a new skill to mastery. In this VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world, who has that kind of time?

The year 2021 is going to be a pivoting year for many companies, organizations and, industries. The World Economic Forum reported that about 42% of jobs will need different skills in the next three years, and over one billion workers will require reskilling by 2030. This unprecedented change is due to changing technology and economic drivers. The critical factors which will dominate 2021 are:

1. Reskilling

2. Remote working.

Many companies are adopting WFH as a long-term strategy to optimize cost structures which require a different learning strategy altogether. 

Be it a generalist or specialist in your organization, everyone would like to learn the skill as fast as possible and apply the same. The old face-to-face or virtual training is not going to solve this problem and here are the three reasons why.

1. Cost or Time: 

Many companies are facing unprecedented pressure on margins and cash flow. Face-to-face/virtual training has a significant cost impact and the downtime faced by employees while in training. Employees are increasingly facing challenges to manage competing priorities which means any form of downtime will face resistance. Let me give you an analogy. Imagine a person's maximum capacity to lift a weight is 99.5 KG, for many it may sound, oh it is only 500 grams, you can lift since it is not much. However, for that person, that 500 grams could collapse him. 


Having limited resources on budget and time, face-to-face/virtual training can only be extended to a limited set of employees. This not only fuels an unhealthy political climate and also leads to disengagement. In today's context, reskilling is needed, especially in the new norms of working (remote, WFH), communication, collaboration, innovation, project management execution has undergone a paradigm shift. Hence, reskilling is needed across the board, instead of a few sets of individuals. 

3. Learning Effectiveness: 

Face-to-Face/Virtual training is done in 1-3 days, which means the contents, competencies, knowledge, and skills are all compressed to fit in those 1-3 days. We know practically how hard it is to get all the participants under one roof or aligning the calendars to be present. So, we tend to make the maximum utilization of the training program which has a repercussion. Each participant has a different pace and learning style. Hence, the only handful is engaged and learns during such cramped sessions others simply switch off. For any learning to take place, five key components should be fulfilled:

  1. Need
  2. Intent
  3. Motivation
  4. Time

5. Resources (Content)

At the most, one can cater to point 2 to 5 in any face-to-face/virtual training for all the participants. However, Need the point No. 1 is highly contextual and situational to each participant.

If face-to-face/virtual training is not an optimal strategy then what could it be?  The optimal strategy is "Situational Learning":

Situational Learning: Learning needs to happen 365 days and needs to be embedded on to day to day work. This will enable the transformation you desire. Let me explain why this is effective.

As I shared on components of Andragogy, situational learning is personalized to an individual learner rather than a cohort. Which means, it serves individual need, create intents, promotes motivation as it helps the learner to become better of themselves. The other two components are Time and Resources which will be covered in the How part.

For Situational Learning to happen, it must fit around and align itself to working days and working lives. Instead of thinking of corporate learning as a destination, it’s better where learning happens daily. Through good design thinking and cutting-edge technology, some solutions and experiences make learning almost invisible in our jobs.[2]


Learning the Experiential Platform (LXP) enables situational learning. Firstly, chunking the concepts into smaller bite-size learning helps the learner with Time. Using AI, LXP can curate the appropriate content for the learners, thereby saving enormous time spent on searching for content. This not only solves the time; content part of the andragogy, this also helps to solve the need part of it. Let me share with you a real use case.

Macro Research (Name Changed) has over 200 employees, the primary business activity is providing research and analytics to their clients. An organization serves the USA / Europe market and has tight schedules, which leaves not much room for downtime. One of the top competencies for the role is Advanced Excel Skills (Macros). In the past, many training classes were conducted. However, it did not seem to be effective; upon diagnosing we found, due to time compression, such training was compressed to 1-2 days and most could not pick up the skills, and only a handful picked up.

However, they left the organization. We implemented LXP, which gave every employee flexibility to learn at their own pace, time, and place, the ability to share knowledge and skills on the platform, created a buzz and engagement around the topic, with the help of leader board and the quality of content shared by the peers on LXP Platform, we were able to identify the subject matter expertise. We encouraged SMEs to hold the Ask me session on the Platform which drew many audiences inside the company. After 6 months, HR confirmed that the productivity has increased by over 30% and as a result, there was a better work-life balance and the effect of the same was seen as a reduction in the attrition.

LXP helps with cost as it is scalable and used over 365 days. Secondly, we have great content available out there, LXP helps to organize, contextualize, and chunk into bite-size for easier consumption, comprehension, and application. LXP promotes engagement and creates a culture of learning.

Finally, LXP with help of good design thinking helps to embed the learning in the flow of work. In 2021, if you want to cater to your ever changing, dynamic work environment, having a multi-generation workforce with different learning pace and style, LXP will is the way forward.



About the Author

Parthi is an expert in solving an organization's complex problems through accurate diagnosis, designing, innovation, agility, and execution excellence. Parthi expertise is in Decision Making Process, Leadership Communication, OD, Learning Strategies, and implementation, He is a Certified OB/OD Professional.

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