C-suite and IT leaders are focusing on reducing the skills gap as they are moving from instructor-led training to online training, says a LinkedIn report.

The report titled ‘LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report’ reveals that over 33% of worldwide learning and development (L&D) professionals will increase their budget this year for the third year in a row. The report is based on a survey of 6,607 respondents across 18 countries. It comprises 1,675 L&D professionals, 2,000 learners, and 2,932 managers.

Your Employees are Looking: Double-Down on Employee Retention in 2020

With a continual increase in budgets, there has been a shift from instructor-led training (ILT) to online learning. Nearly 60% of L&D professionals are looking forward to spending more on online learning in 2020, while 38% said they expect to spend less on ILT, found the report. Compared to the 2019 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, only 27% of L&D professionals cited budget constraints as a significant concern, down from 49% in 2017. Only 27% of L&D professionals report their chief executive officers (CEOs) are active champions of learning, even though they spend 20% more time learning soft skills as compared to their employees.

LinkedIn recommends it is essential to create and curate executive content to get executives more engaged in learning, which also helps in driving employee engagement. If a CEO teaches a course on leadership, there is a high probability of employees being inspired to take that course because of proximity and relevance. Nearly 40% of L&D professionals cited evaluating the effectiveness of learning programs as the top priority. In comparison, last year’s report stated identifying and accessing skills gaps as the top priority. This year, this fell to the fourth spot.

According to the report, 35% of professionals cited increasing learner engagement as their top priority, while 35% cited enabling self-directed learning with online learning solutions. Only 32% said tracking skills gaps and development are essential. Only 25% of L&D professionals globally said they don’t measure learning engagement.

Preparing the Workforce for the Cognitive Technology Disruption

A top priority of nearly half of L&D professionals’ was to get managers to make learning a priority for their teams. Almost 45% of them said creating a culture of learning was the second most important priority, while 36% said driving engagement in learning was the third. The report said 2020 would witness abundant upskilling and reskilling. In 2020, nearly 50% of talent developers are planning on reskilling a portion of their workforce, found the report. Fifty-one percent of L&D pros said they plan to launch upskilling programs in 2020, meaning teaching employees new skills within the same job function.