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What we can learn from the 2020 Linkedin Learning Report?

By Samantha Allen 06 Mar 2020

What is the Linkedin Learning Report?

LinkedIn Learning was founded as Lynda.com in 1995. Linkedin bought Lynda.com in 2015 and Linkedin is now famously owned by Microsoft. For the last 4 years, Linkedin Learning has been conducting an annual in-depth survey about learning trends. In their fourth annual survey released in early 2020, they revealed the priorities, challenges, and inspirations of 6,607 professionals spanning 18 countries. There’s a lot to learn from these findings, so we thought we’d share a summary of the 2020 Linkedin Learning Report.

Read the full Linkedin Learning Report here.

What’s the main focus of the 2020 Linkedin Learning Report?

The 2020 Linkedin Learning Report focuses on answering four main questions:

1. How are learning leaders resourced to scale learning and engage executives to create a culture of learning?

2. How do L&D pros measure the impact of learning and define learner engagement?

3. What can talent developers do to transform managers into learning champions?

4. How are your peers upskilling and reskilling employees to prepare for what’s ahead?

The L&D department used to focus on compliance training. While this is still an incredibly important type of training, there’s now a lot more to consider, including: 

  • Leadership and management development. 
  • Employee onboarding. 
  • Being a master of Instructor-Led Training (ILT). 
  • Scaling learning across the organization with online learning programs. 
  • Career trajectories and meaningful business impact.

The struggle for L&D budget and resources has diminished over the last few years. More than a third of L&D pros globally are expecting their budgets to grow year over year.

Talent developers wear many hats but building and sourcing content is proving to take the biggest percentage of their time. 

  • 29% of their time is spent on building or sourcing learning programs and content.
  • 17% of their time is spent building and delivering compliance training.

79% of CEOs worldwide are concerned that a lack of essential skills in their workforce is threatening the future growth of their organization. This has risen from 63% in 2014, confirming that concern over skills has risen alongside the advent of new technologies over the past five years.

 Companies of all sizes are leveraging their executives to cultivate a culture of learning.

You may also like to read “How to develop a continuous learning culture”.

What are the top focus areas for Learning & Development in 2020?

Globally, the top focus area for L&D in 2020 is measuring the impact of learning. However, the UK’s top focus in 2020 is identifying, tracking, and closing skills gaps.

Linkedin Learning Report Globally

Top strategic areas of focus globally:

  • Evaluating the impact of learning 
  • Increasing learner engagement 
  • Enabling self-directed learning with online learning solutions 
  • Tracking skills gaps and development 
  • Activating managers to encourage employees to make time for learning 
  • Integrating learning into other talent programs

“94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.”

How to measure learner engagement and identify an engaged learner:

1. Course completions 

2. Learner satisfaction surveys 

3. Minutes learning per month 

4. Repeat visits (2x) per month

The key to driving higher learner engagement and creating a culture of learning is transforming managers into learning champions. The top challenges for talent developers globally in 2020 are:

  • Getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams
  • Creating a culture of learning
  • Increasing employee engagement in learning 
  • Teaching their employees to use technology more effectively
  • Scaling learning across the organization
  • Understanding what skills to build or courses to recommend 
  • Making sure that learners know where to find learning resources
  • Demonstrating the value of learning
  • Identifying skills gaps
  • Getting executive buy-in

Driving engagement is an ongoing challenge for talent developers and this was the #1 trend that will impact learning programs in 2020. 

How can L&D professionals raise awareness about learning offerings available to employees?

Employee intranets are the best way for employees to discover learning programs, followed closely by email. Chat platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack are working better than expected, while lunch and learns and physical signage are proving to be less effective. 

Why do managers recommend learning to their team members? 

54% Grow their career 

32% Get better in current role 

6% Learn a new skill 

3% Solve a problem 

5% Other

What makes managers and their team members motivated to learn? 

Both managers and employees are inspired to learn for the same reason - career growth. 

Linkedin Learning Report Group Training

Over half of learners said that they would spend more time learning, if managers recommended specific learning opportunities and courses.

Learners are craving a highly personalised learning experience that provides the right learning at the right time. Interestingly, learners across all generations also want to learn with their colleagues to exchange ideas, share insights, and ask questions. 

Go Courses Blog 2020 Linkedin Learning Report AI

What impact is technology having on Learning & Development in 2020?

Talent developers and L&D pros want to help strengthen the skills that employees already have, but the rapid pace of business and technology changes is putting upskilling and reskilling front and centre. Nearly half of them plan on reskilling a portion of their workforce this year, to prepare their organisations for what’s ahead. The top question on people’s minds is which skills will be most in-demand in the next 3-5 years?

The era of upskilling and reskilling has arrived.

Linkedin Learning Report 2020 Upskilling Reskilling

What’s the difference between upskilling and reskilling? 

Upskilling is learning new skills within the same job function.

Reskilling is learning new skills for a different job function.

“In the age of robots, soft skills will reign supreme.”

Go Courses AI Blog Robot

Despite fears of robots eliminating jobs and a looming economic downturn, L&D professionals globally aren’t worrying about this much.

Only 15% of talent developers globally believe that the economy will impact learning programs this year, except for the UK. Over half of L&D pros in the UK are concerned about how Brexit will impact their learning programs.

On a positive note, technology advancements have always created more jobs than they destroy, and this remains true today. According to the World Economic Forum, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics will create almost 60 million more jobs than they will eliminate by 2022. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are also expected to make more of an impact on learning in the near future. While only 24% of L&D professionals believe that AI will impact learning programs in 2020, their perspective is very different when they look ahead to the next 5 years. 

Impacts of technology that L&D pros are considering include:

  • AI/machine learning to drive more accurate personalization 
  • Virtual/augmented reality 
  • Social learning 
  • Better company data on learner habits and preferences 
  • Gamification 
  • Lives streaming/live video 
  • Learning embedded within business applications (Microsoft Office, etc.)  
  • Better industry data on essential skills  
  • Chatbots

You may also like to read “How AI can help your training and your business”.

79% of learners said that they would use personalized course recommendations based on their career goals and skills gaps. With personalized recommendations driven by AI and machine learning freeing up more time, L&D pros could spend that time on strategic initiatives including promoting learning programs to help drive higher learner engagement.

Virtually every talent developer surveyed agreed that if critical skills gaps aren’t closed in the next few years, their organizations will be negatively impacted in the following ways:

1. Future growth 

2. Customer experience and satisfaction 

3. Product or service quality and delivery 

4. Ability to innovate

Go Courses Blog Header 2020 Linkedin Learning Report Changes from 2019

What are the most in-demand skills in 2020?

Top 5 Soft Skills in 2020

1. Creativity 

2. Persuasion 

3. Collaboration 

4. Adaptability 

5. Emotional intelligence

The top soft skills in 2020 are more human-centric than in 2019. Soft skills are foundational and every professional should be working to build them. All the skills topping this year’s list focus on how you work with others and bring new ideas to the table. The more task-oriented skill of ‘time management’ which was in last year’s list, has been replaced with emotional intelligence. These results indicate that companies are gravitating more towards talent with strong people-oriented skills.

Top 10 Hard Skills in 2020

1. Blockchain

2. Cloud computing 

3. Analytical reasoning 

4. Artificial Intelligence 

5. UX design 

6. Business analysis 

7. Affiliate marketing 

8. Sales 

9. Scientific computing 

10. Video production

Perhaps the most surprising addition to the list of top hard skills in 2020 is blockchain, which not only made the list of skills for the first time, but topped the list. Clearly blockchain is in demand for 2020 and an important area to watch.

What generational differences are there in learning new skills?

Naturally those who are at the beginning of their careers are interested in developing different skills to those 20 years ahead. The youngest generation, “Gen Z”, is most interested in building their creativity and tech skills more than any other generation. “Millennials” and “Gen Xers” are focused on developing their management and leadership skills. Generally everyone wants to build their leadership and management skills.

Go Courses Blog 2020 Linkedin Learning Report Main Learnings

What are the main learnings from the 2020 Linkedin Learning Report?

Creating a culture of learning has been a notable takeaway from this year’s study. 

You may want to read our previous article “How to develop a continuous learning culture”.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are playing an ever more important part in learning and development. You may want to read our previous article “How AI can help your training and your business”.

Communication skills and blockchain are important skills to invest in over the coming years. You may like to browse our Communication Skills training courses and our Blockchain training courses.

If you’d like to read the full Linkedin Learning Report you can find it HERE.


At Go.Courses our mission is to bring you the world’s best IT and personal development courses. Our aim is to make it easy for you to book training and learn relevant and important new skills. All our courses are trainer-led by experts in their field and available all over the UK and Europe.

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