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Trends in Corporate Learning and Development


The three most significant trends identified in relation to the modern corporate learning and development area are the business-driven learning based on the integration of learning and strategy as the main trend; the collaborative learning realized with the help of coaching activities; and the individual skill-oriented learning associated with developing the employee’s potential.

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Modern organizations are oriented to improving their performance and effectiveness and increasing their competitive advantage. As a result, organizations choose to focus on promoting innovation and change as well as on developing the employees’ potential. Learning and development in organizations should be discussed as the specific sphere, concentrating on which leaders can contribute to the company’s progress.

Today, the most important trends in corporate learning and development are based on the idea of promoting people, organizational, and strategic excellence in companies (Deiser, 2009, p. 39). Thus, it is possible to identify the three most significant trends in modern corporate learning and development and rank them according to their importance where the focus on the integrative business-driven learning is the main trend because of the dependence on the company’s strategy; the focus on coaching activities and collaborative learning is the second important trend; and the skill-oriented learning is the third trend based on developing the individual potential.

Business-Driven Learning

The main trend observed in corporate learning and development today is the integration of the company’s strategic goals and the learning objectives. The focus on strategic development is the priority, and corporate leaders pay much attention to aligning the strategic goals to the designed learning activities. According to Muller and Siebenhuner, to promote change and innovation in organizations, leaders should educate employees and develop those skills and abilities which are necessary for completing certain strategic goals (Muller & Siebenhuner, 2007, p. 232).

That is why leaders focus not only on developing strategic goals and plans but also on determining resources necessary to reach the set goals. As a result, learning and development activities for employees become determined by the corporate needs and expected outcomes (Elkeles & Phillips, 2007, p. 18). The reasons to focus on business-driven learning as the main trend is in the fact that this approach is based on the integration of human resources, strategic goals, and managerial practices, on promoting effectiveness and innovation, on improving performance, and on increasing the competitive advantage. In spite of the fact that the business-driven learning is challenging because it depends on the clearly stated strategic goals and perfectly chosen activities to develop employees’ skills, this practice is actively used in organizations, and this approach is the main trend in the area today.

Coaching Activities and Collaborative Learning

The focus on coaching and collaborative learning is the next important trend that can be observed in the sphere of organizational learning today. The importance and popularity of this approach are based on the idea that employees should be trained in a positive setting while acquiring new knowledge and developing skills naturally, as a result of collaborative practices and communication (Deiser, 2009, p. 59). Coaching activities are associated with the popular informal learning, which is based on the principles of support and collaboration.

Modern leaders note that coaching is an effective approach to learning because it allows employees not only to develop their skills but also to increase motivation (Lee & Bonk, 2014, p. 10). Coaching activities are associated with support and inspiration that is why this technique is actively used in the modern business environment where the decrease of the stress rates and improvement of the workplace conditions and environment are of priority in order to promote the organization’s change and progress.

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Skill-Oriented Learning

The third important trend in corporate development is the learning which is oriented to developing skills and individual potential of employees. According to Chang-Yen and Wen-Ching, modern leaders choose skill-oriented learning because they value the individuality of the employees (Chang-Yen & Wen-Ching, 2010, p. 4). To receive significant benefits, it is necessary to focus on developing the potential of each employee.

That is why much attention is paid to designing individual development and training programs in the workplace. The employees are different in relation to their needs and potentials; that is why modern transformational leaders choose to address these differences while proposing individual programs for training. Although skill-oriented learning programs can be discussed as outdated because of being used during many decades, modern leaders refer to this approach because it guarantees the high results (Chang-Yen & Wen-Ching, 2010, p. 5).

The focus on the skill-oriented learning as the modern trend differs from the traditional approach in relation to such aspects as the focus on developing the leadership skills, empowering, developing the cognitive ability, and goal orientation. The modern skill-oriented learning is based on the idea of transforming and developing a personality with the help of the work with motivation and potential.


Modern trends in the sphere of learning and development in organizations are closely associated with approaches used by leaders to promote innovation, change, and progress in companies. Thus, to receive significant benefits from human resources, many modern leaders choose to combine the learning with the strategic goals and focus on the integration of development and strategic progress. Business-driven learning becomes a priority for many transformational leaders oriented to change. The other leaders choose to promote collaborative learning in order to support employees in their development. Furthermore, many leaders choose to use traditional skill-oriented learning, which is improved according to the needs of the modern competitive business environment.


Chang-Yen, L., & Wen-Ching, L. (2010). Implementation of e-learning and corporate performance – an empirical investigation. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 3(1), 4-10.

Deiser, R. (2009). Designing the smart organization. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Elkeles, T., & Phillips, J. (2007). The chief learning officer: Driving value within a changing organization through learning and development. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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Lee, H., & Bonk, C. (2014). Collaborative learning in the workplace: Practical issues and concerns. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 7(2), 10-17.

Muller, M., & Siebenhuner, B. (2007). Policy instruments for sustainability-oriented organizational learning. Business Strategy & the Environment, 16(3), 232-245.

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