Skillsoft’s Lean into Learning Annual Report Highlights Data Trends Amid a Disruptive Year

Report highlights the most in-demand skills and demonstrates learning’s pivotal role in building a future-fit workforce

BOSTON – December 9, 2020 Skillsoft, a leader in digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge, today released Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report. Following a year that brought a pandemic, an uncertain global economy, and worldwide social reform, the report illustrates the long-overdue social, cultural, and organizational change that resulted, and the critical role of learning in building a future-fit, resilient workforce.

As the workforce transitioned to operating remotely, consumption of learning content increased exponentially, and new topics emerged as not just popular but mission critical. Widespread training was needed to help workers pivot to the skills required to collaborate in a virtual world. At the forefront was the development of “power skills,” including agility, communication, resiliency, and adaptability. Necessary and applicable across industries, departments, and disciplines, power skills equip individuals and organizations to be successful in challenging times.

Learners continued to shift course, adapting and consuming content that enabled prolific skill gains on a number of future-fit topics. Skillsoft’s report highlights trends and the learning behaviors of more than 1.1 million unique learners – examining which skills are most in-demand across topic areas, including business, digital resilience, and technology. Safety and compliance were also a focus as new COVID-19 prevention regulations were put into place. Top course growth includes:

  • 552 percent growth in Encouraging Team Communicationand Collaboration
  • 652 percent growth in Agile Software Development
  • 367 percent overall global increase in diversity, equity, and inclusion content accessed
  • 407 percent Trust Building Through Effective Communication

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) courses saw a surge across industries and disciplines, illustrated by a 367 percent overall global increase in diversity content accessed on the platform. Between May and June, completions of a course on Understanding Unconscious Bias grew by 1200 percent. The future of work requires real diversity, true equity, and meaningful inclusion. A Gartner study on Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams predicts that, “through 2022, 75 percent of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets”*. As the business world continues to expand through digital transformation and globalization, products, and solutions must address the needs of a wide variety of people.

“This year has been transformational in so many ways, galvanizing our collective mission to succeed, grow, and persist,” said Ron Hovsepian, executive chairman, Skillsoft. “Work has changed irrevocably, and building a truly future-fit, resilient workforce requires access to the tools needed to learn and achieve. We envision a world where learning is democratized, establishing an engaged, active, and optimistic workforce prepared to face the challenges of the future.”

The confluence of extreme circumstances accelerated digital transformation. A recent McKinsey Global Survey of executives found that organizations have accelerated the digitization of internal operations by three to four years while their digital product offerings have accelerated by seven years**. For many organizations, this means new investments in technology, changes in staffing, distribution, sales, or service. In fact, 45 percent of organizations are planning to increase tech investment. As organizations develop teams to deal with increasingly frequent change, agility is a priority. Since January, there has been a 652 percent increase in Agile software development course completions, and five of the top 15 Skillsoft digital badges are focused on the topic.

“Post-pandemic, the world won’t go back to business as usual. More than 50 percent of organizations agree that work has permanently changed,” continued Hovsepian. “In the U.S., 80 percent of workers want at least one COVID-19 policy adopted permanently, such as flexible hours and remote work. Data also indicates rising expectations for organizations to afford greater autonomy while concurrently investing in holistic growth.”

The full Lean into Learning: 2020 Annual Learning Report is available here. For more information on Skillsoft, visit

*Smarter With Gartner, “Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams”, September 20, 2019. []

**McKinsey Global Survey, October 5, 2020. []

About Skillsoft
Skillsoft delivers digital learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge. Leveraging immersive, engaging content, Skillsoft enables organizations to unlock the potential in their best assets — their people — and build teams with the skills they need for success. Empowering 45 million learners and counting, Skillsoft democratizes learning through an intelligent learning experience and a customized, learner-centric approach to skills development with resources for Leadership Development, Business Skills, Technology and Developer, Digital Transformation, and Compliance.

Skillsoft and SumTotal are partners to thousands of leading global organizations, including many Fortune 500 companies. The company features three award-winning systems that support learning, performance and success: Skillsoft learning content, the Percipio intelligent learning experience platform, and the SumTotal suite for Talent Development, which offers measurable impact across the entire employee lifecycle. Learn more at


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