Status Check

Communication and technology are always important, but they are particularly crucial during challenging situations such as hurricanes and pandemics.

Hurricane Isaias gusted across Long Island in early August, toppling trees, ripping down electrical lines, and leaving my 70-plus-year-old parents and 400,000 other New Yorkers powerless for more than a week. The electric company instructed customers to text it with outage notifications and status requests. The first day, each of my parents’ texts received an “Error” message. And the company’s phone line was perpetually busy. The next day, replies to their texts noted that power would be restored by 1 p.m. Then 5 p.m. Then 9 p.m. Then 11 p.m. This went on for seven days.

Imagine the frustration—amid COVID-19 restrictions, no less—this lack of communication and technology failure caused.

Communication and technology are always important, but they are particularly crucial during challenging situations such as hurricanes and pandemics. Certainly, communication and technology played a big role as Learning & Development (L&D) professionals had to pivot on a dime to move classroom training content to online/mobile delivery for learners around the world, many of whom were working remotely for the first time. At first, it appeared this would be a relatively short-lived situation—a few weeks, maybe a month or two. But, as we all know, it’s now six months later, and we are facing the reality that much of the world is going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. And so the training that was quickly moved from inclassroom to online or mobile learning may need to be revised, reconfigured, and recommunicated if it is going to be a long-term solution.

Learning management systems (LMSs) played a big role in organizations’ transition to remote learning and will continue to do so in the coming months. Our feature, “The Future of the LMS,” looks at the features L&D professionals love and the ones they would like to see in their “dream system.”

That dream LMS will come in handy as more and more organizations focus on upskilling and reskilling their employees in an age of increasing digitalization and automation. In 2020, 51 percent of L&D professionals said they plan to launch upskilling programs and 43 percent plan to launch reskilling programs, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report. See our cover story, “The Right Stuff,” for some reskilling/upskilling insights and best practices.

We did some reskilling of our own at Training magazine as we switched gears and turned our fall TechLearn Conference into a virtual event with a digital edition of GamiCon. We learned valuable lessons from ISA-The Association of Learning Providers, which did the same for its March Annual Business Retreat (see “ISA 2020 Vision—Hindsight, Insight, Foresight” for takeaways). Our Training 2021 Conference & Expo will be held inperson in Orlando, but will also feature a virtual component for those who are unable to travel. Visit to register today and let’s keep our fingers crossed for a little Disney magic to make it happen!

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.