Which were the top L&D resources of 2020?

This year was completely crazy. If you would have told me last year that in 2020 I will be running a weekly newsletter, I would have said you’re crazy. When would I have the time to read, sort through, and put together L&D resources on a weekly basis?

But COVID happened, and it turned our world upside down, mine included. For instance, if before I spent 2 hours on a daily commute, now I had 10 hours to spare each week. This new way of living came with no buffer between work and personal life. So I constantly have to discipline myself to disconnect. Still, I prefer to look at the bright side of things. I have 10 hours to focus more on work, spend time with my dear ones, and well… build a weekly newsletter dedicated to my peers in L&D.

I was also lucky. As lucky as you can feel during a pandemic. I work for an e-commerce company that grew while consumers were shifting into online shopping. So there was no talk about layoffs. And both I and my dear ones were mostly out of harm’s and COVID’s way during the entire year. So I also felt physically and psychologically safe. Had the time to be creative. Focus on work.

But at first, life felt like a damn carousel. Never in the history of our company, 1500 people worked remotely. I still remember it was March 11th, and we decided to run a drill in our organization, to make sure things will run smoothly in the following 2 weeks we thought we would work from home. 10 months later? Still working from home.

We had no time to prepare. And it hit us. We switched everything to virtual quickly by working extra and focusing less on what was happening in the world and more on what our colleagues needed. But there was still a lot of confusion in the first weeks. We had to move our onboarding process online. Move trainings online. Support people into connecting while working from home. Help them get used to this new way of working. Make sure they feel safe. While still supporting business needs and run our daily work. Now that I look back I have no idea how we pulled things of, how time has passed, and how we were doing things before March 11th.

Offbeat in 2020

I launched Offbeat in May, but I was already pretty connected to the industry starting from March. So while I was going through L&D resources, I read a lot about the struggles others were having as well. In the first half of the year, we talked a lot about virtual onboarding, virtual training, or e-learning. Other concerns took second place in our minds while we were dealing with the shift.

Slowly but surely the things we had to put on hold started to come back in the summer. Performance management, learning analytics, leadership development, mentorship, learning in the flow of work started resurfacing. And the talk about skilling and reskilling took the spotlight. Also, I was seeing more and more learning pros on LinkedIn letting others know they found jobs and thanking each other for helping.

Life still feels crazy. Unfortunately, people are still out of jobs. Some organizations that survived still haven’t figured out what’s next. And those who haven’t are still grieving. I think Offbeat was my small way of helping this year. And I hope it did inspire you in your programs, helped you build things, and think about the future in a positive way. I want to put an end to this year in the same way. So in the past couple of weeks, I put together the L&D resources I shared and were most appreciated by subscribers.

I thank those who took the time to write articles, host or speak in podcasts or events and share L&D resources with the community. They served as an inspiration for my work. Ultimately, thanks to the Nifty Learning team (Letitia, Victor, Alex), for making Offbeat happen.

I hope your end of the year is at least ok, and you will enjoy this roundup of L&D resources.

Stay safe, keep learning, and see you next year,


The most appreciated L&D resources of 2020

Learning Analytics

How to start learning analytics in your company? It’s a combination of well defined goals, measures, data and it’s quality, tools and resources. You won’t do it alone in L&D and won’t succeed without identified business needs so before designing next or first fancy dashboard think who will use it and what for.
  1. L&D Detective Kit
  2. Making the most of your learning data: turning insights into action
  3. Shattering the way L&D thinks about measurement
  4. The D in L&D Should Stand For Data
  5. Learning analytics set-up

Leadership Development

  1. An asynchronous perspective of a leadership development program
  2. What makes a great manager
  3. The Manager’s Guide to Inclusive Leadership — Small Habits That Make a Big Impact
  4. Future of work: how managers are harnessing employees’ hidden skills
  5. 6 Counterintuitive Rules for Being a Better Manager
  6. 3 approaches to new manager training
  7. Using technology to develop your people managers

Learning Design

  1. 20 Questions L&D should ask before talking about training
  2. 10 learning and development consulting questions
  3. Personal Development Plan Checklist
  4. The Art of Doing in Learning
  5. Why Learning Should Look More Like Exercise

Learning Strategy & Culture

  1. How can leaders foster learning autonomy in their teams?
  2. The State of Learning and Development in 2021
  3. 10 characteristics of Learning and Development at its best
  4. Three Steps to Turn Your Company into a Learning Powerhouse
  5. Becoming a learning organization = continuous learning
  6. Staff development that your people actually need and want
  7. Four L&D Business Models
  8. What are the Skills needed to Create a Culture of Lifelong Learning?
  9. Why Your Startup Needs A Learning Strategy
  10. A transformation of the learning function

L&D Career

  1. 10 ways to make a positive impact in L&D
  2. Business Acumen: A Key Ingredient in Transformational Talent Development Leadership
  3. How to build a path of opportunities. Article series: The Learning & Development career path
  4. LinkedIn Learning Courses To Support Learning Designers Build Skills In 4 Core Areas
  5. Learning 2020 – Glossary Of Core Concepts
  6. L&D skills in 2021 – Have you got these job roles covered?
  7. How to Establish Yourself as an Incoming L&D leader
  8. The journey of a start-up L&D Pro

Learning Theories & Science

  1. Seven neuroscience backed-up facts for better learning experience design
  2. Learning theories timeline: key ideas from educational psychology
  3. Adult Learning Principles
  4. Nurturing Self Directed Learning
  5. Welcome to Unlearning
  6. How to separate learning myths from reality


  1. 32 Onboarding Templates and Checklists
  2. The only onboarding timeline you’ll need from offer to first Friday
  3. Best practices for remote onboarding
  4. Better.com’s Onboarding Process for Growing From 350 to 3,000 Employees
  5. 8 Steps to Creating a Virtual Employee Onboarding Program
  6. A Guide For Onboarding Remote Engineers


  1. Learning campaigns
  2. 6 Marketing Tactics L&D needs to use
  3. The importance of branding in learning

Learning in the flow of work

Dear L&D: the answers aren’t in your building. I can bet you that 60-70% of what the workforce deals with on a daily basis is NOT what you train them on. When’s the last time you’ve been IN the work environment that you support?
  1. Developing a real strategy for on-the-job learning
  2. Learning in the Flow of Work
  3. The simple joy of learning on the job


  1. How do you build a successful mentor-mentee relationship?
  2. 6 Things Every Mentor Should Do
  3. We Studied 100 Mentor-Mentee Matches — Here’s What Makes Mentorship Work
  4. Five Questions Every Mentor Must Ask
  5. 5 Corporate Mentorship Programs Worth Imitating
  6. What Mentors Wish Their Mentees Knew

Behavior Change

  1. How to use nudge theory to drive successful learning engagement
  2. Learning and Behavior Change
  3. Spotlight on nudging: how to get a breakthrough in L&D
  4. Supporting Behavior Change at Work
  5. Nudge Theory
  6. Big Behavior Shifts Start with Small Nudges

Internal Virtual Events

  1. Use This Startup’s Playbook for Running Impactful Virtual Offsites
  2. Using Miro for a remote leadership offsite
  3. How We Hold an Engaging All Hands Meeting as a Remote Team

L&D Books

  1. How People Learn
  2. Neuroscience for Learning and Development: How to Apply Neuroscience and Psychology for Improved Learning and Training
  3. Evidence-Informed Learning Design: Creating Training to Improve Performance
  4. Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development
  5. Learning Analytics: Using Talent Data to Improve Business Outcomes
  6. The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete and Succeed
  7. Map it
  8. Design for how people learn
  9. Design thinking for training and development
  10. Coaching for performance
  11. Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation
  12. The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time
  13. The Successful Virtual Classroom: How to Design and Facilitate Interactive and Engaging Live Online Learning
  14. Behavioral Scientist’s Summer Book List 2020

Lavinia Mehedintu has been designing learning experiences and career development programs for the past 9 years both in the corporate world and in higher education. As a Co-Founder and Learning Architect @Offbeat she’s applying adult learning principles so that learning & people professionals can connect, collaborate, and grow. She’s passionate about social learning, behavior change, and technology and constantly puts in the work to bring these three together to drive innovation in the learning & development space.

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