Of all the changes that have happened as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most drastic has been to our working lives. The dramatic and sudden shift to remote working has been both a challenge and an opportunity for our workplaces, and the same goes specifically for corporate training. Professional development, safety and on-the-job training has not become less important despite our limited availability to learn “IRL.” In fact, we’d argue that a comprehensive approach to high-quality training is now more critical than ever.
Here’s how COVID-19 has changed corporate training and how this poses a challenge – and an incredible opportunity – for your organization.
From the industrial revolution to the advent of personal computing and the internet in the 80’s and 90’s, disrupting events have pushed us towards progress, whether we were ready or not. Here are the top perks for your business that are a result of coronavirus-related shifts to virtual learning, training and professional development.
Workplace learning has been one of the hardest-hit business activities in 2020, with roughly 50% of in-person programs not taking place in North America. This has naturally led toward an increased reliance on online training and virtual solutions. Of course, all of us here are champions of eLearning and believe in the power of online training to be an opportunity to make training more accessible, effective and equitable for learners…but we also know that not everyone feels that way and there is still a stigma to online education.
Luckily, this truly is an opportunity to ensure our workplaces are equipped with a comprehensive suite of training and professional development tools, from a holistic Learning Management System (LMS) to highly-specific and targeted safety, compliance, and performance optimization solutions for your industry.
Last, but not least: your people prefer it! 75% of surveyed employees prefer to learn using online training videos. Why? There are many reasons that online training is so attractive to learners, but some of the top are that it is easily updated and therefore remains current and pertinent to their jobs, convenient to their schedule and learning preferences, and it’s scalable, too.
In-person instructors might be able to pick up on cues from the learners’ behavior, allowing them to observe how their audience is comprehending the material and then make any adjustments to improve the outcome. With virtual learning, both with and without instructors, it’s important to thoroughly test your courses for quality assurance to ensure the material is engaging and accessible to learners, maximizing results. Surveying learners immediately after the course is a great way to get feedback from your learners and allows you to immediately make changes to improve the experience for future learners. This also allows you to provide feedback for instructors to improve their skills, too.
As we’ve discussed previously, reviewing your courses through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion is important, as eLearning is not immune to bias. As we take the opportunity to invest in our online training offerings, we can also audit the quality of these courses and how they exist within the greater culture of our organizations.
With social distancing comes the need for a greater emphasis on communication within your organization. From safety precautions to professional training and development, we can’t pause our efforts just because we can’t be in the same physical space with our teams.
And along with communication, mental health and workplace wellness matter more than ever before. Now that we cannot rely on in-person interaction as heavily, we can take a step back and make it an intentional, considered part of our professional culture.
This also applies to leadership development, which doesn’t stop just because we are in a pandemic! You can (and should) still be focused on building leaders within your organization. This means ensuring you’re working with high quality tools for performance development, online training and development, and emphasizing corporate values and culture in your communication.
Our recent shift to online interfaces and virtual training tools is not a stop-gap; it’s an opportunity to overhaul the way your organization looks at training and leadership development for good. Attracting and nurturing top talent has always required organizations to make a genuine commitment to providing best-in-class learning opportunities and this unprecedented time is no exception. Online training and learning is the future, and we are here for it.