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How COVID has transformed learning and development

Companies switch to online for L&D

The pandemic has transformed the way businesses manage their entire operations from real-estate and talent strategies.

Following continuous and protracted lockdowns, companies have had to rapidly pivot and transform their learning and development (L&D) strategies to online delivery channels.

Such a move, albeit expensive has created a robust foundation for the future where the predominant method of workplace education will be digital. Such a transition will eventually produce dividends for companies as they ‘produce once – deliver many’.

Upskilling for the future

According to PwC’s 22nd CEO Survey, 79% of CEOs around the world feel concerned that a lack of essential skills in their workforce threatened the future growth of their organisations. Meanwhile, 46% of CEOs said upskilling was the most important initiative to help close the skills gap in their company.

In a recent study 62% of businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic spent more on training in 2021, with a 24% spike in virtual learning.

Benefits of online learning

For businesses, there are numerous benefits to moving training programmes online.

1. It saves precious work time (no more travelling to and from learning centres), reduces running costs and enables people to learn at their own pace.

  1. There are a plethora of online L&D platforms available at relatively low cost.
  2. Produce once and deliver many across multiple time zones, locations and departments.

Pre-recorded versus live training

Pre-recorded training as enables employees to work at their own pace enabling a smoother balance between work, training and home life (especially for those working from home).

Most digital L&D can easily be easily adapted and can also be delivered as a combination of live and pre-record.

Balancing L&D spending

It’s worth noting the effectiveness of training courses is largely down to three main factors:

  1. The learning event 25%
  2. How focused the individual is when learning 25%
  3. The follow up activities 50%

Too many companies are only investing 10% of their budgets in pre-learning tasks and spending just 5% on post-training activities. By failing to plan L&D programmes companies are placing too heavy a burden on employees’ engagement with the events or experiences themselves. A major risk especially in the work from home environment.

Designing training courses that aren’t so reliant on individuals’ engagement with specific talks, videos or tasks is therefore a critical part of creating a modern L&D strategy.

How to plan L&D in a hybrid world

While the pandemic has no doubt accelerated the rocketing popularity of online training, there’s still a place for face-to-face learning.

Remote L&D can have its challenges – from home technology issues to low levels of interaction with training staff. While some individuals may prefer online learning, others might find the self-directed nature of some training courses difficult and struggle to motivate themselves.

What’s also worth remembering is that it’s vital to ensure digitised training experiences are designed to be truly inclusive: materials must be accessible for those with disabilities and additional needs. Putting a resource on the internet only goes so far when it comes to broadening participation.

Arguably, the ideal learning and development solution mirrors the hybrid approach many companies are now taking when it comes to where their employees are based. A mixture of interactive or face-to-face training experiences and self-directed learning courses offers people the best of both worlds, and could be the way forward in the new world of work.