Re-Imagining eLearning in A Post-COVID World

As organizations across the globe start their journey towards re-boot, they can’t push the pause button on talent and capability building. With organizations around the world postponing or cancelling in-person meetings and curtailed workforce coming to workplaces with distancing being the new normal, the moment belongs to virtual modes of learning.

To grant themselves a chance to succeed and thrive in the post-COVID world, organizations can’t afford to put workplace learning on hold. Whether the effort is towards re-skilling to meet the requirements of continuously evolving business models or adapting the organization to be resilient, they can’t simply push the pause button on the critical capability building.

The onus is on learning and HR leaders to take steps and measures to adapt programs and delivery to the new normal. They should look at establishing digital learning programs if not done already and expand the existing virtual learning ecosystems.

Current State of eLearning
Corporate training and capability development programs are increasingly going online in response to the new social distancing norms. While the global eLearning market was growing at a faster pace before the pandemic, the current state is only fuelling the growth in the eLearning space.

As per a recent report by GMINSIGHTS, the eLearning market is expected to grow to USD 375 Billion by 2026 growing at a CAGR of 14% during this period.

Organizations across the globe are increasingly looking at eLearning platforms as one way to engage and educate employees as they work from home.

While the LMS platform and technology used are important, of equal importance are the quality of content and post-implementation support. As a lot of organizations were not prepared for this transition from instructor-led training to eLearning, they ended up merely putting PowerPoint decks or other material created for F2F training online. This led to learner disengagement and low retention rates.

While it may be a little premature to predict the level of acceleration of eLearning adoption because of the pandemic, but the concern for employee safety and distancing has lowered the cost barriers for eLearning platforms. It opens opportunities for learning leaders to promote and expand eLearning offerings. They are also experimenting with learning and collaboration technologies for virtual delivery for maximum impact.

The Road Ahead - Future of e-Learning
Learning has now evolved drastically from traditional instructor-led learning with a mix of virtual learning to a more flexible, informal, and collaborative process. Technology has played a pivotal role in making learning more accessible, engaging, and fun to learners.

Adopting corporate e-learning the solution can help organizations meet their learning objectives in the current situation. The age of new employees entering the job market is also influencing the way content is getting designed and delivered. Because of distancing, the employees are under a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress. The consensus amongst the learning leaders is to deliver programs while keeping learners engaged and motivated.

Here are some of the trends we see in the road ahead for corporate eLearning solutions.

1. Micro-learning

Research from Bersin by Deloitte shows that modern employees have so many distractions, that on average they get only five minutes of uninterrupted work time. As the world now moves to work-from-home, the distractions are only increasing.

The micro-learning perfectly fits the bill as short videos can be accessed from anywhere and allow learners to stay engaged. Micro-learning helps boost retention by keeping the information delivered in small bytes and if used with reinforcements like quizzes, assessments, etc. have shown to boost long-term retention rates above 90%.

2. Blended Learning

Previously, the bulk of the training course (70%) was delivered in a face-to-face format and the rest was virtual. While the lockdowns have pushed it 100% training conducted virtually, once the lockdown eases, we will see a reversal of roles with eLearning taking up to 70% of the course and rest offline.

3. Game-based Learning

Game-based learning is getting a lot of encouragement from learning heads and learners alike as it has shown higher retention and more engagement compared to traditional learning methods. The organizations would move from partial game-based learning environments to game-based learning platforms and ultimately a complete gamified learning environment with a lot of 3D, AR, and VR components with social integration, rewards, badges, etc.

4. Personalized Learning

Today’s learners have unique abilities and they respond differently to learning opportunities. Therefore, the learning objectives, instructional approach and sequencing of content should vary based on learners needs. The future of eLearning would entail using assessment data and machine learning to create personalized learning paths and identify learners with targeted advice at places where attention is needed.

4. Social Learning

The best thing about the group-based learning courses is that you learn from other perspectives and have a benchmark to compare your progress. The future of eLearning includes a platform that allows video conferencing, chat, in-course discussions, shared workspaces, and collaboration tools to assist in social learning.

5. Agility in Managing Scale–Resources and Infrastructure

Most economies and organizations would also see a spurt in hiring activity once the recession is over. eLearning will be the new norm for the learning experience. There should be enough resources or LMS platform should be capable to handle the load of all the traffic coming their way. Also preparing new content for the freshers beforehand is a good idea to stay ahead of the curve. The composition of learning teams would also undergo drastic changes with more people required to create and port content, train soft skills, manage administrative tasks, manage collaborative spaces, and make sure that learners are having an engaging learning experience while having fun going through it.

6. New Content Types for Complex Training Needs

Along with LMS platforms, training materials will change as well. The time of canned presentations and poorly constructed offline to online content is gone for good. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) would become more widespread specifically for skill-based training. AR/VR would be used to create simulations or other complex situations that require identical environments for hands-on training.

While a transition to eLearning was a necessity because of the pandemic, but as we return to normalcy, we should not let the gains wither away. Organizations should create a new-normal of a blended, personalized learning approach to impart the knowledge that employees need to become productive. These approaches need to be supported by decisions based on data to foster more learning.

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Manish is the COO and Co-Founder of GurukulOnline Learning Solutions (GOLS), an eLearning provider with end-to-end in-house capabilities in terms of consulting, platform and content development. GOLS is disrupting and creating waves in the eLearning industry both from corporate and educational institute focussed learning solutions. He is accredited with 100% successful project delivery and has helped clients win many prestigious awards for innovative eLearning solutions.

Manish has over 27 years of in business leadership, operations, finance, and strategy and is an acknowledged authority on eLearning having worked in this field for the last 15 years.
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