The Future Shape of Workplace Learning
Are you in good shape to support your learners going forward?
If there is one thing that the last two years have taught us as learning and development professionals, it is that we can deliver workplace learning without face-to-face activities and events. I’m not saying we’ve always done it that well, but when global constraints forced us to change our ways, we did what we needed to do, and to a large extent, it worked.
That said, the lack of face-to-face learning did cause significant disruption and many organisations were only able to implement a ‘quick and dirty fix’ in terms of their transition to digital learning. So what should we be focussing on to enhance our learning offering for the future? In this article, I will share my thoughts on five matters that deserve your attention as we hopefully leave Covid behind.
There is no going back
Take it as a fact that for most of us, the future of work will be hybrid. Digital learning is here to stay in one form or another, so it is important that we embrace this message and work to continually enhance and evolve the efficacy of our digital learning programmes.
Some of the statistics and feedback around this transition is quite staggering and positive:
90% of corporations now use eLearning compared to just 4% in 1995
Corporate eLearning is estimated to grow more than 250 percent by the year 2026
When asked, 60% of Internet users reported that online courses are preferable to fit their lifestyle and schedules
The good news is that, in the main, digital learning offers a cost saving over face-to-face delivery. The less good news is that perhaps we need to consider how we can use some of that cost saving to enhance the learner journey and options in a digital world. I think it is more important than ever to think more deeply about your workplace learners and develop personas for your audience, just as marketeers do in their work. For example, consider the following personas and learning considerations.
‘I Can Teach Myself’ – perhaps typified by IT Professionals, their desire is to be offered the tools ad opportunities to enable them to learn in their own timeline. For process, product, and company information training think about offering a mix of eLearning modules, podcasts, videos, eBooks and other online resources. For access to subject matter experts offer chatbots, discussion forums, online communities, and recorded webinars.
‘Guide my Learning Journey’ – they appreciate being guided as to what they need to study and be provided with a schedule framework. For process, product, and company information training use email drips, webcasts, virtual workshops, livestreaming, online events, and MOOCS. . For access to subject matter experts offer coaching, live webinars, virtual networking, and the opportunity to have learning exercises assessed.
One-Way Virtual Presentations just don’t work
The quick fix for many organisations was to hurriedly turn face-to-face materials into virtual classroom collateral and deliver the content as a trainer-led presentation, with little attention or regard as to how to migrate the classroom interactions into the virtual world. For anything more than a fifteen-to-thirty-minute information share, this format of online learning just does not work. You need to invest time in working out how you can build interactivity and the social elements of learning into the online world. This takes more time and a good level of familiarity, experience and expertise with the web-based collaborative environments you have chosen to use. You need to become competent in managing features such as polls, chat, and breakout rooms. You also need to work hard to ensure your slide decks are more than just an essay of bullet points. First, invest in the upskilling of your learning and development professionals and then ensure you introduce an effective pedagogy that will underpin the instructional design process.
Synchronous Learning is not Scalable
The quick fix was often to transition from the classroom to the virtual classroom. Heeding the warning above this works but very soon you will realise that this approach is just not scalable and it has the same, if not more limitations as classroom training; well certainly if you want to offer a good learning experience. Asynchronous learning is the way forward in this respect as it has much fewer challenges in terms of scalability, albeit you need to work much harder to ensure there are opportunities for learner interaction and social connections. A well-design mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning modes will offer you the best, scalable outcomes.
No Coding is the Way Forward
Now that digital learning is the mainstream, you will need to make it easy and quick for your learning and development team and subject matter experts to create the content you need, on-demand. Coding is both time consuming and specialist. No code tools that use an intuitive graphical user interface enable the instruction design process to be more easily scalable. There is an ever-increasing array of no-code tools out there such as Bubble, Notion and Glide.
Accessibility takes Centre Stage
If digital learning is now the mainstream then it is critical that it is designed in a way that is accessible to all people, as it becomes the only option. You now need to ensure that your programmes are designed to be taken by people who have visual, hearing or motor impairments and ensure these considerations are deep coded and core to the instructional design process.
If this has offered you food for thought in terms of how you want to direct your digital learning strategy for the coming year, why not research our comprehensive multi-publisher catalogue offering a huge range of courses on all these subjects here to find the courses you need to support your organisation in 2022 and beyond?