There’s no question COVID-19 put a screeching halt to our existing ways of providing quality learning and development (L&D) to all audiences. How do you replace the human element of classroom-style teaching with an in-person instructor providing live support, guiding you and providing immediate feedback? It’s a tough task to complete and the answer is … you can’t. No amount of science or technology can replace human interaction. Instead, aim to reimagine, retool and reinvent how eLearning, microlearning and learning management systems (LMSs) are offered. This will, in turn, provide the skills and knowledge required by learners to perform their day-to-day activities.
But since these technologies were already present pre-COVID, wasn’t it only a matter of time before this close second became prevalent in the workplace? Absolutely! COVID simply fast-tracked it. This shift is viewed as a big change within most companies in how they train their staff. Never mind the financial investment in technology, we’re talking paradigm shift and a major change in people’s receptiveness with this close second (change management people of the world, rejoice!).
In the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new training tools, technology and learning methods which will benefit us for years to come. We know about eLearning and virtual training, but other on-demand options such as augmented reality (AR) learning and virtual reality (VR) learning environments are being touted as the next big thing in learning.
So, what can be expected in this brave new world?
- More hybrid learning: With the widespread adoption of online learning during the pandemic, we can expect to see a continued use of hybrid learning models that combine in-person and online instruction as learners seek to gain the knowledge and skills required to succeed. Schools and universities worldwide were one of the first to adopt the hybrid models, and while some have returned to fully in-person instruction, many have decided to remain in the hybrid model.
- More personalized learning: The one-size-fits-all approach no longer services the needs of the working population. The need is apparent for personalized learning that is tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. The past few years have seen an increase in the use for personalized training, and COVID has accelerated and reinforced that urgency. Great advances in technology can help with the creation of personalized learning experiences which can easily adapt to individual learning styles, interests and abilities.
- An increased focus on digital literacy: Historically, advances in technology have accelerated a greater requirement for stronger digital literacy skills, and the same could be said during the pandemic. Tools such as Zoom, Teams, Webex, and Meet became essential as our main method of contact to the outside world — not just with our business counterparts, but also with friends and family. Additionally, it is expected that schools and universities place a larger emphasis on establishing digital literacy skills.
- A greater emphasis on soft skills: Soft skills are just as powerful and necessary as having strong digital literacy skills. While such skills as communication, collaboration and adaptability have always been important, they’ve become even more essential to ensure success in a rapidly changing world.
Overall, the pandemic has accelerated changes that were already happening in training, and learners can expect to see continued innovation and evolution in the way learning is conducted today. By embracing flexibility and innovation, we can better adapt to our new reality and thrive in the face of uncertainty.