Technology continues to change the ways we live, work and learn. In 2020, the push to virtual work and learning became necessary to conduct business. In-person training will make a comeback when the time is right, but virtual learning is here to stay. Therefore, organizations must continue to create high-quality learning experiences for their employees regardless of where they are located.

As we enter 2021 with new goals and ideas for transforming learning in our organizations, it’s important to consider how technology can be leveraged moving forward. Sure, learning leaders were able to get critical programs converted to a delivery method that allowed programs to continue in 2020, but did they make the optimal choice?

This issue of Training Industry Magazine examines considerations for designing and delivering virtual learning solutions – from managing sensory overload to measuring the impact of virtual training to humanizing the virtual learning experience. In technology-driven learning, we must be intentional when crafting virtual learning experiences to mitigate employee burnout and fatigue – as well as generate genuine interest and engagement.

Converting in-person training to a virtual format is more than transferring content to a PowerPoint presentation. It’s much more complicated than that. We must first determine the behavior change and outcomes we hope to achieve through training. After establishing those key performance indicators, we can condense the content into engaging and digestible formats that provide the right amount information at the right time.

Rethinking virtual learning solutions to consider learning in the flow of work enables employees to consume information without taking them off the job. They can source content as they need it and practice what they’ve learned in safe virtual environments, such as simulations, virtual labs and even video recording their practice sessions for feedback.

This shift to virtual will substantially reduce costs in travel and time. These savings create an opportunity for the learning and development function to reinvest in and enhance existing programs. That may include increasing access to virtual coaches and mentors to help employees sustain the impact of training or adding other post-training support to ensure employees retain and apply new learning. The great news is that we have all had some experience with newly converted programs and can identify opportunities to improve the experience and hopefully increase the impact.

After a transition like the one many training departments went through in 2020, there is an opportunity to question the need to customize the content in our learning solutions. The sheer volume of readily available, high-quality content may encourage us to be more comfortable deploying generic programs while investing more time and money in customizing and completing the learning experience.

As always, we love to hear your thoughts on the perspectives shared in this edition. Feel free to send any suggestions for us to consider.