At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations were forced to quickly find alternatives to the in-person, instructor-led classroom training for most of their learning offerings. The majority opted to turn their ILT into virtual classrooms for the sake of expediency and efficiency without an eye on the future. In April 2020, 86% of companies in Brandon Hall Group’s study, Transitioning to the New Realities of the COVID-19 Experience, said they were using webinars to replace ILT and 67% said they were using virtual classrooms. Unfortunately, this often resulted in less-than-ideal learning experiences. Live content may not work in a webinar and an effective in-person instructor may lack the necessary skill set to be an effective virtual facilitator.
As a result, we’ve seen a shift as companies attempt other learning solutions in place of ILT. More companies are using videos, eLearning and microlearning and fewer are using webinars, conference calls and VILT. It is clear, however, that most companies were unprepared. In a mid-2020 pandemic-related Brandon Hall Group study, fewer than half of companies indicated they were technologically ready to deliver digital learning to a remote workforce. At the same time, just 13% said that their use of digital learning would go back down to pre-pandemic levels as their return-to-work strategies roll out.
The workforce, however, is ready. Nearly two-thirds of companies said their employees were ready for a shift to digital learning once the pandemic set in. Now, people have had months to settle into a remote work routine, and the distractions of being at home have faded. For many companies, a large chunk of these workers won’t ever be returning to the office. That means whatever strategies they are developing for learning now must be for the long-term.
Organizations’ leaders have been considering the digital transformation of learning for a long time but have been very slow to put anything substantial in place. The pandemic required this transition to occur almost overnight. Organizations must take this opportunity to truly transform their learning strategy and the technology they use to make it a reality. They must look toward sustainable, impactful solutions, rather than temporary measures. The benefits of a strategy that includes more digital solutions are not limited to the pandemic or remote workers. This approach will drive results even if and when an organization undergoes a complete “return-to-work.”
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