When it comes to learning, our work is never really done. There is never a point in life where you can simply declare “I am done”.
And yet, the way many businesses have traditionally approached continuous learning goes very much against this idea, packing sessions into just a few days or hours. This is either by necessity due to budgets or based around traditional norms, bringing in a team of professionals once a year (or even less often) to do a full session for an entire company.
But this is not how people actually learn. In fact, a study by IBM conducted last year said that it actually takes a lot longer than that – 36 days to teach employees new skills in an impactful way.
Of course, a 36 day in person course is simply not an option for many companies. The costs would be astronomical. This would be due to the cost of the course itself as well as the time lost by taking employees out of work for so long.
The continued learning classroom has to evolve and the answer on how to do that has never been more clear.
We already spend most of our working lives in front of computers. This means each and every employee has a front row seat to more personalized and engaging online learning that can be ongoing.
We’ve also never had a more captive audience than we do now. With the coronavirus pandemic, companies that were used to conducting all of their business in person had to rapidly shift to remote work methods almost overnight.
With budgets being slashed across the board due to the continued impact of the virus, the simple answer might have seemed to be to simply cut learning methods as well. After all, the in person methods we were used to seeing were now all but impossible.
However, employees that are getting to know entirely new ways of working actually need access to learning more than ever before in order to keep up with shifting protocols, work styles, and collaboration methods.
Employees also need to learn in the moment, in their downtime, and some experts recommend starting your mornings with a bit of learning.
That’s where e-Learning provides a cost effective and manageable solution to make continued learning at scale possible.
With the uptick in internet-connected work, many companies are turning to these digital classrooms as a way to keep their business connected. And the numbers support this growth. In fact, before the pandemic even hit, Fast Company reported that the online education market would hit $350 billion by 2025.
The overall adoption rate is still much lower than it needs to be to ensure that more people can access these remote learning methods. This could be due to the fact that many people view their previous e-learning experiences as negative and simply don’t realize the opportunities and innovations we have available to us now.
According to the Harvard Business Review, many people have also found the transition to virtual work to be stressful, especially those who didn’t necessarily consider themselves “tech savvy” before the pandemic. “We have observed that a move to virtual work provokes anxiety, and, as a reaction, the temptation for all involved is to embrace a simple, narrow view of learning as just the efficient transmission of knowledge through digital tools.”
Because of this line of thinking, companies need to make their e-learning practices approachable and easy to access. Overly complicated platforms that require their own extensive tutorials just to access are simply not an option. Online learning allows individuals to go at their own pace and ask questions in a more supportive and private environment.
There are opportunities to have e-learners participate in small groups, view live in-person instruction, and even attend virtual events.
Plus, learning in general can be remarkably more effective when it’s shorter, avoiding the weariness that comes with extended sessions. With online learning, you can watch short sessions more often. This helps prevent people from zoning out while also keeping their “learning brain” turned on more often. Once a year just isn’t going to help with that.
Even when in-person interaction is safe again, online learning will still very much be a part of a new blended learning approach. It can change so much about the way we re-skill and support employees and that’s an opportunity not to be missed.
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