eLearning in the workplace is taking the world by storm. 98% of all companies are planning to use eLearning by 2020, according to an article in Small Business Trends. They report that corporations have increased their use of eLearning by a whopping 900% in the last 16 years. During these unprecedented times, I believe that this statistic could be exponentially higher than predicted.
Learning and training in the midst of this pandemic has transformed to take a blended learning approach. eLearning uses electronic technologies to educate members of a team, collectively or individually, outside the traditional classroom. It leverages tools such as Zoom and BlueJeans to facilitate trainings and communication across continents, and in this respect are both remarkable to connecting remote and diverse employees worldwide.
Our current environment has prompted a pivotal change in how we teach and train. We as trainers do not need to give the same session over and over again to new trainees, and trainees no longer need to be present for the entirety of the session. As trainings can be recorded, participants are able to consume the content in the speed and manner that is most suitable to them, rewinding when they wish to hear an important point again.
The ability to re-watch trainings allows veteran employees an opportunity to refresh their skillset and identify undesirable habits they may have picked up along the way. Harvard research reveals that taking these short, regular tests halved student distraction, and increased their overall retention of the content. Individuals are able to sharpen their saw and boost productivity, making themselves better in their role, as the content delivery is consistent and repeated if needed. I believe it has kept the participants’ needs at the forefront, especially during the pandemic.
Online training has the capability to boost employees’ productivity. When individuals are better trained and have the knowledge they need about their services or products, they will be more efficient. According to Forbes, “every dollar invested in online training results in a US$30 increase in productivity. Companies that use eLearning technology achieve an 18% boost in employee engagement.” When employees are not engaged, they will not learn as they should. More and more, employees want access to a more modern learning experience that utilises videos, articles, podcasts and other forms of digital content. Most of these individuals are on-the-go, and need to have the ability to take the courses however and whenever they can. A classroom training cannot provide this flexibility during these challenging times.
Furthermore, eLearning can help to reduce employee turnover. According to Forbes, 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. When companies invest in online or offline training for employees, they are more likely to stay as they are able to further their professional skills and goals in their existing role, and feel valued.
I am a big believer that, while the digital realm is efficient and effective, there is nothing like human interaction to understand models on a deeper level. One cannot anticipate the direction of questions from participants will evolve, and depending on the complexity of the matter, answering them may be better suited for an in-person, live training. Our ability, as trainers, to read expressions and catch nuances in behaviour to ensure active participation is limited online. Moreover, there are often times where internet connectivity, technical difficulties or video and audio quality, affecting the seamlessness of the training experience. In times such as these, agility is required to manoeuvre the circumstances and still provide the best training possible to individuals and teams.
Participation, inter-communication between participants and thoughtful questions come about through a shared and engaged energy. It is often very difficult to create this in a virtual setting, however, executing these kinds of interactions both on and offline requires a creative approach, and this is a strength we excel in at EHP International. Our online trainings are often a hyperbole of in-person trainings, as there are more opportunities for distraction depending on the environment the participant takes the training in. Therefore, as a trainer, I always ensure my energy is above and beyond and I communicate with each participant, so that it mirrors the level of interaction that I give in-person.
In today’s world, one has to remain agile and adapt to situations to better serve the training needs of individuals; some prefer online, while others offline. Online tools such as BlueJeans and Zoom have helped to navigate, as well as develop the digital side of the business, allowing us to future-proof our training methods to remain ahead of the curve. The learnings we have gained during the pandemic and operating online-only trainings will inform how we train in the future; our trainings no longer need to only be confined to four walls. I believe that Blended Learning is the way forward, as it balances the use of digital assets in a more bespoke and accessible manner in-person and vice versa, in turn, balancing both in-person and online training options.