As we bid farewell to the tumultuous year that was 2020, many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief that we’ve managed to weather its storms. The world of HR, Payroll and Learning & Development encounters changes fairly regularly, but last year was a doozie!
The onset of the pandemic accelerated those changes in ways we’d never have expected:
- Working from home.
- Recruiting and Onboarding of new colleagues without actually meeting them.
- Training customers and employees remotely because the option to have them attend a face-to-face classroom was no longer viable.
The new way of working has increased the urgency for the automation of HR processes enormously. For many companies, the process of digital transformation was one they’d already embarked on, but the pandemic forced a massive change of pace. That change was most immediate in the world of training; as lockdown was brought in, any face-to-face training had to be put on hold.
Of course, the popularity of Learning Management Systems (LMS) has already been growing in the past few years, but the pandemic brought a new urgency to their adoption. Suddenly all training would have to be provided online. Everything delivered in person would now be delivered virtually, and much of the existing training content simply didn’t lend itself to that. A class led by an instructor has its own momentum; the trainer can check for understanding, explain the more complex concepts, and—perhaps most importantly— gauge the attention levels in the room. You get none of these benefits if you take PowerPoint files and simply add “click here to continue” on each slide!
It rapidly became evident that face-to-face training materials didn’t necessarily work in a virtual setting. LMS platform sales went through the roof, as did the growth of off-the-shelf training materials (of varying levels of usefulness, it must be said). It was time for training to step outside of its comfort zone and rise to the challenge.
As with so many unwelcome changes, the world of remote learning has immense benefits to offer those who embrace it with a well-thought-out strategy. Among these:
- Training can be extended to more people than in a classroom setting
- Courses and learning paths can be tailored and made available to a much wider audience
- Training can be undertaken and scheduled at a time suited to an individual’s availability
- Tests can be included to ensure the training is successful
- Learner engagement and performance can be tracked and measured
- Gamification can make the training program more enjoyable and compelling
- Virtual classroom training is still achievable using video-conferencing software – a good LMS will support most of these.
The use of an LMS offers a much more comprehensive range of ways to impart knowledge and to measure its effectiveness. Courses can be a mixture of slides, video, quizzes, and links to other resources like YouTube clips, pdfs, etc. And because you’re not taking delegates away from their desk for a whole day’s training at a time, the course itself can be broken into smaller modules. Delegates can learn something, try it for themselves, then be tested to ensure understanding. And because they have flexibility about when they do these, they’re more likely to retain the knowledge gained.
A well-structured LMS will keep track of the delegates’ progress through individual courses or whole learning paths. Line Managers can see what progress their direct reports are making and offer help and encouragement where needed.
Adopting a remote learning strategy offers some great opportunities for companies with the ambition and vision to approach it in a structured way. Both employee and customer trainees can be better served, delivering increased productivity and engagement. But we need to accept that it’s more than a slightly different toolset; it’s an entirely new way to impart knowledge.
eLearning, and the need to reach learners in different ways, is now a fact of life. There are considerable benefits to be gained for those who grasp the opportunity.
This is the first in a series of articles on eLearning authored by Charlie Gray, Business Development at Tugela People.
Charlie has been part of the Tugela People Team since 2019 and has worked in HR-related technologies including pre-employment assessments, Applicant Tracking Systems, and HRIS for longer than he is prepared to admit!