How are you using remote learning technology in the ‘new normal’?

    Are you a public sector body providing education? Or perhaps you’re a commercial organisation that rolls out company-wide training? Maybe you’re somewhere in between. Regardless, how you communicate with and reach your internal and external stakeholders will undoubtedly have been affected by the pandemic. Accordingly, how can you use your remote learning technology to support your employees, in the ways in which they need?

     

    Where are you now?

     

    To what extent have you achieved aims via remote learning technology to educate, train and communicate with audience(s)?

    Undoubtedly, there will be a mixed picture of  remote learning technology usage ‘pre-pandemic’.

    Many may well have been using technology such as LMS and LCMSs internally for some time. You might have been an early adopter and be fully aware of the benefits of enterprise-wide learning platforms. You may be aware of the advantages of having all the functionality (such as authoring, a digital repository, project and workflow management and multiple output delivery) of an ‘all in-one’ LCMS in place. Naturally, one, scalable, tool, rather than many different systems, saves time and resources.

     

    Whichever position you are in, you will be aware of the huge shift to remote learning technology taking place globally.

     

    How has the pandemic changed the use of learning technology?

     

    In Education

    Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are taking remote learning technology very seriously. For instance, the World Bank is currently working on compiling studies of how learning technology is being applied in dozens of countries. In another instance, UNESCO has put together a directory of national technologies and tools for distance learning.

     

    Accordingly, public sector bodies and media organisations are considering remote learning technology as serious tools in which to invest. This is not just for the short-term, but for the future. For example, in the UK, the BBC has launched virtual learning by creating daily curriculum-based lessons for K12 students, tailored to the four nations.  In China, the numbers suddenly involved in accessing remote learning have been record-breaking, described as “the largest simultaneous online learning exercise in human history”. There is a similar picture globally, and it is not limited to K12 education. Let us now take a look at how remote learning technology is being applied anew in different sectors.

     

    Corporate Universities and remote learning

     

    The advantages of rolling out training via LCMSs and LMSs won’t new to L&D professionals. Some larger organizations, such as IKEA, Mars and  Telefonica have had long-established Corporate Universities/Academies, which not only serve the purpose of training their global teams but focus on Corporate Learning as a strategic imperative.

     

    Accordingly, in an article on how the pandemic will change things forever, Forbes magazine predicts that the e-learning element of corporate learning will increase and persist as the main focus of elearning. This suggests that face-to-face training will become: ‘reserved for certain functions and certain populations within the company’.

     

    Adapting existing remote learning technology

     

    Do you already have some remote learning technology in place from current/past training programs?  Can you use what you already have to support your learners during this shift to increased (and enforced) remote working?

     

    First, seek out what learning technology your global organization currently has in place and assess all of its functionality. You may find that a small business unit has been using a system that is little-known to the wider organization. The technology might have been used to deliver a small amount of learning to a limited audience base. Might the platform have functionality that could be scaled up to support the further needs of your global community? For example, do you now have to increase frequency of communications, to reach all of your stakeholders? This might involve more informal information-sharing at a local level. Eg, frequent updates on changing working-hours of individuals (as they are having to accommodate caring responsibilities).

    Look out for technology that allow users to share relevant content to specific/functional groups and teams.

     

    Keeping employees engaged with each other

     

    Remote-working may be affecting employees’ sense of community. HBR,  suggests that remote learning technology that allows employees to share and add comments on the same platform may go far in supporting camaraderie and social connection”. This may in turn encourage the learning habit for longer periods.

    HBR also suggests that sharing what organizational leaders are learning via the platform can be motivating and may maintain the learning habit.

     

    Not just for the short-term

     

    The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released some compelling data suggesting that (post-pandemic) the adaptation of huge numbers of learners to accessing remote learning via technology  “might be here to stay”. The WEF’s research states that “online learning has been shown to increase retention of information, and (as many L&D professionals have known for some time) takes less time”. The stats from WEF states “students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom”.

     

    Additionally, there is lots of speculation that the new ‘working-from-home’ model has led to positive outcomes for organizations. For example, in a discussion on the pandemic and the ‘new normal’ Palmer, 2020, refers to anecdotal evidence of ‘improved satisfaction and reduced attrition’ reported by firms about their employees. Of course, having appropriate and scalable technology will be an essential part of this. How well your technology works for the circumstances may well have an impact on your experience.

     

    Looking to the future

     

    Indeed, Palmer, 2020, continues that those organizations who are organised enough to adapt and be nimble in arranging appropriate working scenarios will do well in the long-term. Here it is important to consider if your remote learning technology is scalable and flexible. Importantly, it must meet the needs of your learning population in adverse circumstances. If you can say yes to that, and if you have done some scenario planning for future eventualities, then you may be best-placed to lead your sector and strategic group in not only transitioning, but also in future-proofing your employees skills and knowledge. Thus you stand an excellent chance of protecting and maintaining your industry position.

     

    eXact learning solutions has been supporting its global clients with ‘con-X’, a scalable, informal learning suite,  as an extension of the Learning Content Management System (LCMS). For more information about ‘con-X’, our free infographic on ‘How informal learning technology supports sales enablement’ or for a free demo, then please contact us.