Thanks to the global pandemic and savvy, forward-thinking key-decision makers, many businesses have embraced e-learning to ensure they remain competitive. The global consultancy firm McKinsey observed that business learnings were one of the most affected activities when the lockdown was implemented, as almost 100% of in-person programmes were cancelled or postponed as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Business learning and training is crucial in upskilling and onboarding employees, and placing learnings on hold can impact businesses substantially. To address this disruption, businesses invested in new ways to continue valuable online learning and training for employees remotely. This included using e-learning platforms, which registered a significant increase as employees worked from home.
By making learning and training available on e-learning platforms, businesses could easily share relevant information across the organisation and allow employees to learn at their own pace, improving their retention of the learnings. A major benefit of adopting e-learning is the success in retaining information. According to the World Economic Forum, learners can retain between 25% and 60% more information, compared to 8% to 10% retention of in-classroom learnings. This can only benefit employees and organisations.
As more businesses are adopting e-learning, technology is driving new trends to transform and optimise learning opportunities and outcomes for businesses and employees.
Here are four e-learning and online training trends to look out for in 2021 and beyond:
Social learning is an effective, new approach to learning, centred around human interaction, and takes the form of online forums and class chatrooms. It’s collaborative, productive and efficient, and facilitates more discussions about the learning material amongst employees. Social learning can also help employees grasp information quicker and is an excellent team-building tool. As technology advances, new applications will make social learning even more collaborative and in-demand.
The volume of information we’re all exposed to can be overwhelming. Add learning materials on top of that and you’re dealing with information overload. Microlearning breaks content into bite-sized interactive learning moments that are easy to manage, understand, retain and apply. “Learners have short attention spans, and incorporating interactive tools like videos, audio, polls and infographics into the learning material makes it easier for them to grasp information, and better yet, remember what they’ve learned,” said Michael Gullan, CEO of G&G Advocacy, a disruptor in the e-learning space.
Everyone has different learning strengths and weaknesses. Allowing employees to learn at their own pace and in their own time is essential. Employees will feel more productive and engaged, knowing they can manoeuvre through the learning material when they are ready. This includes the flexibility to move to the next topic, even if other team members aren’t yet prepared to move on. And for those who find specific topics more challenging, they won’t feel pressured to review learning materials until they’re familiar with it, and can confidently apply the learnings.
Gamification is an effective way to keep employees engaged with learning materials while rewarding them on their progress and engagement with the e-learning platform. Gamification also increases employees’ retention rates and enhances their learning experience. Achievement badges and leader boards also encourage healthy competition, giving employees a sense of accomplishment and encouraging them to share achievements on their social media platforms.
2020 was a devastating year of disruption for businesses and employees. e-Learning and online training can put organisations back on track for the year ahead and help give them the edge over their competitors. As employees apply their learnings in the workspace, they become more productive and engaged, resulting in optimally performing organisations, ready to take on the competition.