While many L&D professionals believe that the learning landscape will never return to pre-COVID conditions in terms of their learning strategy, investment, and resourcing, most agree that the pandemic has changed the approach to training and performance support—forever. An even smaller group (which includes me) thinks these changes are for the better. And, even IF we could go back, why would we?
Most companies across the globe were unprepared for the digital-only approach to training. While many companies do have some online components, even they were not ready for the complete and all-encompassing transition to a digital learning landscape.
To complicate matters, the uncertainty in the business community has also forced companies to shift their focus to crucial business operations, coupling this with reduced budgets and changing expectations. Thus, as strategies are revamped to focus on fulfilling the organization’s purpose and mission, where does that leave L&D?
I have observed, as I am sure you have, an increased demand and availability of what we refer to as ‘live online instructor-led training’. In other words, sessions that may have been originally intended for the in-person classroom are being presented online instead using a platform like Zoom. In fact, one study suggests that we have seen an 82% increase in demand for digital learning from decision-makers and that 81% of learning leaders surveyed plan to adopt new training techniques.
I cannot be silent about these sessions. I’ve attended many myself in these past months as companies move to using online sessions as part of their marketing strategies. From an L&D perspective, most of them are just plain BAD. You’ve probably attended some of them too. A speaker, a PowerPoint slide deck, and a camera. That’s it.
Well, that can’t be it. Not if we want learners to learn and retain information. We are seeing the digital version of the ‘Death by PowerPoint’ presentations and yet most people are accepting that as normal. And while it may be normal, it is not OK.
If you are going to go the route of delivering your training via Zoom, be sure to plan several shorter sessions, each with a definite set of learning objectives. Include lots of learner participation (beyond just using the break-out room feature), and provide learners with performance support resources (which does not mean just sending them the slides and a recording of the session).
Once the dust starts to settle, we need to shift our current focus on this short-term (live online) solution to one that makes more sense—both from a learner accessibility and company financial perspective: online self-directed training.
The possibilities are really quite staggering, and that should not deter you.
You know, as well as I, that when you receive a one-hour recording of a training session, you are highly unlikely to watch it again. But what happens when there is something you legitimately need to refer back to? You probably spend 20 minutes scrolling through that recording trying to find just those few minutes you needed.
Would it have been helpful if, instead, you had been able to go to an online learning library with a great index and multiple short, laser-focused resource tools? Short videos, infographics, job aids, and the like—all properly named and easily accessible. Of course, it would have. This is self-directed learning in action, and, over the longer term, it is WAY more effective because it puts control of the learning experience in the hands of the learner. It provides learners with the tools, resources, and support they need WHEN they need it. It is efficient and easily accessible.
Need help figuring out how to make L&D accessible to your learners? Let’s plan to meet up for a virtual coffee and chat about where you are at and where you would like to get to with your Digital Training Program.
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