Right now, the world is going through a huge crisis with the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19). On 11th January 2020 when China announced its first fatality from the novel Coronavirus, nobody anticipated that the world would be coming to a standstill in a few short weeks. The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic, all around the world with confirmed cases. Amidst this chaos, it is quite understandable to panic and feel helpless, but that’s not a solution to the problem. The Covid-19 is becoming the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. How we work, exercise, shop, learn, communicate, and of course, where we work, will be changed maybe forever.
The impact of Covid-19 is especially severe on training and for those organizations that were highly dependent on face to face classroom or Instructor-led Training (ILT). They were not prepared for the sudden disruption to classroom training, the need to move training online, and the challenges that came with it – budgetary constraints due to economic instability, lack of infrastructure (including bandwidth and systems), experience with remote learning, and most importantly, ill-prepared classroom trainers and learners.
However, organizations can neither halt nor pause critical workplace training, even as they move toward working remotely. To continue to deliver effective training, leaders need to adopt new training strategies and establish or configure virtual training solutions. Moreover, if there’s one lesson we need to learn from the present situation, it is the necessity of future-proofing training. Shifting from face to face to virtual training is just the first step toward that. On a positive note, we can take this opportunity to implement a few much-needed innovations in the workplace training. There are some tips for the leaders to help lessen the impact of Covid-19 on training, future-proof workplace learning and development, and foster a new and improved learning culture in their organizations.
It is the time of shifting from face to face classroom programs to virtual training as quickly as possible. For most of these virtual programs, ensuring the same level of engagement and efficacy seen in the classroom is critical, to meet learners’ expectations.
Workplace learning is going to be more social, collaborative, and multi-dimensional. With technology enabling on-demand learning and sharing, everyone in the organization is going to look for formats that facilitate learning and sharing. We can create a repository with a range of assets – micro videos, interactive eBooks and PDFs, audio podcasts, blog posts, and so much more.
There are multiple reasons micro learning makes sense for creating a digital repository. It offers bite-size nuggets, each focused on a specific learning objective. Assets are easy to create, update, and share. Moreover, in these challenging times, micro learning assets can ease learning in the flow of work, without taking a lot of time. In fact, it is ideal for remote workers to access learning on their mobile devices.
These assets can be used to either support formal training or provide complementary learning that is decentralized, created quickly, and updated according to topical or business needs.
We know that learning is a process, not just a one-off event. And to overcome the ‘forgetting curve’, learning has to be:
This means, for learning to be effective, post-training solutions are as important as the initial training. This can be implemented during the virtual learning journey through pre-reading, online discussion forums, and post-learning reflection activities. Another effective approach is to embed learning in the workflow by providing digital assets for performance support at the point of need.