The pandemic has shifted how the world does business and experts predict that many of these changes may outlast the virus. Emphasizing learning and development can be an effective strategy to build and maintain employee engagement during times of uncertainty. The challenge is accomplishing both simultaneously.
The solution is virtual learning. However, the transition from in-person to best-in-class virtual learning requires more than just picking a platform and transitioning the content. The change comes with a variety of constraints, including:
- Lack of a Virtual Learning Culture
- “Zoom” Fatigue
- Digital Technology Troubles
- Maintaining a Budget
These concerns may seem daunting, but choosing the right learning partner can help ease the burden, ultimately helping your organization reach its learning goals.
According to McKinsey, roughly one-half of in-person learning programs scheduled for the first half of 2020 were postponed or canceled. In addition, 57% of U.S. workers have participated in remote training. With the switch to remote, organizations across the country have directed their attention to developing and improving their online learning tools.
Success in online learning comes from recognizing its challenges and strategizing how to overcome them. A trusted learning partner can help prioritize what’s important and serve as a guide through the process of developing a robust approach to online learning.
In this article, we’ll dive into the top four virtual learning constraints, suggestions on how to overcome them, and ways a learning partner can help.
Lack of a Virtual Learning Culture
A major challenge among learning and development professionals is creating a culture of learning. This involves helping leaders understand the importance of learning and development and making it a priority for their teams. The benefits of any learning and development effort will last longer when there is a culture to support them.
The challenges of creating a learning culture become amplified when the learning needs to happen virtually. However, virtual learning also creates new opportunities that can be leveraged to create a Virtual Learning Culture.
Creating and maintaining a learning culture remotely can be solved by:
- Framing virtual learning as an employee engagement strategy
- Adding a social learning component to virtual learning programs
- Engaging SMEs and other organizational leaders to take part in training delivery
Much of workplace communication has transitioned to Zoom, Teams, or other similar platforms. As a result, employees at every level are spending far more time in front screens than they used to, and many report that they find virtual meetings to be far more draining than face to face interactions. The problem carries over to remote learning and can limit the effectiveness of training. In fact, about ? of employees who experience remote training don’t think it improved their skills or capabilities.
One way to overcome this is to use multiple training modalities like:
When Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) is the best choice solution, there are several things that can be done to help combat “Zoom” fatigue including:
- Use the 20-20-20 rule to combat eye fatigue
- Schedule sessions earlier in the day
Best in class solutions use a custom blend of learning experiences and work to keep courses short, relevant, and interactive.
Digital Technology Troubles
The third virtual learning constraint is that not all learners are at the same level of technological fluency. This means that some learners may struggle to operate learning equipment or digital programs, or become distracted by their technology. There are also concerns for facilitators, as it can be time-consuming and expensive to equip your learners properly and constantly update operating systems on various devices.
To combat technological issues, it’s best to ensure that your equipment isn’t too dated, and that the most common digital systems can be installed on them. An easy fix for constant software updates is to use a learning management system (LMS). A LMS can empower learning and development professionals through the following ways:
- Assists with scaling their program
- Gives facilitators the power to choose who creates content
- Effortlessly manages, delivers, and reports on the programs
Maintaining a Budget
Implementing a digital learning program into your workplace culture comes with its costs. The good thing is, though, that the digital learning structure organizations put in place amid Covid-19 will likely be here to stay, even after the pandemic passes. Your digital learning program can have lasting effectiveness and be utilized for years, maybe even decades. You can measure your program’s effectiveness through training metrics and ROI.
Budgets can be tough to work around, but the good news is that budget constraints are becoming less of a concern. In 2019, only 27% of learning and development professionals cited budget constraints as a top issue, down from 49% in 2017. Additionally, 57% of professionals plan to spend more on their online learning programs. This means that more organizations are willing to allocate funds to virtual learning.
How a Learning Partner Can Help
The transition to digital learning can be daunting, but a learning partner can help make the process easier. It’s up to learning and development professionals to champion learning across their organizations, but they don’t have to do this alone. With the help of a trusted learning partner, organizations can work step-by-step through the planning, development, and execution of their learning program.
A learning partner can help your organization establish and review your performance goals, and deliver learning solutions that yield pay off in performance, retention, and productivity. Your learning partner can help you select the right devices, decide which type of training to use, and develop, manage, and update your training as necessary.
When determining who can step into the critical partner role, you should be sure to complete the following steps:
- Review their portfolio
- Ask for pricing information upfront
- Ask if they have won any awards for their work
- Review case studies of past projects or testimonials
- Check their ratings or reviews
There’s No Better Time To Go Virtual
Going from in-person to remote learning comes with its fair share of challenges. We hope that through reading this, you can more confidently identify challenges you may be having and conquer them with a trusted learning partner.
**The 20-20-20 Method For every 20 minutes you stare at a screen, stare at something else 20 feet away, for a total of 20 seconds.