Technology has introduced us to a whole new level of efficiency and convenience in terms of the way we learn. This year, the pandemic affirmed that fact when it propelled what was an already budding e-learning industry into full throttle. To comply with physical distancing measures, those in corporate and in business turned to digital means for continuous learning and development, and it evidently carried many industries through 2020. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what e-learning is and what it holds for us in the years to come.
The Shift to E-learning
Distance learning isn’t really a new concept. In fact, it had been used by educational systems for decades before businesses started using it in the early 2000s for employee training. E-commerce giant Amazon, for instance, launched its own learning management system just last year, pouring $700 million into its very own worker training program. This drive towards continuous internal development has been part-and-parcel of the company’s success, and the numbers don’t lie: 86% of its sellers are successful, and those starting their own Amazon-based business have a 67% chance of earning a profit within just a year of business. It’s also showing no signs of slowing down, with the tech leader rolling out free e-learning programs on its AWS platform. The goal is to train 29 million people in cloud computing over the next five years — a testament to the continued growth in the e-learning sector.
With distance learning slowly becoming the norm rather than an occasional training format, companies and trainers now have the responsibility of creating an engaging digital experience for employees. For example, data-intensive businesses like IT services can use a game-based approach to make learning materials more digestible and immersive for employees. This approach is behind the exemplary success of apps like DuoLingo, a language learning app built around gamification. Today, there are many creative ways to package complicated lessons into motivating game elements with a specific learning goal at the end, especially with the available digital tools like VR and online quiz-creation applications. When you give your team an immersive e-learning experience, your trainees don’t just get to learn otherwise tricky concepts, but they also get to enjoy themselves in the process.
Flexible Mobile Learning
Our lives are becoming more and more fast-paced and multi-faceted, and consequently, the need for more flexible options in the workplace arises. Because of this, mobile learning, which uses more portable devices like phones and tablets, is becoming a viable option for companies whose employees are always on-the-go such as those in the travel industry, or in high-pressure fields like marketing and public relations. Mobile learning also provides more asynchronous options to give these employees maximum flexibility; they can learn wherever and whenever they feel most ready to receive information. This leads to more optimized and effective e-learning.
When e-learning first came onto the scene, materials were often created by external companies, which were then distributed to businesses that purchased them. Now, rather than using generic and pre-packaged content, the trend is now tailor fitting digital content to best suit employees’ needs. This can be done by hiring professionals to create digital learning and development solutions specifically for the company. Another form of this is user-generated learning content such as peer learning, practiced by teams in LinkedIn, and is a form of knowledge sharing where co-trainees collaborate online to create their own digestible materials for each other. This form of e-learning content has been proven to be effective because people tend to learn deeper about a subject when they themselves recreate and teach it.
Learning and development in the workplace is one aspect that is often overlooked. But with the uncertainty of work arrangements amidst the pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to make sure your team is aligned and equipped with the right knowledge to perform well. As we teach, albeit digitally, we also continue to learn that the best ways to upskill and develop our employees is accessible, and the availability of e-learning is one great opportunity we shouldn’t just let pass.