How COVID Changed e-Learning For Good (And Forever)




Elearning has changed, thanks to COVID-19, and there’s no going back to the way we were, however much organisations may want to do so.

Says Michael Gullan, CEO of corporate elearning consultancy G&G Advocacy: “COVID arrived and new technology came to the fore - like Zoom, Meets, Teams and so on. How did you upskill your people on it? Were they ready for it? Are you teaching people to get the best out of things like, eg LinkedIn? Executives may not be as equipped to deal with online networking now that physical networking events aren’t as common anymore. Can your C-Suite execs use these tools? Can your sales team?” 

Companies can no longer afford to see their elearning as a grudge purchase or an afterthought, says Gullan. “Because that’s the current mindset. Companies know they need to invest in professional development, so they go and find the cheapest content management solution they can, upload long-form content to it, point their teams in its direction and tick the box - done!”’

This approach hasn’t ever really been effective, but it has been tolerated, or perhaps endured, by employees. For the current generation, it is definitely not going to be adequate however. 

In addition to changing the way we work and consequently accelerating digital transformation initiatives, the COVID-19 pandemic has also served to change how and what people perceive as valuable. This is evidenced by the sharp rise in ethical consumerism, for example. 

For companies this means where employees may previously have valued high salaries, bonuses and other financially-driven incentives, they are increasingly valuing the so-called softer elements. These include time to spend on self-care or with friends and family (leave days, duvet days, days off to do community work), and opportunities for professional development. 

Companies that are not investing in their skills development platforms are going to find themselves competing for talent with those which have. 

“Elearning needs to be done well, and in a way that takes the reality of people’s changed daily lives into account,” says Gullan. 

“Companies need to invest in elearning platforms that can deliver the kind of excellent experiences that today’s employees demand. Learning needs to be delivered in the form of small chunks (we call these Content Capsules) of engaging and interactive content, that they can digest when they have time, using gamification and other elearning techniques. Your good old CMS isn’t going to be up to it,” Gullan states.

Professional development requirements have moved beyond the traditional approach of putting employees through days-long courses at offsite venues to upskill them. It’s time for your elearning platform to move along with them. 

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