As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread, organizations and universities around the globe are shifting to online learning in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic. Most of them are going about their programs as “virtual” and trying to make the most of isolation of their employees and students. The lockdown has minimized the contact at work and during the commute, giving employees a few extra hours. But working from home can be a real challenge, especially if most of the family member at trying to work and study together.
While we must stay apart physically right now, it is interesting to see that so many the community is coming together in many ways. Technology disruption has already forced businesses to head back to whiteboards on creating newer L&D strategies. But some of the EdTech platforms developed may lead us to newer and robust learning solutions that bring in equality and access to online learning ecosystem.
IIHT has been hard at work identifying key practices for successful online learning. Here are some of the reasons learning is essential during a downtown, many of these have already been addressed during coronavirus lockdowns.
We are social animals, and thus social interaction is pivotal to our development at different stages our lives. Learning is all about the interactions. As we listen, talk and then try employ the insights received from others (and vice-versa).
Delivering effective and engaging learning experiences are crucial to a business’ bottomline. These features amplify the success of an organization’s learning strategy. Aspects of social learning and technologies have become a necessity in learning, and the data is there to unpack:
- Social learning provides 75:1 ROI ratio compared to formal web-based training
- 82% of businesses using social gamification want to increase their use them in the future
- Social learning helped Harvard Business School online education initiative increase course completion to 85%
- Social learning saves more than US$250,000 per year for AMD
Social learning favors a real-life approach to learning and facilitates peer-to-peer learning and skill acquisition – a maxim of the 70:20:10 learning framework.
Boosting Productivity and Ramp Time
The quarantine may drastically change work-life balance of an employee in a remote environment, but the productivity KPIs and ramp expectations of organizations do not. Most organizations are taking a “Business as Usual” approach, making productivity and ramp time standards critical than ever.
Work from home may have some clear benefits as like fewer distractions, time and money saved from commuting, etc. Employees should be provided with learning ecosystem to leverage modern learning technologies and continuously adopt learning into their new lifestyle. This way, employees will not only maintain their productivity, but strengthened it as well.
Getting your remote workforce ready for right technology is getting crucial than ever. The rise of Virtual Practice Environments, where 1:1 hands-on training is achievable both locally or globally helps you to scale your employee preparedness. These sandbox environments can be accessed by the comfort of an internet browser. Uninterrupted learning experiences help your employees stay productive, ramped, and engaged (no matter where they are located).
Getting your learners familiar with EdTech
During situations like unexpected or extended lockdown, learning ecosystem accessible at home should be at least as complete as the learning ecosystem at workplaces (if not more) or employee learning may be compromised.
It should be noted that online learning programs should never be used to assign busy work, but rather to address clear engaging learning objectives of learners.
IIHT recommends these principles while designing online learning programs:
- Breaking of learning resources into smaller chunks
- Setting clear expectations for employee participation
- Facilitate continuous feedback through online assessments, annotations on collaborative documents and forums to keep interaction alive
- Include virtual mentors and live chats to maintain human connection
- Easy and secure access to virtual practice labs on the go
Online integrated learning ecosystems are widely used to provide easy access to large content library and other tools, effective learning pedagogy and gamification. As the learner community needs time to adjust, they need manageable and achievable goals to work on, frequent feedbacks and communication.
Addressing the emotional toll
After weeks of largely being confined to their apartments, expat teachers in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus began calling each other and leaving the lines open, even if they weren’t talking. They simply wanted the comfort of being able to speak up and have someone hear their voices. Similarly, if the lockdown lasts even longer, your employees might feel isolated and miss each other’s company.
While it may seem fun to work from home, it can be challenging to keep to a regular work schedule or L&D program. Some things that can help include:
- Easy online access to learning resources
- Small group assignments
- Online modular assessment for performance tracking
- Integrated social interaction tools
The current scenario also requires you to check in with students and coworkers who less comfortable with digital tools to see if they need any help or someone to talk to. Taking time to check in about feelings of anxiety is just as important as checking on academics.
Assuring Learning Agility
Studies state the fact that 68% of L&D programs at organizations are not engaging enough. At times when employees are all spread across geographies, they might already be overwhelmed. A strategically designed online learning and engagement program is going to help employees learn on their own.
One of the best things you can do to support independent learning is streamlining information through an integrated learning platform with learning resources, assignments, assignments, virtual mentoring schedules, virtual labs, and analytics. The closer to a checklist you can bring these resources, the better.
Keep the momentum going
Staying competitive in today’s disruptive world means that organizations need to be innovative, adaptive, and ever-changing. Achieving this depends on the continuous skill and knowledge development of the workforce. Employees need to be able to challenge themselves in order to obtain new knowledge, ideas, and skills. The outbreak has made businesses and individuals will feel the strain, but we are not helpless – and humanity will fight it together. Providing a better working experience for employees, business can relieve stress from them, which in turn relieves stress on customers. On the other hand, by equipping your employees with timely access to an online learning ecosystem, you help them feel cared for, taken care of.