How Will Corporate Learning and Development Evolve In A Post-COVID19 World?

Corporate learning and training exercises have always been a very social affair. Teams both large and small used to flock to training centers to be instructed by experts in different subjects. Days were spent staring at projector screens and participating in group activities. A lucky few who had mastered the art of remaining unnoticed, made use of the opportunity to doze off and catch up on lost sleep. But COVID19 changed everything.

With businesses racing to cut costs, one wonders whether training budgets too have come under the microscope. Our answer: Yes and No.

It is a running joke in the corporate world that the training budget is the first to vanish when times get tough. So yes, training budgets have shrunk in the face of muted economic activity. But on the flip side, companies are now actively seeking out virtual training for their employees, which promises to be more cost-effective. Here are a few trends which we think would manifest themselves over the coming years.

1. A Virtual-First Approach To Training

Companies which decide to embrace remote work will start showing a preference to conduct corporate training exercises through online platforms wherever possible. Having seen firsthand how powerful tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams can be, Learning and Development (L&D) professionals will seek to explore innovative ways to marry virtual training with internal L&D processes. Modern Learning Management Systems (LMS) that can be easily integrated with other enterprise applications will definitely benefit from this trend.

2. A Change In The Training Paradigm

All these years, eLearning has served as a complementary mode of instruction for classroom-based training. But with more people choosing to work remotely, this balance may shift. Classroom-based training could end up being complementary to eLearning. For instance, training for a sales force may be carried out online, while a final test can be carried out in a classroom.

3. A Shift In The Training Mix

In our interactions with corporate executives, we have noticed a new trend taking shape. More and more senior executives are calling upon their L&D teams to tweak the training mix so that it is more remote-friendly. Training mixes which were previously made up of classroom-based training and on-the-job training could now expand to include eLearning, assisted virtual learning, and virtually assisted on-the-job training.

4. A New Army Of eLearning Trainers Will Emerge

As everyone tries to adapt to a remote work model, companies could find themselves poorly prepared to convert their internal training materials into content that could be delivered online. As a result, L&D consultants who possess an understanding of training, IT, and education psychology could be in high demand.

5. As Recruitment Efforts Are Ramped Up, Training Needs Will Increase As Well

The global economic outlook may be gloomy right now, but signs of a recovery are already starting to show. As the economy gathers steam, companies will start recruiting again and will be able to recruit from a large pool of applicants which includes both fresh graduates and seasoned workers who were laid off. This is especially true of large companies as they will end up filling the vacuum left by smaller players who had to close shop due to the pandemic, never to open again. This massive influx of recruits will increase training needs within a very short time, and companies will turn to eLearning because of its easy scalability.

6. eLearning Will Pave The Way For Process Reinvention

This sounds farfetched, but hear us out. As companies set out to convert their existing training materials to suit online delivery methods, they will naturally go through a process of reorganizing information and questioning the assumptions inherent in the existing training materials. Questions will be asked and debates will be had. Light bulbs will go off above heads as people realize that certain processes (or their parts) serve no real purpose and hence can be done away with. This will lead to the reinvention of everyday processes such as order closing and processing, project management, and customer complaint resolution.

7. eLearning Will Be More Immersive

As demand for eLearning increases, so will the rate of innovation in eLearning software. LMS providers could start integrating AR and VR capabilities into their platforms, allowing for companies and instructors to offer a more immersive and engaging online learning experience. Subject matter experts will be better able to explain the intricacies of their subjects to trainees, and such novel experiences could also lead to better retention of knowledge.

Of course, this will take some time because most businesses are trying to conserve cash, but as things get better, more and more companies will be willing to try out new technologies so that they can provide a better corporate eLearning experience.

9. The Role Of The Training Professional Will Change

Corporate trainers may have been masters of one trade. But in a world where eLearning increases in importance, they will be required to wear multiple hats. After all, condensing real world factors into an online medium, where you sometimes may not be able to see the other person’s face is a real challenge. Trainers will have to be highly empathetic to the needs of learners, and will also have to be open to collaborating with business process experts and emerging media experts.

10. The Emergence Of Training Partnerships

The many moving variables involved in making corporate eLearning successful will also pave the way for the fragmentation of the training delivery ecosystem. Subject matter experts will have to play the role of content creators, putting together training material which can be delivered online. A breed of specialist consultants, who thrive on helping companies change their business processes to be “eLearning friendly” could emerge. Media and technology companies who specialize in converting analogue content into cutting edge digital content could become commonplace. Connecting all this together will be the ‘Training Champion’, an individual who excels at coordinating and overseeing all these different specialists.

As a provider of LMSs, this future sure looks exciting to us. Looking for a demo? Get Layup.

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