A question and answer session with our Head of Digital Services, Richard Vicary gives us an insight into his perspective on the transformation so far and the future of eLearning in the workplace.
What is the importance of virtual face-to-face interactions (video-calls) while learning from home/not being able to learn in a physical workplace?
At the very least being able to see the instructor’s face is a must to aid with learner engagement and concentration. However there are so many good learning experiences coming from questions and discussion on the topic and not just being on the receiving end of a lecture or seminar.
For training to really be beneficial, the instructor needs to be able to see the face of their learners and ideally, learners should be able to have virtual face-to-face conversations with each other.
Do you think that the demand for digital learning will continue to increase even when we are able to go back to normal physical interactions?
My gut instinct is that, once we start to become comfortable with our increased freedom and a return to in person interactions, people will want to spend more time in classrooms.
However I also think with many people becoming accustomed to working from home in their own space, they won’t want to let go of the convenience of learning remotely and digitally.
Learners can fit in their learning around other activities and responsibilities, no longer will they have to be up before daylight to catch a train to the training venue.
Therefore my expectation is that digital will remain a more prominent delivery mechanism.
Why do you think 65% of businesses in 2020 said that the learning platform they use is not fit for modern workplaces?
The data shows that most organisations had been using face-to-face learning as a core component of their learning delivery, which suggests that any digital provision that they had was in support of this learning. When the ability to meet together was taken away it will have left a large gap in content and capability to deliver, and many have found their digital solution lacking.
A key part of face-to-face learning delivery is the sharing of wisdom from the instructor and participants.
To deliver this in an entirely digital fashion requires much thought and in many cases re-design of the materials and delivery mechanism, either by creating hours of video content or implementing a strong live video environment.
A learning stack capable of delivering to remote learners doesn’t pop up overnight, it takes thought and crafting.
Why is workplace health and safety training the most popular for eLearning courses and should we expand our horizons when learning virtually?
There is a lot of off the shelf content in areas of compliance and historically, when softer skills could be delivered in person, delivering H&S training via an eLearning platform was a fast and effective way of ensuring companies were compliant and their staff were looked after and able to operate safely in their environments. Also, all staff have to attend this training where as only a proportion need to attend sales or management training so naturally H&S will come out on top.
I fear though that this mechanism of delivering H&S training has somewhat set the mould for digital learning delivery requiring a high time investment for course authors and curators to digitise materials for a broader course portfolio.
A fresh look at the learning stack could see a blend of technologies coming together to create more agile and dynamic learning delivery.