The CMI Learning to Lead Report examined organisations’ perceptions of digital learning and reported a concerning scepticism and lack of trust in being able to effectively develop staff through digital solutions. The view of an alarmingly high number of those surveyed, believed that digital learning didn’t align with their organisation’s objectives, it wasn’t using new technology to enhance the learning experience and that they felt it was being introduced to cut costs, rather than improve quality and efficiency.
In fairness, I shared a lot of these attitudes, having previously been left extremely disappointed with digital learning and feeling like I had not developed in any way. When the Covid-19 lockdown measures hit in late March and training pipelines were postponed, or even worse completely cancelled, I became extremely concerned that not only people were unable to get the training they needed, but it would be substituted by a sub-par alternative. However, I have been pleasantly surprised to find that this has not been the case at all.
Since getting familiar and working with digital, remote, e-learning, virtual and blended training solutions, not only have they surpassed any expectations I had of their capability, but transformed the way I think about learning and provide support to my clients.
The concerns I shared with those surveyed in the CMI report back in 2015 around the quality and benefits have been pleasantly countered as I have been able to provide digital learning solutions that meet the needs of the organisation and the capacity of the individual. In many L&D areas we can bundle up units to create accredited course, tailored to the specific needs of the client and also run the course entirely virtual or blended for the delegates, so they can complete it at their own pace.
I am also currently working on projects that allow delegates to complete training that uses cutting edge technology and multiple media sources on their lap-top, tablet or phone. It is not only the design and application that technology has improved; the user experience has profited too. We evaluate all training we provide and frequently receive feedback informing us that the digital solution has had a greater learning impact and that delegates are extremely surprised how well the training has been delivered.
As organisations warm up to the new way of working and re assess training plans that were previously going to be conducted in classrooms, I foresee more uptake in the different ways digital learning can work for them. The flexibility of using virtual coaching, WhatsApp groups, podcasts, video essays, virtual reality, collaborative projects etc, greatly benefits the end user and offer great advantages that previously were not available through traditional classroom-based facilitation.
Some organisations were already applying digital learning to their training plans, but I have seen a remarkable increased uptake in it over the past few months and a huge change in attitude towards its utility. Despite the terrible events that have led to the change in need, I am certainly glad the circumstances have surged the appetite of organisations to employ digital learning solutions. It has not only changed clients’ expectations, but mine as well and as it will be here here for the long term, it opens a whole chasm of learning options and capability for organisations.
Author- Kyle Hughes, Client Relationship Director at Premier