One thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught L&D teams and organisations is that learning will never look the same again. Speaking at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum, David Wilson, CEO of learning and HR analyst Fosway Group, told delegates, “ We are not going back. The barriers to digital learning have been blown apart completely.”
In his talk, Digital Learning: Being Successful in a Post-Pandemic World, Wilson drew on Fosway research that looked at the impact of the pandemic on learning and provided some insights on what a future-focused L&D strategy could look like.
Despite the fact 94% of L&D professionals reported having to change their L&D strategy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with two in three making significant changes to what they do and how they do it, organisations were already on a journey to digitally transform learning. The pandemic hugely accelerated the process, with L&D functions being forced to change their delivery methods almost overnight.
Only one in four organisations found it easy to cope with the changes to their L&D operations as a result of the pandemic. And 42% found it difficult coping with the impact on their L&D operation.
And what were the main changes?
Going digital, which meant a huge spike in the usage of digital learning and digital learning platforms and at the expense of internal and external training events. Demand came from all areas of the business and in particular senior executives with 82% of L&D professionals saying demand for digital learning from senior stakeholders has increased.
The virtual classroom was the number one technology used through the lockdown, followed by the learning management system, social and collaborative learning systems and content authoring systems.
As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, 21% of organisations have implemented a new digital learning solution. And 10% have rushed through digital learning procurement. Wilsons says these findings show that many organisations did not have a digital plan for learning.
The research shows that video and curated resources have been the two most effective methods of supporting organisations during the pandemic. Wilson says that curated resources are a quick and focused way of getting the right information to people. And video can be created, shared and consumed quickly.
Fosway research tells us clearly that L&D has rapidly shifted to digital delivery, but what’s next for building a post Covid-19 L&D strategy?
Digital now a part of the learning mix
Wilsons says there is no going back for L&D. Digital is now a significant part of the learning mix. The legacy of the Covid-19 crisis will be a shift to a digital first learning strategy for most organisations.
The challenge for learning teams is to get this strategy right. It is worth noting that previous research carried out by Fosway before the pandemic showed that, according to 65% of L&D professionals, learning platforms are not fit for the modern workforce.
Creating a post-Covid-19 learning strategy
Already, L&D teams are faced with the immediate technology challenge of investing in the right systems to deliver the desired outcomes. Wilson urges organisations to consider the implications on the business of a digital first learning strategy before making any decisions on which technologies to use. These are:
Focus on outcomes first
Identify the desired business impact and work back from there. Then consider the processes and functional skills that will be required to deliver these outcomes. Finally, look at the technologies that will deliver on your requirements.
Understand the reach of learning
Learning reaches all area of the organisation and in different ways. The learning strategy needs to reflect this. So, understand the audience and their context. Do this by looking at operational performance, strategic talent development and personal learning culture. Wilson says these are the three key areas where learning impacts on the organisation.
Create a learning strategy that is responsive to organisational needs
With such rapid change shaping organisations, the learning strategy will be required to support and enable employees to develop and deliver as their working context changes. Learning can drive agility and support employees wherever they work.
Focus on the learning experience
Fosway research shows that the learning experience is very important or important for 91% of organisations. Wilson says it is important for L&D teams to focus on the learning experience they are trying to enable. This is about being clear about what learning is in your organisation and delivering agile learning mix. Wilson says this mix is about the the relationship between L&D, subject experts, teams, personal learning and the workplace.
Our work with clients during the pandemic echoes what the Fosway research is telling us. Organisations are finding that curating resources that respond to an immediate need have been successful in supporting employees.
Being able to deliver relevant resources in a timely way is key in times of change. Employees tend to be more hungry for resources that will help them work more effectively and L&D teams that are succeeding are the ones that can respond quickly to these needs.
However, as Wilson says, don’t be seduced by the technology. In order to build an effective digital-first learning strategy you need to focus on business alignment and audience needs and context. Then look at the processes you need to deliver on the strategy. Once you are clear on that, then look to see which technologies will deliver for you.
Use a platform that supports your new ways of working and learning. The 5App Hub can help in supporting your your L&D strategy, creating a learning culture and in aligning learning with the business needs and objectives.
Get in touch to find out more