There is one adjective that keeps coming up when talking about the current world situation: unprecedented. While that is not entirely true – there have been both pandemics and economic crises before in the history of mankind – the novelty of it all isn’t altogether false. It’s the first time the impact on everything is so great (due to globalization) and all businesses feel a measure of strain.
Employee engagement, talent development, and skill-gap bridging are all essential during these times.
Technology can be very helpful in achieving all of these. There are a variety of e-learning technologies and strategies that can be implemented in corporate education to achieve better results.
E-learning today is limitless when it comes to designing creative virtual learning environments (VLE).
Digital learning is the future
A decade ago, digital learning was restricted to some animated modules and short video content (usually in the form of highly unrealistic role-plays). Since then, e-learning has greatly developed, currently including complex web-based delivery structures that generate highly engaging and dynamic learning environments.
Modules can either be synchronous with learners interacting in real-time or asynchronous, in which users can go through the material in their own time, at their own pace.
There are several advantages of present-day e-learning, including accessibility, flexibility, personalization, and unprecedented access to highly useful analytics. The key to success, however, remains to generate the right type of engaging learning environments.
LMSs need to evolve to fit current learning needs
The future of learning is all about flexibility, mobility, and not least of all (considering current conditions) scalability. The systems will need to be of service to increasing numbers of users with very diverse educational requirements.
There is even a significant part of the HR function that an up to date LMS ought to be able to sustain (think of the onboarding and induction processes). Employees ought to be able to find the learning modules they need in due time and this means that a well-stacked e-library has to be available and constantly brought up to date.
Read more: Exploring the onboarding process
Furthermore, a good mobile application and smooth integration with other apps or programs used by the organization is necessary to ensure streamlined learning paths.
VLEs are the next logical step in LMS development
Learner needs and demands have drastically changed in the tide of the digital revolution. In order to meet them, Virtual Learning Environments (or VLEs) need to have good gamification capacities. Turning dry, old-school learning modules into engaging ‘quests’ greatly enhances both learner engagement and information retention.
The social aspect of learning is another relevant item that has to be addressed by a highly performing VLE: forums, message boards, or social media venues where learners can communicate are crucial for the success of any educational interventions.
As is the possibility of video conference – especially since 2020 is obviously the year of multiple heads in tiny screens for most of us working from home.
Lastly, but not in the order of relevance, I’ll mention the capacity to track the building of skills and competencies as well as the possibility of issuing certifications.
MATRIX White Paper: Thriving through change with continuous skills development for your workforce
Microlearning is a big thing
Today’s learners do not have a lot of time, nor great amounts of patience. The majority of the present-day employees were raised on technology and are used to finding answers to their questions with a few swipes on their smartphones. There is no appetite for lengthy lectures or searching stuffy documents in the search for one piece of information.
The need for a rich digital library exists but it’s best if it is made up of numerous bite-sized modules that can be part of a logically built sequence but also have value as stand-alone items.
The aim is for all materials to be very concise and entirely focused on the objectives. Learners can then choose if they want more in-depth knowledge (which, of course, ought to be available to them).
Read more: The Micro-first Model for business training
The makings of a good VLE
This is not where I offer a recipe because the only truly sound advice is to constantly check what the audience wants and what technological developments ca be of aid. I have already described today’s requirements for a high performing VLE.
We live very dynamic times and these can change or new, currently unforeseen demands might arise. Virtual learning environments are a thing of the future and as such ought to be continuously open to transformation.
All I can say for sure is that the VLEs built today have to be flexible and easily scalable so that they will easily accommodate and build in whatever will be necessary.
The present is not overly bright, but in every challenge, there is always a great opportunity. Organizations can take that by investing in the one thing that will stay the same even after the pandemic goes away – the human capital. Having highly performing learning management systems equipped with engaging virtual learning environments will help organizations capitalize on the existing employee talent.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.