When it comes to providing professional development in organizations, we’ve often been asked in the past to deliver bespoke in person training to help meet specific strategic goals. Prior to COVID-19, this was almost always delivered face to face as traditionally this approach has been well accepted as the most natural and logical.
But, is there another way?
As a result of Covid-19, businesses have come to realise that they can’t afford to put capability building on hold by pushing the pause button on critical workplace learning. The myth that online learning isn’t as effective as face to face has been debunked. While not yet perfect, we’ve learned first-hand that there’s no reason why we can’t offer the exact same outcomes of face to face learning, in an online environment.
Online doesn’t mean what you think it does.
We need to expand our paradigm about what ‘e-learning’ really means. Click through courses, which require no engagement or interaction from participants are a thing of the past. ‘Online’ is simply the term used to describe the medium through which learners access content. That doesn’t mean that their learning should be devoid of interaction, discussion or critical thinking. In fact, because of technology we have more options for learning: synchronous, asynchronous, flipped, or blended.
Now that we know there’s another option, it’s time to turn our attention to why offering online learning in your organization may be not just a quick fix alternative, but the best solution in the longer term.
Here are 7 key reasons why bespoke online programmes are the way to go.
Being able to bespoke learning doesn’t go away because it’s being delivered online. In fact the ability to tailor learning experiences, content, and approaches only enhances because of technology. As opposed to ‘off the shelf programmes’ which is generic, bespoke learning is your branding, your company culture and aimed at achieving your specific goals.
Adults have many demands on their time- both professionally and personally. Online learning is far more easily accessible and flexible than traditional learning. As learning easily fits within their lives and schedules, gone are the days where you have to drag your employees to participate in a day long, in person workshop. In fact corporate e-learning takes approximately 40-60% less time to complete compared with traditional in person workshops.
Research shows that adult learners need to be treated as responsible and be enabled to self-direct their learning. This includes personalisation of goal settings, application of context as well as flexibility for when/where to engage in learning. Adults also have extensive and diverse experiences, which influence how they construct meaning from their engagement with information. As opposed to everyone receiving the same information in a face to face session, online learning offers adult learners the ability to build upon their already extensive experience and knowledge through personalised learning pathways.
We know that adults are motivated to engage in professional development for a wide range of internal needs: job, personal desire, self-esteem. Ultimately, they want information/skills/qualifications in order to self-improve. Online learning in this way allows for content to be designed in response to their specific needs. Not only that, but e-learning can actually increases retention rates anywhere between 25-60%.
#5 Just in Time
Research shows that professional development is less effective as a one-off event. Instead, it needs to be sustained (see micro-learning), accessible and offer learners the ability to engage with readily available content exactly when and how it is needed by the learner. Learning is no longer tied to a brick and mortar training room, but is accessible through your smartphone, tablet, and computer. It’s in your pocket and available at your fingertips.
Learning and practice go hand in hand. If you want to see evidence of outcomes, learning needs to be directly relatable and applicable to participants lives and professions. A 2017 report from the Learning Policy Institute, found that traditional learning approaches rarely make room for participants to connect the content to their individual professional context, build understanding or actively apply their learning. In an online learning environment, learners are encouraged to consistently apply the learning they gain, within their professional context and make use of authentic and real-life situations to filter and make sense of new knowledge.
#7 Cost Effective & Scalable
While hiring someone to bespoke design your online learning programmes may be slightly more expensive in the short term, once your programmes are developed, they can be scaled up and out and save a substantial amount of money. In fact, Since IBM shifted to e-learning they have saved around $200 million. Utilizing online learning can reduce many of the costs associated with traditional face to face training such as travel, hotel rentals, and equipment etc. It also expands access and allows you to provide the same learning to all employees, regardless of demographic location and time difference. This is especially important when your employees live in different cities, countries, or continents.
Online learning, or eLearning is not just a quick fix alternative, but an excellent medium to support the ongoing professional learning and development of your organisation. Bespoke learning offers tailored, flexible, personalised, responsive, just in time, authentic, cost effective and scalable learning to your people.
Do you have a knowledge gap you need to address within you organisation? Speak to Praxis about how we can help you with our bespoke learning programmes.
Knowledge | Reflection | Action