We live in a changed world. Few of us could have imagined in January or February of 2020 what things would look like just a few months later. COVID-19 has altered the very fabric of society, perhaps irrevocably.
While many of those changes have been negative, that is not true for all of them. In some cases, families have been able to reconnect with each other. People have benefited from additional free time – pursuing passion projects, hobbies, or even starting new businesses from scratch. For existing organizations, the impact has not necessarily been completely negative, either.
One positive that has come from the pandemic is the rapid adoption of learning management systems by businesses and not-for-profit organizations. That adoption was present before COVID-19’s emergence but has been greatly accelerated by shelter-in-place orders and the need for social distancing. Today, more and more companies are adopting learning management systems for a broad range of reasons.
Growth – For Right Now, At Least
Technavio, a market research firm, released a report in April 2020, predicting the growth and adoption of learning management systems through 2024. One of the key findings of the report was “the corporate learning management system market is expected to grow by USD 12.48 billion during 2020-2024”. However, the report notes that adoption rates will slow at the end of 2020 when the effects of the pandemic will begin to fade and things will regain some semblance of normalcy.
The Business World
Businesses have been affected in an incredibly wide range of ways. The impact varies based on a broad range of factors, ranging from the industry itself to the role of the employee within the organization. Some employees have seen no change in the volume of work, while others have seen their duties evaporate.
The slowdown that has affected a significant portion of the workforce can be seen as a positive thing in some lights. It is an excellent chance to ensure that learning can occur. Those training programs that there never seemed to be time to complete? Now there’s more than enough time. Businesses large and small are realizing this, as well as the need to implement an LMS to ensure that employees sheltering at home can complete the needed studies quickly, easily, and with a minimum of fuss and hassle.
Learning management systems offer more benefits than this, though. A modern LMS can also offer the connectivity, collaboration, and communication that your teams are lacking. With the right platform, employees can text, voice chat, video conference, and help one another in a myriad of ways.
While that’s important for business performance and for ensuring that learners can master new information, it has broader implications. Employees can regain some sense of normality and things seem easier to deal with.
The impact of COVID-19 and the move toward using an LMS goes far beyond for-profit businesses, as well. A guide published by Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, or ALiEM, notes that “Given the epidemiological data from China and Italy, educators should be prepared for the likelihood that online learning will continue to be the norm for many weeks to months. Simply running disconnected weekly educational sessions without an overall organization will hinder educational success for learners. Learning Management Systems are tools that can support educational leaders with the delivery, assessment, and organization of learning.”
Additionally, EdScoop, a publication dedicated to the higher learning sector, noted a similar trend. “With the majority of college classes moved online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of higher education institutions are going through a period of rapid transformation as students and faculty increasingly rely on technology to stay connected to each other and adjust to the new reality of distance learning.”
The article goes on to note that there have been numerous positive changes to come from this rapid-fire technological adoption, including:
- Students and staff are becoming more comfortable with technology
- Learning curves have been flattened
- Education has become more interactive, engaging, and enjoyable
- Communication between staff members and between staff and students has improved
- Educators are learning how to work together more effectively
Not Just COVID-19
The Technavio report we mentioned previously cites the single most common driving factor behind LMS adoption as being “an increased need for skilled employees and the emergence of mobile learning”, rather than COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic are expected to fade within Q3 of 2020 and will not play a direct role in adoption rates in subsequent years.
However, “fading” does not necessarily equate to not existing at all. The impact of COVID-19 will be with us for years to come, and many people, both in the world of business and in the education sector, will take the lesson to heart. COVID-19 is only the most recent of the many outbreaks we’ve seen in the 21st century, and it will not be the last.
Learning management systems provide scalable solutions that enable everything from in-office training to distance learning while sheltering in place. As such, an LMS is perhaps one of the most essential tools for businesses, nonprofits, schools, and other entities. It can help guarantee continuity in times when most people are forced to work or study from home, ensures that compliance training and employee development can still occur on a timely basis, and delivers other critical benefits. Any forward-thinking organization should ensure that a modern LMS is part of their infrastructure.
Eventually, COVID-19’s impact will fade away, although the virus may become something we must deal with annually. However, the need for an LMS will not evaporate. As many businesses and organizations are learning today, the right LMS can provide a broad range of benefits and advantages that offer value even when business as usual resumes.