It’s tempting to think that your L&D efforts will emerge from the pandemic largely unscathed and unchanged. That’s particularly true if you’re already using a robust LMS. After all, the system is designed for remote use, right? Your employees can already log in, complete their training, and advance all from the comfort of their home office, so what’s the deal with COVID-19-driven L&D evolution?

Actually, there’s a lot to know. While learning and development initiatives might not see the granular reshaping that other business processes are, they’re never going to be what they were pre-pandemic. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and everything affects everything else. In this post, we’ll explore how the coronavirus and subsequent pandemic are altering L&D.

How the Coronavirus Is Reshaping L&D: Nothing Exists in a Vacuum

A Look at Some Interesting Statistics

Both Fosway Group and Chief Learning Officer have noted some very interesting statistics relating to L&D during the pandemic and how those trends will play out as things slowly return closer to the old normal, including:

  • 82% of decision-makers intend to increase digital learning resources
  • 81% of business leaders intend to implement new training techniques
  • 94% of L&D pros are having to change their learning and development strategy due to COVID-19

Of course, those statistics tell just part of the story. Below, we’ll delve into some of the more prominent, defined trends we’re seeing.

More Direct and to the Point

One of the first things you’ll notice as we emerge from the pandemic is that training content, particularly instructor-led training, or ILT, will become more direct and to the point. There will be less time spent on introductions, and more time spent digging into content. The result? A streamlined experience for learners, whether they’re watching a live webinar or learning from a pre-recorded instructor-led session.

Shorter Sessions

With most people working from home, it would seem like they’d have more free time to complete their required training. That’s not true. The remote-work situation lends itself to more distractions, including a dramatic increase in the number of meetings and check-ins, particularly while employees adjust to things. Shorter sessions with more definite learning objectives can help your team members stay engaged and keep moving forward.

The Need for Support and Resources

While many employees have the technology required to continue learning from home, that’s not the case for everyone. Throw in the fact that some businesses don’t have a remote-accessible LMS, and things become even more complicated. You must provide your teams with the support and resources they need to keep learning and developing. After all, if they can’t access the modules, they can’t complete the training.

More Focus on Self-Led Learning

It takes a lot of people to create even a basic webinar or video lesson if you want to have the appropriate production value. Sure, the instructor can do it all with a smartphone and the right lighting, but that usually leads to low-quality content. However, creating high-quality video content isn’t all that possible in an age when social distancing and remote work are the norm.

Today, we’re seeing more and more companies focusing on self-led learning and that trend is going to continue even once the pandemic is under control. There are quite a few reasons for this, including the following:

  • Empowering – Self-led learning can be incredibly empowering for your team members. It puts them in the driver’s seat, allows them to move at their own pace, and enables them to explore concepts in whatever depth they want and need for information retention and understanding.
  • Knowledge Retention – With classroom-based training, it’s pretty common for learners to only retain a small fraction of the information being taught. Interestingly, self-led learning leads to significantly better information retention. The impact on your business can be significant, too.
  • Additional Skills Development – Most organizations are dealing with some form of skills gap these days. Self-led learning provides a way to upskill your employees and help them learn new things that can be applied in the business. Not only will that help them be more productive in their current positions, but it can help position them for higher positions down the road.

Changes to Onboarding

The pandemic hasn’t eliminated the need to hire people, but it has put a crimp in your onboarding processes. Your LMS can be a vital part of onboarding new team members today, with the possibilities only limited by your imagination. Use your LMS with prescreening, with introducing the company’s culture, value, and ethics, to help new hires come to grips with their positions, and even to meet their teams in some cases.

Don’t expect these changes to vanish when COVID-19 is finally beaten, either. The benefits offered are simply too significant to ignore. Some businesses may ramp up their use of learning and development tools for use in their onboarding processes.

Creating Your Own Content

Another trend that’s growing in the post-COVID landscape is that of creating L&D content for your employees. Once, companies purchased pre-made content, mostly focused on things like mandatory corporate training, where the content applied to everyone within an organization. Today, though, with the ongoing skills shortage and the need to promote from within, more companies are taking a custom approach.

Creating your own content requires several things to be in place. One of those is, of course, the expertise and knowledge within your organization to create the content in the first place. The second is a learning content management system that allows you to create your own content. Some LMS platforms don’t offer this capability, so if you’re shopping around for a new system, pay close attention to how it handles (or fails to handle) custom content that you develop in-house.

A Changed World

Even when COVID-19 is finally in check, don’t expect things to go back to the way they were. We will be living (and working) in a changed world, and that applies to your L&D initiatives as much as it does to anything else. Take these tips and trends and use them to inform your learning and development strategies moving forward.

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