The future of training: to be resilient you must get creative

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We are currently witnessing a paradigm shift in the learning and development landscape, which started before the pandemic. This transformation applies to the general approach to learning, going from a more traditional top-down methodology to innovative and on-demand learning methods. The content is also changing, going from generic, one-size-fits-all courses to highly specific and tailored ones.

A report from the International Data Corporation projected that by 2024 two-thirds of employees in high-performing enterprises will shift from static roles and processes to dynamic and reconfigurable teams. This will likely also require more training to respond to the increasing fluidity in organizational processes. This shows how learning and development will play a central role in the success of an organization. PwC’s global CEO survey reports that those with more advanced training programmes register stronger corporate culture, improved employee engagement, higher productivity, greater business growth, and improved talent acquisition and retention. Furthermore, employees seem to understand the need for upskilling, as the “opportunity to learn” is among the top reasons for staff to take or leave a job.

The uptake of virtual learning has been increasing for a while, and even more so, after the COVID-19 crisis. Linkedin’s 2020 Workplace Learning report shows how investments are shifting to online learning from instructor-led training. In fact, 73% of respondents expect to spend less on instructor-led training, and 79% expect to spend more on online learning. This is respectively a 35% and 22% increase from 2020.

A study by the Fosway Group states that 94% of learning and development professionals have changed their strategy in response to the pandemic, with 2 out of 3 companies claiming they made significant changes in what and how they train. The demand for digital learning systems both from senior stakeholders (82%) and end users (71%) has increased amidst the pandemic.

Business Continuity and digital learning

Training and awareness are important components of embedding business continuity management (BCM) into organizational culture. In this respect the Business Continuity Institute’s Good Practice Guidelines list several general activities that may be adopted to promote business continuity, such as self-study options, mentoring, conferences, workshops, and seminars, among others. However, taking advantage of digital learning techniques would provide more creative options in upskilling business continuity and resilience professionals. Following is the list of different innovative learning trends that may be adopted in the BC and resilience industry.

Mobile Learning: Accessing learning through mobile devices gives users flexibility and convenience as they can consume content whenever and wherever they like. It is forecasted that e-learning will evolve to be mobile-first, which means that e-learning content will be built initially for mobile phones before being delivered for desktop users.

Social Learning: Social learning in the modern workplace entails collaboration among colleagues through different methods like informal chats, forums, learning circles, and sharing sessions. Further, this training is accessible, open, and efficient. There are several learning management systems that provide avenues for social learning, such asEdmodo, Schoology, Mindflash, Canvas LMS, and Coassemble.

Immersive Technologies: Immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) enhance practical instructional design approaches with more thrills and engagements for the learners. AR technology augments training with captivating images and graphics, while VR involves 360-degree photography, and real interactions. These extended technologies can be used in crisis simulations and exercises.

Micro-learning: This method provides learners with bite-sized learning content, usually 2 to 7 minutes, to support quick knowledge consumption and better retention. Since learning is short-term, subject matter is usually focused and tailored to the needs of the learner. This method recognizes the limited tie and attention span of employees. Also, micro-learning can be held in any device such as desktop, video, and mobile.

Video-based learning: A survey revealed that people watch an average of 18 hours of online videos per week. In addition, 69% of respondents preferred to watch a short video to learn about a new product or service. These figures made it easy to identify video as a good learning channel. Videos can hold the learner’s attention as it can be visually appealing, interactive, and engaging. Interactive videos and 360-degree videos are also increasing their mark in the digital learning industry.

Content curation and adaptive learning: With pervasive knowledge channels accessible to everyone, content curation supports corporate learning by identifying the appropriate resources for trainers. In this way, learners can find useful information maximizing their time. These curated contents are then utilized in adaptive learning, alongside the help of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality. Adaptive learning promotes individualized learning that leverages robust analytics, confidence-based assessments, and pre-learning to tests. This method recognizes the individual differences among learners and customizes the activities accordingly.

Big data and AI: Big data can have an important role in corporate training. By collecting and analyzing data the system can provide insights to make the learning experience more adaptable and effective. In line with this, AI also contributes to individualization of learning. AI-powered models use algorithm to collect date such as trainee’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. This way it is possible to create highly specific learning paths based on the challenges faced by the users. In addition, voice-enabled bots are also being used by large corporations. In fact, AI tutors and platforms are seen to rise in the future.

Gamification: This method uses gaming mechanics to boost learners’ engagement and retention rates by allowing organizations to create intangible incentives. The motivations can be in the form of a gift card or financial reward to induce internal competition among employees and drive successful training results.