Not even 13 to 14 months ago, terms like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (MR) would have meant much to learners used to routine classroom learning processes. After all these are technologies still evolving – immersive learning technologies – meant for some different time in the future.
And, now, see how in no time these have become the frontline tools for e-Learning. Blame it on Covid-19 pandemic, if you would so wish to, with stricter enforcement of social distancing norms to prevent the spread of the deadly virus that has already killed millions across the globe. The pandemic has thrown up massive challenges for learners and Learning and Development leaders in organisations.
Learning amid Covid-19
How to, then, ensure resumption of the learning process, an essential part of the growth and development, after nearly a year long period of little or no learning as a result of COVID-19, in 2021? The answer may lie in quick shifting of gears and switching over to innovative online learning technologies and tools. Converting classroom learning contents to smart e-Learning contents may still prove to be an uphill task, but an essential task which many organisations have since begun on a war footing.
e-Learning, no alien concept
It is also a fact that, for people in the business of learning and training, e-Learning is an alien concept from another planet. It has been there even before the Coronavirus hit us. The only difference is that it no longer is an alternative tool of remote learning. Rather, it has become the only way of learning and exchanging information and knowledge amid the Covid 19 pandemic. And more significantly, it is here to stay as a new normal way of learning and doing business, pandemic or no pandemic.
Cost effective and popular
There has been an increased understanding of the cost effectiveness of managing businesses on line. The growing popularity of work from home and e-learning are a testimony to it. For the enterprises it comes with a direct windfall by way of saving a huge amount of expenditure on renting office spaces, class rooms and related expenses. Therefore, the importance of e-Learning cannot be underlined more from the organisations’ point of view. Let’s examine this fact through some statistical data.
e-Learning, new trend
According to a study by Bobby Chernev:
· In 2017 when about 77 per cent of the US corporations were using e-Learning, 98 per cent of them were planning to make it a part of their programme by 2020.
· It is estimated that e-learning segment is likely to grow by $12.81 billion between 2020-2024.
· Corporate e-learning market is likely to increase by $38.09 billion from 2020 to 2024.
· E-learning has been the single most important factor for the increase in incomes of 42 per cent of the US business units.
· IT giant IBM has made a saving of about $200 million after switching over to e-learning.
Migrating to e-Learning
The above facts make a strong pitch for e-Learning as an important mode of learning and doing business in 2021. There has been a rising trend among organisations to adopt e-Learning even amid reports of a decline in Covid-19 cases and starting of vaccination drive in many countries of the world. For organisations grappling with the problem of resource crunch coming in their way of training workforce, e-Learning has come as a saviour. No wonder already 23 per cent of organisations have begun to completely migrate to e-Learning or other cost-effective platforms for their employees’ learning and development.
Emerging online training modes
Organisations can make use of emerging online training modes such as Soft Skills Training, Blended learning such as Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), mobile learning, micro-learning and social learning, eLearning and design, and learning technology to initiate the learning processes.
VILT, LXP, LMS
The VILT holds promise for learners by way of its numerous instruction strategies that create scenarios, simulations, and case studies leading to increased learners’ engagement in real-life problem situations. Organisations are using LMS (Learning Management System) and even Learning Experience Platform (LXP) for better personalized learning outcomes.
Organisations have undertaken online education initiatives for customers through presentations, product videos, client testimonials, case studies, podcasts, Artificial Intelligence and VR based solutions for giving them real life experience. LMS is being customized depending on specific products, service and roles of customers for better results.
Well designed content
Virtual classrooms are being leveraged using planned, carefully delivered and well-designed contents. With, according to another survey, about 34 per cent of organisations planning to opt for virtual classrooms, quality content does make sense. There are another 44 per cent of organisations who seek to opt for a blended digital and virtual approach for conducting training for their workforce.
Setting a new trend
No single mishap in the recent memory of mankind has been as devastating as COVID 19 pandemic. Amid the all round pain, suffering and deaths, e-Learning has stood out as the only silver lining in the sky. It has given hope and set a new trend of learning and development and re-opened new doors of opportunities for all.