The 6 Learning trends to watch post pandemic
By Cegos Team the 29 October 2021
The pandemic has shifted the digital landscape dramatically, which has had a direct impact on the way we learn. Indeed, it is not CEOs or CTOs that have driven the recent surge in digitalisation. It’s Covid-19!
“Predicting the future is like rolling some dice: there are many acceptable outcomes”, says Jonathan Mohadeb, Head of International Projects at Cegos. Patricia Santos, Head of Corporate Offers & Digital Studio, adds “the way we live changed, the way we work changes, the way we learn is also changing”. They have spoken to their clients and partners to identify the major learning trends that have arisen due to the pandemic. Now, they want to see how these trends might play out in the future of global learning.
1- Travel and presence
During lockdowns, companies and individuals moved almost exclusively to learning online. In some cases, they would attend classes in a live virtual environment. Others took self-directed e-learning courses.
As face-to-face learning makes a comeback, we predict the trend will move towards a ‘hybrid’ style of learning. This means classes where some people take part face-to-face while others join virtually. Currently, a hybrid class is challenging to manage but advances in technology will soon make it much easier.
The major benefit is that teams from different countries can experience the same class without having to travel. It also gives companies more access to experts outside their countries who can deliver classes remotely.
How can we manage hybrid’ learning successfully using today’s technology?
One of the biggest challenges facing trainers who work remotely is keeping their learners engaged. It can be difficult to facilitate true human connection online, but it can be done.
Trainers must come up with strategies to eliminate the ‘distance’ of remote training. They should use tools that enable more connection, such as icebreakers and energisers.
Face-to-face learning events can be seen as an opportunity for teams to get together and socialise, especially if they are working remotely most of the time. Learning as a social activity – both in-person and remotely – is a very attractive proposition.
3- Access to information
Professionals are increasingly taking charge of their own learning. As such, companies should offer a choice of learning opportunities that employees can pick from.
The key here is to make it easier for learners to find what they need, rather than be told what to do. Learning providers should fit their content around this model. In some cases, live sessions will be used only to facilitate discussion, group exercises and expert feedback.
How can online learning content effectively complement face-to-face learning and vice versa?
4- Flexible working
The switch to remote learning has had an impact on working routines, too. Many people now prefer to learn in digestible chunks rather than over long periods.
For example, our MyStory program reflects the journey of a new manager in an episodic format. Participants engage with the content in the way they might watch a Netflix series, observing and learning as they go.
Flexibility is attractive to employees, but it does not mean everything has to be delivered remotely. The blended learning model works well. Some training can be completed in the learner’s own time while they can also enjoy interacting with others.
The difference compared to the old days is that learners can now do the face-to-face training in half a day or a day, rather than over several days. This improves the overall learning experience and makes it more engaging.
That said, our experience of delivering the week-long ‘Leader of the Future’ program shows that professionals are still willing to engage with extended programs, albeit occasionally rather than regularly.
Find out how Cegos can help you implement local and global learning programs
in tune with the latest trends and developments.
5- Privacy and self-image
Since the pandemic, video platforms like Zoom have become the primary mode we use to connect remotely. However, some people are not comfortable sharing their home environment with strangers. There are options to mask this, such as artificial backgrounds and blurring, but privacy is still a concern.
Nonetheless, facial expressions and body language play a key part in the interaction between trainer and participants. It is difficult for a trainer to assess engagement without seeing the people they are working with. And human connection is lost if participants cannot see each other.
Trainers need to create a safe space for participants to feel comfortable sharing their true selves.
What is the best approach to giving learners a safe space to share their authentic selves?
The pandemic, and the resulting focus on digital technology, has had a huge impact on the way we work. Remote working has become normalised to the point where many people do not plan to return to the office full time.
In addition, the pandemic experience has forced people to take a more philosophical attitude towards their jobs. Professionals these days prefer to work for less money if it is something they are passionate about, rather than working relentlessly on the corporate treadmill.
Companies can address this issue by providing more training opportunities. This shows they care about their employees by giving them a chance to reskill. The opportunity to continue learning is a powerful retention strategy, as people will have to acquire new skills to keep up with the rapid changes affecting our work lives. Employers who offer the chance to keep skills fresh and relevant will have a big advantage over those that do not.
How can companies help their people take control of their learning?
We live in a world changed hugely from two years ago. The new world of learning will focus more on self-directed learning. Traditional face-to-face and trainer-led programs will take a less prominent role.
It is imperative, therefore, that companies and training providers keep up with the latest trends and developments, so people can upskill in line with their needs and the shape of their working lives.