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Combat the Loss of In-Person Workplace Learning by Going Digital

Many companies throughout the US now have a remote workforce due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, the inability to meet in-person has threatened to halt many workplace learning initiatives critical to company growth. Is a lack of continued training or business transformation our new normal? We don’t think so.

Don’t let concerns for team safety sideline workplace learning

According to McKinsey, roughly one-half of in-person learning programs through June 30th, 2020, are postponed or canceled in North America. Although team safety should be your top priority, it doesn’t mean you have to skimp on workplace learning. To combat the loss of in-person learning, it’s time to go digital.

Best practices for implementing digital learning

In a recent article, McKinsey outlined best practices to help companies reap the benefits of online learning programs. These practices can help you smooth the digital transition and strengthen the opportunities you offer in the future.

1. Develop a learning response team

A team made up of key stakeholders can help you decide which learning programs to defer or cancel based on what’s best for your organization. Next, take time as a team to go over your current learning offerings to prioritize what’s necessary to adapt to a digital format. Start by answering these questions:
  • How many employees will be affected?
  • Which programs are critical?
  • How soon will the effects of a lack of training be felt?
  • How suitable is the program for a virtual environment?

2. Protect your employees

If you decide to move forward with any in-person learning programs, you must protect your employees. Follow the guidelines set forth by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as your local and state governments. For employees watching from home, make sure they have access to video tools and cloud-based collaboration tools.

3. Adapt in-person delivery

For necessary learning programs that require in-person delivery, adapt by breaking large in-person events into video conferencing sessions instead. For learning programs that require engagement, McKinsey recommends delivering an in-person feel by:
  • Ensuring employees are comfortable with the tech tools needed for the program.
  • Using online tools such as chat to gather input.
  • Sending materials in advance via file sharing.
  • Asking for feedback from participants regarding the digital program.

4. Promote digital learning

The increase in digital learning offers you the opportunity to promote virtual programs as a method of delivery for the future. Now’s the time to make the argument that workplace learning doesn’t need to stop due to travel restrictions or the inability to gather.

5. Explore different strategies

Although you may choose to move existing in-person training programs to digital formats, it doesn’t have to stop there. You have an opportunity to try different virtual learning strategies to find one that fits your programs best. Consider new ways to decrease face-to-face interaction and increase engagement. For example, you may look into taking advantage of technology solutions such as virtual reality simulations and moderated virtual classrooms.

6. Prepare for multiple outcomes

Your response team should prepare for the multiple possible outcomes of COVID-19. For example, travel restrictions may last longer than expected. Establish a plan, and practice your response to prepare your team for execution.

Ready to take your learning efforts online?

To keep your organization moving forward, workplace learning must be a priority now and in the future. To learn more about how to take your learning efforts online, give Pythian a call at 1-866-798-4426 or send us a message.

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