At the beginning of lockdown we saw a huge increase in the uptake of people wanting to study online courses. There has been a large shift in approaches to learning and development in general; with all face-to-face training being cancelled, and moving onto virtual channels. The education and training sectors have had to adapt quickly to this ‘new normal’, using innovative techniques and technologies to support learning. For employers who already had some form of online learning in place, they were steps ahead of the rest.
Getting the Economy Moving
A recession was fairly inevitable after the entire country was locked down for 3 months. There is now more pressure than ever for the government to focus on small and micro businesses in order to grow the economy. It is the smaller businesses that are able to provide employment and help build things back up again.
It’s vital to improve the knowledge and skills of the country’s workforce to make them more adaptable in the workplace. With many people not returning to work after being furloughed, learning and development are key. Any job opportunities are likely to have a very high number of applicants; so adding extra qualifications to a CV will make a real difference.
Keeping Employees Safe
The main priority for all employees at the moment is keeping staff safe. This means that businesses are utilising online learning facilities more, to ensure their staff are still expanding their skills whilst remaining healthy. A recent Udemy report on online course enrolments showed a huge 80% increase in purchases from both businesses and governments. It seems that businesses have been buying courses related to working from home, in order to ensure they are putting the correct policies and procedures in place for their staff.
Opportunity to Upskill
For those that have been unfortunate and have lost their jobs during this pandemic, online learning is the best way to reskill or update existing skills. For example, if you are currently an Assessor who would like to achieve a teaching or training qualification, the Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (CET) is ideal. We always preach about how keeping your CPD record up to date is so important, so if you are finding yourself with extra free time than normal, get working on it now!
Shifts in Learning
One of the big benefits of undertaking online learning is that employees are spending less time away from their day job than they would if undertaking face to face training. So businesses are not only gaining a more educated workforce, less time is being used in the process. A win-win situation!
The shift towards online learning has certainly brought to light the importance of good infrastructure; including internet connections, devices and platforms for delivery. As a business owner, it is important to plan and implement a strong approach to learning and development too. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- There should be a good understanding of the needs of the business
- Consider how staff need to develop in order to meet these needs
- Evaluate the current training situation and identify what is working well (or not so well)
- Research whether a fully online or blended learning method would be best
- Look at any in-house training that can be converted to online content
- Check the new delivery platform meets all the requirements of the business
Not all subjects are suited to fully online learning – blended learning is often a good middle ground. This is where the majority of the course is completed online. Then, the learner will be required to attend several days of face-to-face training throughout the course. Here at Brooks and Kirk, blended learning is how we deliver our online courses as we feel this really gives the benefits of both face-to-face and online learning.