Virtual is Here to Stay

Adam Clough

Adam Clough

Senior Consultant

If you think corporate training, events, workshops and conferences will go back to the way they were pre-COVID, you’re wrong.

Virtual / Live Online Learning has emerged as a safe and viable option for personal development, albeit that it was forced on us as the pandemic turned personal and professional worlds upside down.

Before COVID-19 people some wanted more virtual learning experiences, but many of us in Learning and Development were too comfortable with the traditional approach to consider such a massive shift.

Over the last year, we’ve all been forced to adjust, create and innovate virtual strategies for our learning programmes, and we are discovering that there are many advantages to virtual learning that we didn’t realise:

  • Reduced cost
  • More diverse classes
  • Equity in learning
  • Higher efficiency
  • Increased participation
  • Equal or higher satisfaction scores
  • More personal feedback

These are just a few of the things we are seeing in this new age of learning & development, but there are many more.

We have also discovered that there are some things that transfer to virtual more easily than others. Virtual has shown itself to be great for explaining concepts in meaningful and understandable ways; using stories and examples to illustrate points. But virtual still cant quite capture the excitement of co-generated ideas and intimate discovery of innovative ideas.

Will we return to physical classrooms and conference at some point? Yes, but, virtual offerings and solutions will continue to grow and be seen as an equal option, rather than a lesser choice.

We will also see more blended learning than we have previously. Smaller groups in different locations, but in the same virtual class at the same time is just one example. Blended learning will bring together the best of both worlds – virtual safety & face-to-face engagement, which will help learners stay motivated and engaged.

As a firm we have now virtually facilitated over 1600 sessions in the last 10 months. Created editable digital versions of handouts, workbooks, new pre and post programme assessments, surveys and knowledge tests, and are now finalising the creation of a learning app. It is unlikely we would have achieved this in such a short period of time if we were not in the current climate.

L&D is transforming in this virtual first environment, and fast, and I am excited to see what’s next. Lets hope we don’t need another pandemic to find out!

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