With a downturn in the dreaded COVID rates, and seeming (and very brief) relaxing of rules, the itchy feet started. Some businesses seemed to want to dump the online presence they have been building in 2020 and race back to face-to-face sessions.
But that is a bad idea.
It would be a huge mistake for any company to abandon what they have worked so hard to build over the last few months. To put all the investment of willpower, time and money to waste. For reasons other than the big, bad virus.
Why are some businesses so keen to get back to F2F?
From the comments I have seen online, the desire to rush back to the classroom comes down to a few key factors.
1. People are craving human interaction again
However, you can keep elements of this and build it in to maximise conversation around your course and the topic. Find the methods of delivery that interest you and keep you engaged, as well as your learners. If you need to up the in (virtual) person interaction, then look at how you can build in group acrtivities, discussion boards, seminars, live sessions, Q&A sessions and more. Then balance them with asynchronous delivery methods to help you to make the most of your time doing the bits that excite you.
2. Face-to-face felt ‘easier’
Especially if the trainer is a bit of a technophobe and had little experience of using digital technologies. For some it has felt an uphill struggle to understand their options and pull things together, particularly in the short timeframe that was required. Many want to get back into a place where they were comfortable and had lots of practice.
3. Feel something is missing
Those who haven’t full embraced what online learning can offer are starting to feel that something is missing. These are the people who have just continued running sessions as they usually would have in a classroom but are now doing it over Zoom, with no changes to delivery, materials or scope – but it doesn’t work like that.
4. Lack of understanding of eLearning
One thing I am seeing time and again is the many people don’t actually understand what eLearning or digital learning is, and so therefore don’t understand the real benefits that they could see. There are those that presume it is just sticking a slide deck online and talking through it over conferencing software, and those who are delivering full days worth of training in exactly the way they normally would, just stood in front of a camera. At best that is online facilitation (post to follow soon explaining the difference between online facilitation and online learning).
Why stick with digital training?
I recently came across a piece of TechJury research which stated industry stats such as:
“E-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%…
…The worldwide e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025…
…In 2017, approximately 77% of US corporations used online learning, but 98% planned to incorporate it in their program by 2020.”
These alone are great justification to stay online if you needed the push!
Okay, it is US-based research (so much is in this field) but a lot still applies globally and it gives you an idea of the scale where the industry is heading.
In the last six months, digital services have been helping to future proof businesses, to help them recover some of their losses and/or to provide opportunities to branch out. It has helped companies to reach their staff working at home and train new employees that they cannot onboard in the usual ways.
The (now cringeworthy) word ‘pivot’ entered our daily vocabulary as many business owners had to quickly transform their offering, or change track entirely, to keep the customers coming in. And many businesses have successfully done this. So much so that many companies are now looking at reducing their office spaces and keeping an element of home working as part of their daily practice.
There are so many advantages to online training that you can continue to embrace:
- Continue to build your audience
- Reach wider audiences
- Free up some of your time
- Find new and inventive ways to deliver your content
- Learners are now more used to it and expect online elements, if not fully digital
- It gives more flexibility for you and the learners
- You and the learners will learn new skills
In short, don’t be too quick to abandon your digital offering. If heading into a second lockdown (or where I live, having hardly left the first lockdown) has shown us anything it’s that we cannot predict and plan for events on this scale. Even once Covid is a long distant memory, we don’t know when something like this could happen again.
So keep the momentum, keep learning about new technologies, practice and refine your offering and stay online. At least partially.
Find the ways that work for you, share your experiences, reach out to others and learn together, partner up with someone else to build or deliver your course. Don’t feel you have to master it all at once. Take feedback from your learners and build on it. Set yourself some actions to grow your confidence.
Because digital learning is here to stay.
If you are looking to move your training online and could do with some guidance and a confidence boost, check out my new course ‘Take Your Training Online’ – currently available for £189 for a limited time.
Or you can book a Power Hour with me for just £60, now also available as blocks of 4 for £200. These are guided by you and your needs, so we can agree an agenda and make sure you get out of it what YOU need. Message me on the contact form for details.