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Technology and human skills in design learning

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Because so many people have been forced to work from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has not only catalyzed the expansion of distance learning, but also reinforces the fact that learning must strictly adhere to basic principles such as relevance, self-control and purposefulness. Less effective learning, which previously could have been conducted by experienced full-time trainers, now has to meet other requirements to ensure that they can achieve learning goals in remote environments where students are more likely to face new distractions. With distance work becoming more common, and as we look ahead, the need for strong learning design has become more important than ever to ensure student engagement and learning effectiveness.

Maintaining human contact in digital learning

Virtual learning requires a thoughtful approach to design and development to effectively increase learning activities. This approach includes incorporating appropriate technologies that facilitate interaction (e.g., forums, surveys, and chat) and supporting students in a way that they adapt to their current work environment (offering course flexibility, mobile response, and several learning formats).

In the virtual classroom, companies need to promote social support and recovery as they seek to create a learning ecosystem that is fueled by online content, social media and tools for collaboration. This “new normal” learning requires new roles, such as a class producer or moderator, to sustain students ’experiences and ensure that staff develop skills, share knowledge, and collaborate freely and seamlessly with others. For example, in many organizations, moderators take the time to explain new technologies used by the virtual classroom and ask participants to use them in a fun way to break the “virtual ice” and learn how to use the tool before immersing themselves in the content.

The pandemic has brought disruptions not only to our teaching methods but also to our curricula as company executives increasingly see value in upgrading their workforce in preparation for the era of ubiquitous digitization. As our platforms become more high-tech, so should the content we present on them. The strategic direction of the development of leading brands today is to support the technological skills of their workforce and ensure their ability to work with automated processes.

However, the rise of digital technology is also reinforcing the importance of human communication. In the absence of personal training, companies need to make sure that employees not only adapt to the dynamics of telecommuting and become more technologically savvy, but are also able to interact with team members and immediate subordinates. Managers need to be able to continue coach, teacher and lead their employees in a remote environment. By working remotely, leaders can set the tone for culture and engagement by actively participating in icebreaker activities to help bring the team closer together.

As the world becomes more digital and data-driven, the learning and development (L&D) industry will need to provide appropriate and balanced support for human skills. Emotional intelligenceLearning social influence and leadership skills is becoming more important than ever – especially when these skills need to be demonstrated and / or taught without the personal interaction with the person they traditionally require.

The best mix

It is no secret that the pandemic has greatly affected the training and career development of employees. The need to quickly adapt and build robust, human-centered, digitally supported virtual learning programs has been challenging, but it has led to new innovative and effective ways to engage employees. Collaboration and genuine communication, incorporated through new digital tools and data-based learning, will continue to rewrite the future of learning and development.

I believe that this new approach to learning should remain. Companies that can continue to develop their virtual learning based on employee feedback and industry best practices that are new will be able to sustainably develop the skills and knowledge needed to implement their strategy in the long run.

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