The onset of lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted workforces all around the globe and corporations have had to pivot to work-from-home models almost overnight or worse, reduce their staff body. With the levels of uncertainty in the current economy, businesses will have to stay ahead of their competition to brave through this pandemic and its aftereffects.
The silver lining since, is that some employers are starting to see the value in investing in their employees. Especially in uncertain and ambiguous times, employees need to be upskilled to bridge the knowledge gap. In Singapore, government job skills programmes like SkillsFuture have been in place for several years, but are now more geared towards remote working and COVID-19 management. In order to bring quality training to their now remote workforce, many companies will have to rely on a well-structured learning management system (LMS).
Training a workforce that is diverse and dispersed
Awareness of skills shortages has emerged in COVID-19, shedding a light on the urgency to gain momentum across industries when it comes to implementing training. In 2017, 14% of the global workforce was projected to require new skills or occupation changes by 2030 due to the advancements in automation and the developments in artificial intelligence. Despite much success in prior government-backed schemes, human resource leaders have voiced a greater need for talent development in the context of economic instability and shutdowns. In these trying times, corporations should and are rightfully starting to use resources to create remote training programmes and maximising training with useful tools found in eLearning platforms.
Companies have begun to acknowledge the need for initiatives that acknowledge the value of remote skills training during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, PwC’s Academy in Singapore has tweaked its upskilling content and methods for the pandemic. The firm has made its Digital Fitness for the World app free to individuals and organisations for the next year. Similarly, companies like Talview have released modules and resources catered to remote working environments and the handling of HR coronavirus procedures.
Remote workers can receive consistent training
Consistency is key when it comes to adapting to a dispersed workforce. This means that delivering constant and effective skills training is essential to the quality of training. A common concern among companies on the virtual workforce is the difficulty of ensuring and maintaining equal, or if not higher, levels of productivity when workers are not in a dedicated office space. Taking a cautious approach with eLearning can aid trainers in keeping learners motivated and resourceful during the training duration.
Personalisation can be one of the methods used to enhance educational content to keep employees engaged. Personalising the eLearning journey refers to incorporating experiences like meaningful feedback, having accessibility across multiple devices and participation in making their own video content. By personalising instruction, trainers can better evaluate what learners already know and tailor the training programme to better suit and test their knowledge to each individual.
Gamification has also proven to keep learners engaged and active in the learning process, which could be especially helpful for online training. Gaming design in courses conduct an activity to spur learners and reward them with incentives as they progress. Rewards can be specially curated for the audience, making it relevant to their preferences and needs.
An LMS can supply a platform with an advanced course builder and gamification tools, like the Brightspace platform from global software company D2L, makes bespoke courses easy to construct and deliver and more engaging for the user.
Shifting in-person instruction to digital
Amidst work-from-home, HR tech startup EngageRocket found that 90% of Singaporean employees would prefer to keep working from home in the new normal. Companies share this sentiment, realising that there are advantages to dispersed operations and a reduction in in-person workers. A smaller in-office workforce can help firms cut down on spending on costs like insurance, building maintenance, utilities and rent, which eat into a tight budget, especially in economic turmoil. Distance learning has since been a cost-friendly way for businesses that want to upskill their workers in this time on digital-learning platforms. Be it academic or workplace, in-person or remote teaching, learning material and instruction is crucial in carrying out training.
Microlearning, an approach to teaching by delivering bite-sized content in short bursts, can be carried out in the interest of saving time and deeper memory retention. Instructors can use this approach for its several benefits, and carry out a needs assessment before commencing, all on the eLearning platform.
For instructors that are aiding in training courses, there is always ready and relevant content to utilise on the platform to meet their learners’ needs. While also pushing for collaboration within the staff body, this content can be used to deliver expertise in the learning process.
A well-structured LMS lets managers easily and accurately evaluate the firm’s needs, build, deliver and monitor activity with course content, all within the same space.
Holistic online solutions for remote training
A good number of companies in the Southeast Asian region utilise edtech tools like learning management systems to deliver training to their staff force. Even before COVID-19, companies had already turned to these solutions to train staff through an array of customised courses.
The market understands the potential that lies in a remote, decentralised instruction model, made accessible to the entire workforce. With a globalised society, a robust LMS can provide immense value to enterprises with regional or worldwide presence to curate their course content to the needs of each geographical location. The LMS can soon grow to become a resource hub for staff members, regardless of superiority, where employees can share and receive information available at the touch of their screen.
As institutions across sectors bring talent development and upskilling to a remote world, the need for a support system to these processes is magnified. Making the transition from in-person training to an online framework might not be the most intuitive thing, and companies have to realise this to avoid the mess later. Enter third-party learning platforms; a necessary and helpful tool to help trainers run objective-driven course programmes by removing the obstacles that an in-house structure that may lack the capacity for such vibrant customisation.
Remote working and the need for professional development are two aspects of the modern workforce that are here to stay. Distance learning is very much the future for various reasons, and the coronavirus pandemic drastically shifting dynamics is unleashing the opportunity for an introduction right now.
This article was first published in e27.