Dispersed Learners: Lessons For A Post Pandemic Working World

Mar 01 2021 | Research
Young african american student girl doing video call using laptop.

After researching the growing adoption of e-learning vs the pure in-person approach pre-pandemic, EZRA discusses offering a blended strategy for workplace learning which aims to avoid the drawbacks and reap the benefits of both approaches.

Distance or remote learning in the workplace is slowly growing and has been accelerated in 2020 by the emergence of the COVID-19 virus. But many organizations still only offer the majority, or all, of their training and coaching face-to-face. EZRA discusses the benefits of instead offering a more blended approach to workplace learning which combines in-person and remote e-learning to gain the benefits of both without the drawbacks of either.

A survey from May 2020 showed that of the 67.5% employed workers, 42% where full time working from home while 26% were still going to the office.

78% of CEOs believe that there will be an enduring shift towards remote collaboration after the pandemic.

Users have actively sought out learning during the pandemic. Skillshare, for example, saw 3x the number of user signups (66% of which were from outside the USA), and existing users were watching 3x the number of lessons than they were before the pandemic, while Coursera saw an astonishing 444% increase in their course enrolments.

50% of surveyed companies reported that their training budget remained the same between 2019 and 2020, while 28% reported a decrease and only 22% reported an increase.

In 2019 40% of training hours were delivered by an instructor in a classroom-type setting, and 10% of organizations used this method exclusively. The costs for a single one-day in-person training event for 30 employees was estimated at $27,500, of which only $12,000 was hiring the facilitator.

42% of businesses reported “lack of budget” as their biggest 2020 training challenge, leading to a boost in the interest of distance learning as a potential cost saver. Distance learning through technology such as a coaching app can also improve training accessibility at different locations, offer a more democratized experience, and provide greater flexibility for participants. However there are downsides; there is often a larger initial outlay for e-learning solutions, and it can sometimes be harder to provide equity between different locations depending on factors such as hardware accessibility, quality or availability of web connection etc. E-learning also offers a lot less in the way of socialization, and the “always-on” nature of many solutions can have negative effects on work-life balance as employees feel obligated to engage beyond normal time expectations. Career-life coaching can address this to a point, but this is a band-aid type solution at best.

The best solution for modern businesses is therefore a blended approach, which offers a way to get the best of both worlds, using the positives of in-person and remote learning to balance out the equivalent negatives.

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