Learning Pool review the Fosway Group COVID-19 research

19 June 2020 by Paul McElvaney

Our friends over at Fosway published some interesting research on COVID-19 a few weeks back.

You can read the full report here. This research was carried out very recently, conducting a temperature check of the learning and development industry during these times of unprecedented change, which would have been unimaginable a few short months ago.

 

So what does it all mean to us here at Learning Pool and more importantly to our customers? Here are our takeaways.

Shifted focus

It’s no surprise that everyone shifted focus to online solutions as the general population went into lockdown. Perhaps what is surprising is that it took lockdown to reach this point. Although many businesses had been well equipped to deliver learning to their workforce online, the research suggests that many have been found wanting with solutions that maybe weren’t quite ready for the challenges that they’ve been faced with. 

We’ve seen instances of this kind at the front line with some customers needing to scale really quickly as classroom training disappeared as a delivery option. Fortunately, we’ve been able to maintain our own productivity as we transitioned to a distributed workforce – our customer success team is busier now supporting our customers than it has ever been and, thankfully, we’ve maintained satisfaction at a rate of more than 95% consistently throughout the crisis. 

We’re competing for attention: we need to do more

The research reveals an interesting challenge around content. Clearly our target users are consuming much more online content in their lives than before COVID – whether it’s days filled with Zoom calls or evenings with webinars and Netflix, it seems like we’re all spending a lot more of our time staring at screens. 

So from a learning perspective, we have to find ways to keep users engaged more often and certainly more effectively if not necessarily engaged for longer. While content is key to this and video is clearly, according to the research, the ‘winning’ medium, I think there are other important factors to consider here. Since COVID we’ve introduced a number of interesting innovations including Zoom integration with our learning platforms and significant improvements to our automation tool, Waves. We also integrated with the folks at Anders Pink to bring content curation into Stream in another way. We’ve been pioneers of content curation through the HT2 journey and Anders Pink is another feather in our curation cap. 

Waves allows us to think in much more intelligent ways about how we deliver content to users as spaced practice, refresher content, and at the point of need. In a world where we’re all competing with the latest TikTok craze, we think this is really important.  

Learning in the flow is about to become a reality

The research from Fosway shows that 84% of people think integration with collaboration platforms is important. We’ve all seen and experienced the shift towards this type of working and the world of learning has a great opportunity here. 

But it’s not easy. To integrate your learning platform with your 365 user experience, you need two things: first, you need a vendor who’s done the work to build the integration in the way we have with our chatbot and; second, you need to convince your IT team to allow that vendor ‘into the room’ in a fairly specific way. IT teams will be rightly concerned that your vendor has the security credentials they need to minimize risks to your business so don’t be frustrated when they ask a bunch of questions and expect a lot of detail in the responses. 

The good news is that integrating learning into the ‘new’ workflow is possible and the results can be fantastic. In our view, this is the single biggest impact you can make in terms of flattening the user experience, making your learning relevant at the moment of need, and increasing the effectiveness of L&D in your business. 

This is not a fad … Welcome to the new normal

95% of people agree that we’re never going back. And the remaining 5%? Well, they’re just wrong. 

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for learning and development to change ways of doing things and increase the value we deliver to businesses and users forever.

We’ve seen this very clearly in the last two weeks with businesses like retail and hospitality, who were in the eye of the COVID storm. Now that they’re slowly emerging from furlough and getting ready for new ways of working, many of our customers have gone straight to their learning teams to help them train their staff around health and safety, adapting to new ways of interacting with customers and prioritizing the wellbeing of their workforce. Many of these businesses are seeing unprecedented levels of usage of their learning platforms as the rush to get people upskilled and back to work as quickly as possible becomes paramount. We’ve helped a number of our customers by rapidly producing new custom content modules to get their teams back quickly and safely.

To help every business successfully navigate the next phase of the post-lockdown reboarding journey we’ve just released a new ‘Future of Work’ library with 27 modules covering ‘Coronavirus Course Essentials’, ‘Taking Care Of Yourself’ and ‘Taking Care Of Business’. We want to do our part to safely kickstart the economy so there’s a free 90-day trial here.

Learning Analytics … the next wave?

It’s always interesting to look at these research projects to see what’s not in them and the stand out ‘omission’ from this report is learning analytics. Sure, it gets a mention but it’s clearly not at the forefront for people although it topped Don Taylors’ Global Sentiment Survey at the start of the year.

But I think this will change. If the reported 71% increased demand turns into sustained high usage, the metrics around return on investment will become more important and, hopefully, something we want to shout more about. Traditional SCORM-type reporting will get us so far, but the phrase “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” seems appropriate here when thinking about how to deliver modern learning analytics at scale and in real-time. We’re seeing spikes in demand for Learning Locker across our customer base and it feels like we’re only getting started.

If you’re new to Learning Analytics, this short video from our Product Manager Ian Blackburn is a pretty good starting point, for those already using analytics and wanting to know more, keep an eye out for a brand new Learning Analytics Maturity model that we’ll share with customers from late July. 

Join the conversation

So that’s my own take on the Fosway research and I’m sure you’ll have your own views and experiences so I’m delighted to announce Fiona Letenay, Senior Analyst at Fosway will be joining us at our next online live event, taking place on July 9th. Please join us to hear a keynote from Fiona, followed by a roundtable chat where we hope to expand on some of these topics and answer as many questions as we can.

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Paul McElvaney
Chief Executive Officer
Paul is Learning Pool’s founder and CEO. Since 2006, he has grown the business from a modest team of 5, to the success story it is today, with 7 sites and almost 200 employees. Paul’s ambitions centre on providing world-class customer care to our 750+ global clients, driving continuous innovation through Learning Pool’s product set and nurturing the talent within his team.
Paul was awarded ‘Director of the Year’, from the Institute of Directors in 2016.
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