After COVID-19 brought life as we knew it to a screeching halt, we all had to get used to living more of our lives in the digital world. Sure, for some, that meant spending days languishing at the bottom of a Netflix rabbit hole, but we were soon using digital to bring the world to us, even if we couldn’t go to it.
A different learning experience
Going digital doesn’t have to be about simply ‘making do’. In the case of workplace training, digital learning is not a poor substitute for face-to-face training. In fact, it is very much its own thing, characterised by a more ongoing, self-paced experience.
Digital learning places less emphasis on single learning ‘events’ and more on continuous learning that fits smoothly into the workflow. It’s never a ‘one-and-done’ approach either; digital learning incorporates reusable reference materials, just-in-time learning (such as job aids) and ongoing performance support.
Bringing learning to students where they are
Digital learning is more accessible to learners than face-to-face. Learners can read, watch and interact at home, at their desks, on their phones, even on the bus; learning in short, manageable sessions whenever is most convenient.
Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs), such as Learning Pool’s Stream, use both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ experiences. Resources and courses can be assigned to learners who need them or be recommended based on their needs and interests, while search functionality lets them find what they want when they need it.
LXPs make for a more long-term approach to learning. Learning delivered in shorter sessions, spaced out over a period of time, has been shown to be more effective than one-off training sessions. And with more autonomy and control over their own learning, learners can go at their own pace and delve deeper into topics that interest them.
What digital can do that face-to-face can’t
You may think that online learning suffers without the ‘personal touch’ provided by face-to-face training, but digital learning journeys can be tailored and personalized for each learner, either manually or through artificial intelligence. Pre-assessments and confidence tests allow learners to skip over sections they are already familiar with, while personalized assessments can give feedback down to each individual question and then direct learners to their weaker areas based on how they performed.
Learning platform functionality also allows us to connect learners with subject matter experts, trainers, and each other. This is done via social media-style functionality, such as forums and comments sections, allowing learners to discuss topics and share information.
Digital learning also stands out due to the rich mix of media it provides, from interactive quizzes and games, to video and animation, to virtual reality. These tools can be used to create immersive scenarios, giving learners a chance to practice key skills and make mistakes, in a safe space.
The good news is that you don’t have to choose one or the other
Digital and face-to-face learning can complement one another for a rich overall learning experience. Some blended approaches include:
- having learners review online resources beforehand and then using face-to-face sessions for in-depth discussion;
- recording face-to-face sessions and then hosting them on learning platforms for long-term use;
- holding live webinar sessions online, and connecting learners to trainers online for ongoing support.
Whatever approach you use, blending digital and face-to-face learning gives you the best of both worlds.
Get the benefits of going digital
One of the benefits we haven’t discussed is the comparatively lower cost of choosing digital learning, but as we’ve shown, lower cost doesn’t have to mean lower quality or less effective. Consider digital learning as part of your long-term training plan, both to enrich and replace your face-to-face training. If you have questions or want help making your transition to online training a success, get in touch with Learning Pool and we can help you uncover the hidden benefits of going digital.
Rosie has worked in Learning Design for e-learning since 2011. Rosie believes in the power of stories to facilitate learning and loves to bring her creativity to even the driest of content. She is excited to see how learning is being incorporated more and more into people’s normal working lives. She has a regular column in Learning Technologies Awards e-magazine.
Outside of work, Rosie keeps active through swimming and yoga. She also loves to travel more than anything and keeps busy by writing about her trips and planning the next one!