There won't be a return to “normal” for learning and development teams next year—the COVID-19 pandemic has likely forever changed the balance of where employees work. With an estimated 48% of the workforce staying remote at least part of the time, eLearning will—again—play a big role in 2022.
Over the next year, L&D teams will feel more pressure than ever to create engaging eLearning strategies that drive positive organizational results. At the same time, they’ll face obstacles that make planning their eLearning strategy tough.
A recent survey of 800+ L&D teams by The Ken Blanchard Companies surfaced three noteworthy challenges nearly every L&D team will see in 2022. Some of these challenges are already having a big impact on workplace learning, so your teams need to start making adjustments now.
To help you stay ahead of these obstacles, we examined the survey data and developed some recommendations.
The first and biggest obstacle the survey identified is that employees are feeling overloaded and believe they’re too busy with day-to-day tasks to carve out time to attend training. According to a study in late 2020, 68% of employees who transitioned to remote work are working weekends, and 45% are working more than eight hours a day.
This barrier makes it tough for L&D to make learning a priority inside their organization. When employees don’t feel like they have time to learn, they may withdraw from courses at a higher rate. They’re also more likely to try multi-tasking while training, which can have a detrimental effect on learning.
Equipping employees with ways to find more time to learn can make them happier and stay with your company longer. In a LinkedIn report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it spent more time helping them learn.
Here’s what you can do to make learning feel less like additional work:
Develop microlearning courses
Microlearning—self-paced, bite-sized eLearning courses—are more flexible for learners. Learners enjoy microlearning because they’re not spending hours in a classroom and there’s no need for them to rearrange their schedules.
Employees are more than willing to take the leap into microlearning. In one survey, 58% of employees said they would be more likely to use their LMS if courses were broken up into several five- to seven-minute lessons.
As a starting point, create a few short eLearning courses that are three to five minutes long and focus on a single subject like completing a task or honing a specific skill. For example, you can make the introductory portion of your employee onboarding available through a mobile course.
Add ways for employees to learn inside their workflow
Move away from the mindset that learning happens away from work by incorporating more opportunities to learn in the flow of work. Embedding training inside your employees’ workflow minimizes the need for employees to desert their daily tasks to learn.
One way to get started with learning in the flow of work is by developing peer-to-peer learning opportunities like lunch-and-learns or skillshares where anyone can share their knowledge. These events are more casual than classroom learning and allow employees to learn new things from each other.
Related: How We Use Peer Learning to Keep Our Company’s Competitive Edge
The second obstacle L&D teams face is a lessened sense of connection, which is happening because pandemic fatigue is in full swing. Work relationships are getting weaker because of hybrid and remote work—37% of team members feel less connected to one another.
Teams are spending less time together, and the feeling of being part of a team is waning. This disconnect is leading to a reduced sense of community and belonging. In addition, remote workers are becoming more siloed, which makes it harder for employees to gain and share information across your organization.
Improving your employees’ sense of connection is critical for your organization’s success. When employees feel less connected, the probability of burnout increases eleven times and they are six times more likely to leave within three years.
Here’s what you can do to improve that feeling of connection:
Add Collaborative Learning opportunities to your eLearning strategy
Collaborative Learning is when employees learn together by interacting with other students and instructors. This type of learning gives employees the chance to learn from others, which can help them regain that sense of connection.
Collaborative Learning is most effective when conducted both asynchronously and synchronously. By allowing employees to select when and where they can take classes, asynchronous learning gives employees more flexibility.
Traditionally, synchronous training occurs through live or virtual instructor-led courses, but you can decentralize the role of the instructor by encouraging peer-to-peer learning. Consider making learning a collaborative effort by adding interactive training sessions, like peer-to-peer workshops.
Another way to make learning more collaborative is through online breakout rooms. By breaking up lecture-based presentations with interactive activities, these rooms facilitate engagement and foster a sense of belonging by letting learners participate in their training.
The third and final obstacle is an unfortunate result of the mad scramble L&D embarked on to convert instructor-led training to eLearning over the last two years. Unfortunately, those conversions happened hastily and without a strategy for maintaining quality, and now L&D teams aren’t pleased with the eLearning courses they’ve produced.
Many of these converted eLearning courses weren’t designed specifically for virtual learning, contributing to the decreased engagement. More than half (53%) believe their virtual and digital offerings are less effective than face-to-face versions— which is 2% higher than in 2020—and 59% of respondents said their training needs to be more engaging.
Another way to make your eLearning more collaborative is through online breakout rooms. By breaking up lecture-based presentations with interactive activities, these rooms facilitate engagement and foster a sense of belonging by letting learners participate in their training.
Here’s what you can do to boost engagement:
Add mobile learning options
Mobile learning is effective because it’s flexible and gives you multiple ways to engage your learners. It’s also an excellent avenue for creating more interactive types of learning, which is proven to enhance engagement, reduce the feeling of isolation, and improve motivation.
With the right eLearning software, you’ll be in better shape to tackle the challenges L&D teams are facing. If your learning management system is outdated and can’t present coursework in ways that are engaging to your employees, your employees will start tuning out—if they haven’t already. Modern learning management systems have plenty of features that can assist with these challenges, including sending learners automated notifications and built-in mobile learning capabilities.
Interested in seeing how 360Learning can help you keep your remote learners engaged? Grab a free demo, below!