The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people are working and learning across the world. A Gartner survey during the early months of the pandemic had revealed that 81% employees were working remotely. It also stated that even post-pandemic, 41% of employees are likely to work remotely at least some of the time.

Despite of such a disruption, companies really can’t afford to give a pause to the learning and development of their employees. A Mckinsey article titled Adapting workplace learning in the time of coronavirus rightly pointed out, “Businesses can’t afford to put capability building on hold. Whether the effort is reskilling at the business-unit level or a company-wide aspirational transformation, companies can’t simply push the pause button on critical workplace learning, even as they move rapidly to put employee safety first.”

In fact, this is the time when capacity building is of utmost importance and bolstering remote learning and training is key to sustainability. As in-person meetings and trainings were cancelled, L&D teams had to adapt to innovative solutions to ensure that online learning for the remote workforce continued.

So, as organizations take to newer learning tools to help sustain employee training during the pandemic, here we explore the top 5 Remote Learning Trends for Employee L&D that emerged during COVID-19:  

1. Virtual or Online Learning

One of the most important developments that happened during the pandemic is that learning moved online. Some organizations where employees were used to in-person sessions tried to convert them into virtual meetings. Employees were engaged through polls and chats, question-and-answer sessions while more engaging visual aids like videos were used to stay connected with participants and to keep the remote learning going. Many L&D teams also found effective ways of remote training by designing programs that are more compatible to be delivered online. They tried to explore platforms that were built to deliver powerful content to users irrespective of their geographic locations. Another oft-used medium was a mix of different methods, like microlearning, virtual sessions and simulations by leveraging technology, to give learners an “in-person” feel.

2. Digital Technologies

Even before COVID, L&D professionals were known to be frontrunners in embracing new technologies. During the pandemic too, L&D teams depended on a host of collaboration tools that enabled them to reach out to learners who could no longer physically gather in a common place. Tried and tested solutions like LMS platforms, OTS courses and online courses were deployed for training. Modern-day LMSs enable instructors to connect with learners and interact in real-time, reach out to a wider learner-base at a lower cost and make the learning process interesting.

3. Mobile Learning & Social Learning

While Mobile Learning has been around for long, L&D teams realized the importance of a strong mobile learning strategy to offer good value to learners during COVID. Businesses increasingly started incorporating mobile devices into their learning mix for boosting employee learning and providing Performance Support. Mobile Learning is known to offer anytime, anywhere, on-the-go and on-demand learning. It empowers learners to schedule the training around their life, as opposed to the other way around. Hence, it proved to be very effective during these times when people had to manage work as well as domestic schedules.

Another key L&D trend that emerged during the pandemic has been bigger emphasis on Social Learning. Social Learning moves away from the traditional learning models and propagates a more real-life approach. During this remote working phase, more and more L&D teams adopted social learning methods as it enabled employees to learn more by focusing on peer interactions for just-in-time learning and skill acquisition.

4. AI-enabled Learning

Through this phase, AI-enabled learning solutions emerged as effective options boosting the delivery of training programs. AI-powered LMS and LXP have been proving to be highly effective in boosting engagement and productivity among employees for some time now. During this time, L&D teams leveraged AI-powered learning solutions to ensure that learners were at the centre of the whole learning experience. These solutions helped by improving employee learning through a more personalized approach, facilitating continuous learning and streamlining learning by plugging informational gaps.

5. Focus on soft skills training

During this pandemic, L&D has increased their focus on soft skills like communication, collaboration, creativity and agile thinking. Since soft skills cannot be imparted in a day, they have to become a routine through experiential learning. L&D has been using technologies like AI, IoT, ML and Gamification to offer their employees a learning experience that upskills them while keeping them engaged during the process.

All through this pandemic situation, L&D teams have been at the forefront to ensure that employees have access to remote learning and training opportunities that will empower them with the skills required to navigate business uncertainty. L&D have been involved in rethinking and deploying novel remote training solutions to ensure that employees continue innovating, learning and growing even during these uncertain times.