Before 2020, a digital revolution was happening across every industry, but following the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on businesses, it can be said that this digital revolution has accelerated.
With many businesses now working from home, a flexible working structure being called for, and less face-to-face contact between colleagues and peers, digital work practices have now become a necessity. But converting to digital has often been perceived as time-consuming, costly and irrelevant. And though businesses are now recognising it is very much relevant, it is still a daunting prospect.
We spoke to our Chief Learning Officer, Sarah Baker, to understand what the benefits of digital transformation are for your learners and their future success.
‘Digital technologies are fundamentally changing society,’ says Sarah, ‘and, increasingly, there isn’t really a choice for businesses about going digital – you either do it or you fail.’ Individual employees may have multiple careers, rather than just one, and it’s important for employers to respond to that. ‘You’ll have people coming in straight from school or from twenty years in another job, and they all need to be able to work digitally,’ adds Sarah. ‘Your organisation needs to be prepared to give them those skills, as well as having a culture of using digital tools to work effectively.’
‘It doesn’t matter how old your learners are, or how often they use technology – in the future, they will all need some digital skills to be able to work in any industry,’ Sarah says. New technologies have disrupted how people learn, making traditional learning styles redundant and opening up new possibilities of multi-media, peer-to-peer and self-directed learning. Sarah notes, ‘By equipping your employees with digital skills, you’re preparing your business for future success; the requirement for these abilities is only going to increase, whether that’s hosting video conferencing calls or managing automated manufacturing.
‘This has become more apparent throughout the pandemic,’ explains Sarah, ‘as more learners have had more exposure to digital learning.’ She identifies the ‘lifestyle gains’ that a digital style provides as the main reason for the appeal. ‘They have really enjoyed and embraced the flexibility that digital learning provides. They no longer have to give up a big chunk of time to learn, instead they can fit it into their schedule, access it at any time or place and, significantly, work at their own pace.’
Sarah highlights digital delivery as an important way to help learners overcome their personal learning difficulties. ‘One of the key benefits of learning and being assessed online is learners feel less ‘exposed’ when it comes to asking questions, presenting reports or discussing ideas.’ Whether it’s shyness, a specific behavioural issue or an aversion to public speaking, e-learning can boost a learner’s confidence in soft skills as they can practise online before trying them out in ‘real life’.
Online learning and face-to-face training work well together, with digital learning proving an effective tool both before and after face-to-face training. Sarah explains, ‘Digital learning can be used to help bring the learners up to the same level before the in-person sessions, which allows the trainer to focus on the practical elements, and then can also be used to help embed the new knowledge, skills and behaviours.’ There has also been a shift in learners’ wants. ‘Learners are crying out for a blended approach,’ says Sarah. ‘Digital learning not only reduces time spent in face-to-face sessions, but with technologies such as Zoom, these sessions can be carried out virtually, removing the need for complications such as travel.’
If you would like to find out more about how you can transform your learning programmes into digital solutions, virtual college have an extensive range of ready-to-go training solutions, you can find out more about or if you would like to move your face-to-face training to a digital format take a look at our bespoke training solutions.