Virtual learning: Coping with Covid-19

Uma GaneshUma Ganesh | March 23, 2020 | 3 Minute Read

Virtual learning in the early days of its introduction was within the boundary of predefined content and was a lonely affair with neither the tutor nor peers being part of the individual’s learning journey.

Working form home thanks to the Internet is not a new phenomenon for many people however, remote learning which has been prevalent for a long time, has not taken centre stage so far.

Covid-19 and the associated health concerns have turned the world upside down. All nations and people are experiencing similar challenges of shielding themselves against the potential infection and as a result large numbers of people have been forced to stay indoors or work from home. Recognising that these are unprecedented times calling for extraordinary steps, schools and colleges have embraced digital learning to ensure the academic calendar and the learning requirements of students are not compromised. 

Corporate sector also has on a very large scale adopted work from home approach with the help of a variety of digital tools. Working form home thanks to the Internet is not a new phenomenon for many people however, remote learning which has been prevalent for a long time, has not taken centre stage so far. Covid 19 presents with the unique opportunity that could possibly be the turning point for adoption rates in remote learning.

Virtual learning in the early days of its introduction was within the boundary of predefined content and was a lonely affair with neither the tutor nor peers being part of the individual’s learning journey. Over the years, not only the learning platforms have become more learner friendly, content has become byte sized as well as compelling, appealing to the millennial mindset and it has also become feasible to simulate the classroom environment with real time interactions with co learners, tutors and AI supported bots.

This is absolutely the right time for L&D managers and business heads to rejuvenate the skill development process making their talent more effective and capable of delivering in demanding situations. Armed with mobile apps and just-in-time appropriate content, sales or technical staff could be motivated to access mentors and knowledge repository as required via the learning platforms such as Skills Alpha. Despite presenting with the ideal content and tools, it has been a challenge for HR managers to justify the investment in technology led learning as the access rates and course completion rates have been far from satisfactory in most cases.

The challenging business environment and the compulsion to rethink the business models coupled with the realisation that digital way of life and work are taking over the traditional approaches to work without a warning, Covid 19 has sounded the wake up call to both employees as well as HR heads. It is not just the lowering of costs but the need for keeping people safe and reducing associated risk that has made digital learning an attractive proposition.

With truncated travel and in person training sessions being cancelled for some time, companies are realising that capability building cannot be ignored for a long period of time. Hence there is a genuine interest from HR managers to redesign the learning programs with digital components and discover new learning experiences.

Further, in the subdued economy, in order to remain relevant and continue to be employable, current employees would be willing to acquire new learning and skills as required by the businesses and therefore HR managers should be able to proliferate digital learning across the board.

In the emerging economic scenario, while talent would continue to be the true asset for any business, businesses would value that talent which is agile and willing to adapt rather than the talent which has remained stagnant and has failed to evolve with the times. The compulsions around Covid19 are throwing up new avenues to seamlessly communicate in remote locations and this is the right time to launch a fresh innings with digital learning.

Originally appeared in Financial Express