COVID-19 is changing the way people learn across the U.S. and around the world. As throngs of employees and citizens follow stay-at home or “safer at home” measures, corporate training companies are quickly adjusting to deliver essential learning while minimizing or eliminating personal contact. Videos and virtual platforms, for example, have become the norm interpersonal interaction in just a few short weeks. 

While today’s ways of learning won’t be the only way to learn in the future, this period of experimentation and collaborative creativity will likely shape some lasting changes. Here are six actions for training companies and corporate learning and development leaders can take to adapt the way they deliver and manage learning in the age of the novel coronavirus (and beyond).

#1. Prioritize Urgent COVID-19 Content

For professionals and companies on the front lines during the pandemic (health care workers, emergency responders, food delivery personnel, grocery store employees, maintenance workers, truck drivers and many more), the ability to deliver products and services safely is priority one. Any training related to delivering these essential products and services safely is essential for these workers, too.

If you’re a training company with ready content, be sure your clients and customers know what you have available that can help. Avilar content partner ej4, for example, provided these videos on preparing for and managing through the coronavirus and a pandemic, free to all as a public service. 

Training companies and corporate learning teams are also quickly distributing, building, and publishing training on personal protective equipment (PPE), safe food handling, social distancing protocols, and other knowledge and behaviors people need to know to do their work safely. As government, industry, and company guidelines change, the learning content may need to be updated, as well. 

#2. Embrace Multiple Learning Modalities

According to 2018 “What Learners Want” research from Training Industry, 55% of learners prefer instructor-led training. But virtual instructor-led training, eLearning, and videos also ranked in the top five preferred training modalities. The study also found that offering course content in multiple formats improves overall training success.

With the increasing popularity of Zoom, Teams, WebEx and other virtual meeting applications, most people are relatively comfortable in virtual classroom settings. Moving your instructor-led classes to all-online is a natural step to serve clients and customers. A mix of live instructor-led sessions, recorded video, online “office hours,” and asynchronous interactive exercises can work together to build desired knowledge and skills. 

#3. Offer Compliance and Certification Training

Companies and professionals that are NOT on the front lines may be looking for training tools. This “down” time may be the perfect time for clients and customers to build new skills.

Work with your clients to discover whether now is a good time to launch compliance training or certification training programs. Are there professional development opportunities that will strengthen individuals and organizations? Working with employers to keep their workforce focused on important development initiatives can not only boost needed skills but employee engagement as well. 

#4. Harness the Best of Instructional Design

The shift to remote work creates opportunities to revisit the best of instructional design for remote classes. Especially when moving classroom courses to online delivery, be intentional about engaging learners and making the content effective. 

  • Video cameras, rather than avatars, encourage learner connections and conversations.
  • Newer technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality can enhance virtual meeting spaces for collaborative learning.
  • Recorded training sessions that combine instructor presentation with interactive online quizzes, polls, and practice exercises make content more memorable. 
  • Short bursts of learning, or microlearning segments of five to ten minutes, can be particularly engaging and effective for employees and customers who have smaller segments of time available for learning or who need specific answers to defined questions.
  • Guest lecturers can still join your class via virtual learning or conferencing platforms. If your experts usually join you in person to help evaluate learners’ progress, arrange 1:1 or small-group virtual sessions to preserve the benefits of more personal attention. 

#5. Utilize Learning Management Technologies

Just as companies are ramping up their documentation and oversight of work from home, to ensure that employees have what they need to be productive, there’s a desire for the same with virtual training and e-learning. 

Use a learning management system like Avilar’s WebMentor™ LMS to measure and document what customers and employees are learning. Online quizzes and tests show what participants learn and where there are knowledge gaps. Some interactive tests can directly measure skills. So can videos that participants upload to demonstrate their proficiency to instructors or other experts who can evaluate them. Create custom certifications with your LMS to document each learner’s proficiency with essential skills. 

#6. Amp Up Your Corporate Training Consulting Services

While access to your training center may be restricted, offer your expertise to businesses and government organizations faced with re-thinking or re-working the learning and development plans for their organizations. With your subject matter experts, instructional designers, coaches and/or business consultants, assist clients with outlining the custom training, professional development, coaching, organizational development and/or business consulting solutions that address their needs. 

The pandemic has created immediate training needs, but, as ATD points out, “they shouldn’t be considered one-and-done solutions.” COVID-19 will likely result in multiple permanent changes, including in the corporate training world. Now is the time to be creative and collaborative, to craft lasting relationships and learning improvements that will guide us all through and beyond the pandemic. 

If your training company or business is ready to learn how learning management systems can help you deliver and manage your learning, read Does Your LMS Need a Makeover? Keeping Up with the Modern Learner to get started. Or contact us to discuss how Avilar’s WebMentor™ LMS can flexibly support your training program. 

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