Deloitte reveals that up to 75% of educators in the world believe that digital solutions will replace paper textbooks by the end of the year 2026.
These predictions shouldn’t come as a surprise. Digital learning has become a widespread and safe solution used by schools, universities, and companies. The digital transformation of education started several years ago, but it was 2020 that considerably accelerated this process, as change had to be introduced literally overnight. Organizations developed solutions that would help their employees improve their skills while working remotely.
Professional development online
According to LinkedIn research, a third of business leaders say that reskilling and upskilling employees is a top priority for 2021. As many as 9 in 10 of workers want their employer to offer more learning opportunities. Organizations and employees need new competences that turn out to be crucial in the digital world. Remote education works well for dispersed teams too and it may come of use as early as at the stage of onboarding of new hires.
Apart from its accessibility, digital learning can provide L&D specialists with significant information concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the current learning management system in a given organization. Online learning ensures immediate access to data about the completed modules, knowledge test results, and employees’ feedback on the online course. What’s more, digital learning platforms enable teams to select the best educational strategy for them, which translates into a significant increase in employee engagement.
Online education – new forms and opportunities
Education is normally associated with books, school desks, and training rooms. Thanks to online learning, it is possible to combine multiple forms of acquiring knowledge which are engaging to the user. This is good news, even more so as different people have different learning styles, which is why there is a need for a versatile array of teaching methods. Hence, remote learning involves texts, recordings, images, diagrams, animations, and videos.
Online education makes it possible to acquire theoretical knowledge in a variety of interesting ways. What does remote learning look in practice? Thanks to learning analytics practices, it is believed that learning through experience increases the quality of retention. Luckily, online learning helps improve practical skills as well. It can take the form of experiments, games, and VR simulations.
Reading a blog post is a form of learning too, just like listening to podcasts, taking part in webinars and online courses or remote university lectures for post-grads. You can learn a foreign language by watching films and listening to songs. Negotiation skills can be honed through simulations and group experiments. Last but not least, you can learn from your own mistakes by testing various scenarios through gamification. The wide scope of opportunities offered by online education tools allows anyone to adapt the learning method to their needs and the material they need to learn.
Microlearning – knowledge in small chunks
Remote education makes it possible to cut knowledge into smaller chunks and distribute it in manageable portions. This approach of microlearning is based on learning by means of short steps. When learning new things, many people experience information overload. This may even end up in them being reluctant to start learning at all, as the process seems so lengthy and painstaking. In microlearning, subjects are divided into small elements, which help learners retain their motivation and manage their learning schedules in an easier way.
Another advantage of microlearning is the possibility of learning at work. Jane McGonigal, a game designer who advocates the use of mobile and digital technologies to improve cooperation around the world, gives a great example of that. She believes that employee development should resemble phone game tutorials. The players are not bombarded with all the rules and functions of the game at once, but they are allowed to perform actions with growing difficulty levels, at the same time receiving hints on how to do that correctly. Similarly, employees should gradually receive more and more guidelines that will help them carry out the subsequent tasks.
Learning anywhere, anytime
If you’ve ever pressed the pause button during an online lecture to take a break, you surely understand the benefits of remote learning. Flexibility is probably the most obvious one. Thanks to remote education, employees have access to knowledge irrespective of time and place. They can choose the best time for them, this way taking advantage of some spare moments in the day, like being stuck in traffic. Combining accessible remote learning with microlearning makes for a flexible tool enhancing the qualifications of employees.
Learning at your own pace is another benefit. In the case of classroom courses, the teacher must make sure that all the participants understand the discussed subject to be able to move on to practical exercises or to a new subject. When it comes to remote learning, this problem disappears, which makes this form of education even more effective. The learners decide when they are ready to go on to the next module. They can also choose to return to the subject which they find unclear.
The potential of remote learning is still growing
Remote education is a chance to look at learning from a completely different perspective. The acquisition of knowledge may be fun and it doesn’t need to take up all of your free time or work time. Such conditions foster the approach of lifelong learning, which has been frequently adopted in organizations these days. In a nutshell, the lifelong learning approach is all about the constant openness to acquiring knowledge and willingness to learn. Being oriented toward a continuous search for inspiration and interesting topics to explore is both a great mental exercise and a large dose of satisfaction.
Switching to remote learning may be a good opportunity to change your beliefs about education. So far, most people have perceived learning as a disagreeable duty. And yet, it turns out that people engaged in online learning can better plan their day, they are more eager to apply their new knowledge in everyday life, and they acknowledge their own impact on self-development. This has been revealed in a study conducted by CEG with AstraZeneca. The study has shown that employees are much more willing to take part in remote modes of learning and that the time they spend on learning increased by 78%.