Learning & Development

Why Learning and Development Will Be Better in a Post-Pandemic World

Overnight, most organizations had to completely change how they developed and delivered their training experiences in response to COVID-19. The learning and development (L&D) industry wasn’t known for its agility. Courses often took weeks to develop, and it took months to ensure each employee was able to attend lengthy training sessions in white-walled conference rooms.


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It’s why L&D was one of the hardest-hit industries at the onset of the pandemic. McKinsey says roughly half of in-person programs in North America and close to 100% of learning activities in Asia and Europe from March to June 2020 were postponed or canceled.

Not only did COVID-19 force L&D teams to digitize entire courses and programs, but it also meant optimizing workflows to accommodate a more agile future. Here’s what those responsible for L&D must do to keep up with this new reality:

1. Create an Optimal Learning Environment

With COVID-19 restrictions varying by region, organizations need a learning system that can easily adapt to in-person, hybrid, and remote working environments as they roll courses out in a timely manner. This new learning method also needs to be highly engaging, with high retention rates that deliver return on investment.

One of the best ways to ensure your learners accomplish this is by making it as quick and convenient as possible.

As 80% of the workforce comprises deskless workers, mobile learning is quickly becoming the most accessible way to get training out to those in the field who are working remotely or in a hybrid environment. Mobile learning enables teams to easily complete lessons on the go, whenever and wherever is convenient for them.

Deloitte’s use of mobile microlearning in its blended learning strategy is a great example of this. With restrictions varying in each market, Deloitte used mobile deployment to share its COVID-19 awareness “Return to the Workplace” course with its hybrid remote and in-person teams. With learners able to complete lessons in less than 5 minutes, the company achieved a 100% completion rate across 10,500+ Deloitte Australia employees.

2. Fight the Forgetting Curve

Studies have shown that human memory can only hold up to five new pieces of information before they get lost or overwritten. This typical “forgetting curve” means that learners tend to forget more than 50% of new learnings within 20 minutes after the lesson—and that decreases to 25% knowledge retention in a month’s time if no revision or repeat learning takes place.

By deploying bitesize concepts that can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, microlearning results in learner engagement rates of up to 90%. It also means that the learned content has a better chance of being stored in long-term memory and that learners can start to slowly apply their knowledge in practical situations. Because the content is short and snappy, it also reduces development costs by about half and increases the speed of development by 300%.

3. Ensure L&D Works for All Employees

When employees understand and accept the “why,” they are more likely to be productive when tasked with learning interventions. Be deliberate in understanding your team, their preferences, and how you communicate any new learning interventions.

This will enable your L&D team to achieve greater completion rates with less follow-up required, as your employees will see the value it adds to their current and future roles.

Australian pharmacy retailer Bloom’s The Chemist needed flexible training that would accommodate its rapid hiring needs at the onset of the pandemic. By employing mobile learning, Bloom’s 1,500+ employees were able to complete training on their mobile phones whenever they had 5 minutes to spare. Managers were able to send notifications to employees who had not done the training, improving completion rates without compromising employee health, safety, or compliance.

There are many lessons as the L&D industry continues to make learning more agile and dynamic than ever before. Experiences must be learner-led and learner-focused. By creating the best-possible learning environment, delivering engaging content, and ensuring that new and existing courses are created with your teams in mind, the future of workplace learning will continue on this new path of agility and blended learning experiences.

Darren Winterford is CEO at EdApp, an all-in-one learning platform that’s built for mobile. EdApp is currently running The Mobile Training Challenge, whereby the company will convert existing training in any format into mobile-friendly courses in less than 24 hours. Learn more at edapp.com/mobile-training-challenge.

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