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  • Aruna K

Here's How Zoom Revived The Digital Learning Industry, And Where To Go Next

When it comes to a global pandemic, it is hard to look at the bright side.

However, that's precisely what we must do to move forward as a collective. The economic impact on offline learning has been harsh in the post-pandemic world. We saw rapid adoption of Zoom as the platform of choice for everything from virtual schooling to virtual after-hours.

If you signed up for at least twenty webinars in 2020, you're not alone. We all did that.

But, Zoom fatigue set in quickly. The idea that we need to show up at a certain time to listen to something we want to know more about isn't too hard to comprehend. What is, though, is the fact that we have screaming children, pets that need walks, and cooking to do at home. The time zone differences don't help.

With these many deterrents to live online learning, the next logical solution is Digital Learning. And for reviving interest in Digital Learning, we have Zoom fatigue to thank.

Speaking of deterrents to learning, we often forget the cultural and generational contexts. Not everyone is learning the same way. Some people actually get on calls with random strangers to spend an hour being held (virtually) accountable for their work.

A standard learning need that worked even a couple of years ago is set to fail in today's diverse world of workers.

L&D for generationally diverse workforces is the need of the hour

One of the most significant issues L&D design needs to address with urgency is designing content to cater to Gen Z. While L&D methods are well-entrenched for Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, each generation shaping and evolving them in their own way, Gen Z being born to the digital revolution presents different challenges and a unique opportunity.

LinkedIn’s 2018 survey of L&D, HR as well as GenZers presented interesting results.

76% of Gen Z employees thought that the skills needed to succeed in today’s work universe are quite different from those needed by previous generations of the workforce, and this was supported by 91% of HR and L&D professionals. The top three reasons why Gen Z put emphasis on learning new skills were-

  • 62% - for getting better at their job

  • 59%- earning more money

  • 46%- getting a promotion/ advancing in their careers.

From an employer’s perspective, as more and more Gen Zers enter the workforce, they will need to come up with interesting learning modules to appeal to this unique tech-savvy generation.

Fancy videos and trends won't cut it- what they demand is the ability to learn in a multitude of formats, to get their job done.

Some of the criteria that Gen Z listed are desirable in L&D are:

  • Flexibility/ the ability to learn on their own time, at a pace they are comfortable with

  • A self-directed, independent approach to learning

  • Having the time available to learn new skills was important to 58% of the surveyed Gen Z members

The finding that only a meager 20% of employers had considered or planned to provide Gen Z employees with this level of customized training suggests that their recruitment and retention will be fraught with more, and different challenges.

Keeping a budget aside for continuing L&D training is important in the long run. A portion of your company profits must be laid aside for L&D, making educated predictions, in turn, to assess how the L&D effort will provide a return on investment.

But planning in advance can tide you over unforeseen situations.

Experts suggest diverting between one and five percent of your salary spend into your training budget.

These are some steps you can take to make realistic assessments of your training budgetary needs:

  • Survey your employees to get a feel for what they want to learn and the platforms as well as tools they would need for effective training. Explain how the training aligns with company strategies and goals and how it will shape their roles to contribute to the same.

  • Work in salaries and raises overheads, and other expenses that will accumulate over a specific time period.

  • Choose eLearning courses that have a built-in language component to cater to the various countries where you have a presence and will need to deploy this training module.

  • Partner with an industry expert in L&D who has years of experience and has kept up and even contributed to industry standards in the field.

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