Indeed, digital learning is being increasingly adopted by a variety of businesses. According to a recent Cegos Barometer survey, 46% of employees now use digital training as part of their professional development. That’s an increase of 10% since the previous year.
And it’s not just purely online that digital plays a part. In a recent benchmark report, Towards Maturity – an organisation that promotes innovation in learning – single out the top 10% of organisations that excel in “six areas of action that L&D professionals can implement”; namely – “defining need, understanding learners, work context, building capability, ensuring engagement and demonstrating value”. Of these ‘Top Deck’ organisations, 45% “incorporate technology into face-to-face training, compared with 21% of other firms.”
For those who are still making the move from traditional classroom learning models, navigating the range of options and modes available can be overwhelming. In this blog, we’ve simplified everything to show you exactly how digital learning works, so you can decide on the best options for your business when creating your digital learning strategy.
- E-learning Most e-learning is delivered as online modules. These generally consist of reading material (typically in PDF format), slides, videos and audios. Learners can interact with modules by responding to quizzes, multiple choice activities or other means. In some cases, assignments can be set and assessed by tutors, so there is an element of personal feedback involved. Many training providers offer off-the-shelf modules on a variety of subjects, such as leadership and management. Larger organisations may opt to have modules designed for them, especially if training is specialised or technical. The beauty of e-learning is that it is easily scalable. In traditional classroom training, class sizes are limited, whereas with digital training, you can involve as many learners as you like. What’s more, they can take part in the training anywhere or at any time, so it is a very flexible and cost-effective model.
- Virtual Classroom E-learning modules are great for conveying fact-based information, but there is usually little opportunity for direct interaction, such as the ability for a learner to ask questions at any given point. The virtual classroom is an online platform whereby the trainer delivers a live tutorial to all their students who are logged in at the same time. Resources are shared live, too, with the option to download, but the plus-point is that students can comment on material, share knowledge and ask questions – just as if they are in a real classroom environment. We have a separate blog on the Virtual Classroom, which you can read here.
- Social Learning Sharing knowledge and experiences is as much a part of the learning process as following a tutorial. In that sense, the plethora of social media platforms lends itself to digital learning, as well as making the process more engaging. Many digital learning providers incorporate social media, such as Facebook Groups, Twitter Hashtags and discussion forums, to enable learners to share in the experience, just as they would in a classroom. There are also opportunities for collaboration, as documents and projects can be added to and revised by a number of people in one setting. Of course, the group don’t actually have to be physically in one place – they can be anywhere in the world!
As technology continues to develop, the opportunities and usability of digital learning will only increase. Advances in Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence offer an exciting glimpse of the future, and will make the digital experience more real and natural in the process.
There are plenty of organisations who can help you implement your digital learning strategy. And a number of useful events take place throughout the year, where you can get a lowdown on the latest innovations. Learning Technologies, in London, is one of the most popular and now in it’s 17th year.
One thing is for sure. Those who embrace digital learning today will be well positioned to take advantage of future developments, as well as in the here and now.