It is not a secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of working life. Handshakes have been replaced by waves over video-chats, important decisions are made from bedrooms instead of offices, and the landscape of interactivity has shifted to be completely virtual. The now-virtual workplace has introduced the concept of eLearning, or online learning, as a means of professional training during the pandemic. Zoom has taken off as the classic means of virtual communication, but professional training often requires more nuanced programming.
An Outline of Virtual Training / eLearning
In the financial services industry, companies and organizations are constantly looking to continue to educate their employees. Lawyers are required to complete a certain amount of Continuing Legal Education Credits (CLEs) and other professionals are to complete a certain amount of Continuing Education Credits, both of which occur through some sort of organized training session with a certified instructor. Whereas programs such as Zoom and Skype are excellent platforms for video conferences and meetings, microlearning and Learning Management Systems (LMS) are best equipped to serve the needs of the professional training community. These types of learning systems allow for a more interactive professional training experience. Unlike a common video conferencing program, these offer benefits such as the ability to pay for training courses, using a companies' own branding during training sessions, screen-sharing and multiple screens, and gamified lessons.
Benefits of Virtual Learning
While a virtual training experience is incomparable with an in-person one, there are many benefits to eLearning. One glaring example is the price; professional training, while a necessity, is expensive for employers. When companies are searching for the best trainers available, they often fly trainers in from across the globe. With virtual training, companies have the unique ability to use whatever trainer they would like, with no added travel expenses. Another benefit to virtual learning is that, with the approval of the company, employees can attend the training when it is convenient for them. Live lessons can be recorded through almost every microlearning and LMS system, lending flexibility to those employees for whom it is impossible to attend the training live.
The Future of eLearning
Much like education, professional training is essential. Training becomes even more essential in industries that are constantly evolving, which is most industries today. Certain areas of concern that require training remain the same as they did prior to the pandemic; these include financial crimes such as money laundering, fraud, and cybercrime. Training in areas such as cyber-security and privacy is more imperative than ever before given the shift of so many files and meetings to be online. Cybersecurity has never been more significant; with all information, even “word-of-mouth” being transferred virtually, protecting one’s own and a companies’ privacy.
While universities continue to grapple with returning students to campuses and offering select in-person classes, they are also offering almost all courses virtually for the unforeseeable future. The same situation applies to professional training; so long as offices are not returning employees to work, professional training will occur virtually, and perhaps will continue to be virtual until it is safe for trainers to travel across borders if need be. The future of professional training is indeed virtual, but the eLearning world is so expansive that certain losses from not having training in-person are made up for by the benefits offered by LMS and microlearning platforms.
By Avigayil Altman