Our research suggests eLearning will surge as corporates move training online following recent global events. Andrew Hawkins shares the steps learning providers should take to capitalise on this market opportunity.
“Many companies will use this opportunity to review their strategy and invest in digital transformation” – Geoffroy de Lestrange, Product Marketing and Communication Director EMEA, Cornerstone OnDemand
Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, around one quarter of all corporate training was conducted online and, while this has been increasing steadily, year-on-year, a large proportion of training has remained face-to-face.
New platforms for eLearning
Traditional usage of eLearning has centered around compliance training and content catalogue administration. Buyers cite the ability to deliver and monitor top-down learning rapidly and at scale as the most important feature of eLearning solutions. However, for softer skills training, eg leadership or sales training, eLearning has struggled to gain traction.
Technological innovation has, in recent years, started to expand the types of training that can be effectively delivered online. While the concept of learning experience platforms is not new, key technological advancements, such as mobile platforms, gamification, 3D environments, social learning, data analytics and artificial intelligence are enabling greatly improved user experiences and learning effectiveness.
Unprecedented change for eLearning providers
Key barriers to a greater uptake of eLearning have been end-user acceptance and the lack of a clear return on investment. For the most part, large corporates have been cautious to adopt eLearning, with existing learning-management platforms being retained and innovative solutions being overlaid to solve specific learning gaps. For SMEs the lack of investment case for a customised learning solution has slowed uptake.
“To sell eLearning, you’ve got to become critical, not discretionary. You must prove a measurable impact through increasing sales or reducing costs” – Blended platform and content provider
However, coronavirus has brought an unprecedented challenge to organisations as workforces have had to pivot to retrain and upskill rapidly. For offline trainers, this has driven significant reductions in revenues and the potential of further reductions in demand for an offline-only offering. For eLearning providers, utilisation among existing users during the coronavirus lockdown has peaked, and incoming enquires about new online training solutions and eLearning content has reached record highs.
The need for training will never go away
One thing is clear, the requirement for training is unlikely to reduce. Both consumer and corporate-centric organisations are needing to rethink how goods and services are consumed and delivered. This will bring changes to operating models, channels to market and the training partners and solutions that they select to support this change.
“Could this be the end of globalisation? If so, it will require enormous L&D to enable this…Middle managers need to be completely upskilled, traditional selling and negotiation skills need to adapt to virtual, leadership requires refreshment” – Training provider
Failure to fully understand the changes in clients’ needs and new ways of working is likely to lead to many providers’ solutions becoming out-dated and potentially replaced. Face-to-face providers will need to embrace digital delivery alongside more-traditional forms, while content providers will need to partner with the right platform providers and repurpose content for relevance.
For confident decision making, training and platform providers need an up-to-date understanding of how their customers’ businesses are changing, how training requirements are evolving, and which channels and platforms can best support their value proposition.
Access insights and views from leading executives within eLearning (content and platform) businesses across the UK to understand the wider trends emerging in the sector.