To effectively use e-learning tools, companies must understand the technology.
It may seem that the pandemic only hastened the inevitable: technology's domination of the training field. But online learning isn't a monolith; it comprises many different modalities, such as e-learning, webinars, and virtual instructor-led training. And data from ClickMeeting's June 2020 report Webinars and Video Conferencing in Times of the Pandemic reveals a more subtle story.
According to the study, which compares March 2019 to March 2020, the use of webinars specifically for e-learning declined slightly from pre-pandemic rates, whereas the use of webinars for professional training increased. Use of webinars for employee onboarding and training also increased.
ClickMeeting reports a dramatic increase in the use of interactive tools, such as polls, Q&As, and calls to action. Those, coupled with big leaps in the use of presentation features and whiteboards, indicate a more highly produced, interactive webinar experience that stimulates audiences and encourages activity, instead of passive listening and watching. For trainers, that could mean that learners will emerge from pandemic work life with new, higher expectations for webinars' ability to keep them personally engaged.
Companies can use webinars for learning, but they also must learn about the technology so that they use webinars effectively. The report states: "People who have never used webinar platforms before (or worse—any technology at all) need proper guidance—and incredibly fast. This is evidenced by the multiplied number of inquiries addressed to our Customer Success Team."
Ambitious online training designers should keep that in mind. Although the world has abruptly adopted e-meeting technology en masse, that does not mean everyone automatically knows how to use it. Both designers and learners need a thorough understanding of the tools they're using, or they risk derailing online events because of glitches or even "Zoombombing" by malicious visitors who seek to disrupt open online events.
Building those skills will have prolonged benefits. Most respondents reported that they were planning to maintain a higher level of webinar use in the future, even after the pandemic subsides and offices reopen. Online training is here to stay, and there's no time like the present to make sure your organization is up to speed.