Research shows L&D is embracing online training for the long haul.
The workplace continues to change rapidly. While the trend toward online learning and training may have seemed like a necessity of the pandemic, research from Executive Networks and NovoEd shows it will only become more prevalent in the next few years.
According to the research, in 2022, 83 percent of 515 surveyed learning leaders said the shift to a hybrid environment forced companies to rethink how they handle corporate learning. Now instead of teaching in a room full of people, online learning has become a necessity. And that's why 59 percent of the surveyed learning leaders believe traditional in-person learning will end.
"The expectation that online and hybrid learning would be a temporary fix during the pandemic changed as hybrid and remote work became a permanent part of the business landscape," says Jeanne Meister, executive vice president of Executive Networks. "The corporate university is no longer a physical space. Learning and development needs to happen where work takes place, and learning leaders must place a greater focus on creating blended learning experiences that mirror hybrid work models."
The research also shows a potential uptick in blended learning over the next two years. In 2022, nine of 10 organizations targeted learning toward full-time employees. Respondents said they expect that number to drop to six in 10 by 2025.
That is partly due to what the L&D audience will look like in the near future. Instead of only including full-time employees, that audience will expand to include customers, external stakeholders, contractors, gig workers, freelancers, and service providers.
"Learning leaders are preparing for profound changes as they redesign corporate learning with new delivery methods and rethink how to meet the needs of new audiences," says NovoEd Chief Marketing Officer Christina Yu. "The pivot to online learning and the availability of a greater range of technology and tools that can be integrated into learning initiatives, such as social and collaborative learning platforms, make it easier for real-time interaction between cohorts, experts, and mentors."
Adaptation remains the name of the game for business leaders, who now have to contend with repurposing facilities once used for traditional in-person L&D.