You want to get more out of the blended virtual/in-person learning model — reducing cost, increasing delivery capability and growing learner adoption. But is the extended enterprise ready for this change?
There’s still a heavy reliance on service networks to have some form of in-person hands-on training. The transition to a blended learning model with a majority reliance on virtual learning and eLearning will continue in an evolutionary state for some time.
While management often sees the immediate cost benefits of virtual course delivery and blended virtual/in-person approaches, there seems to be no substitute for hands-on. The pace of change will be slower than expected. Why is this?
Challenges to Virtual Learning
If we look back to the early days of COVID-19, it was clear that instructor-led learning wasn’t feasible. Organizations had to shut down training facilities and completely change their training modalities. In-person instruction moved to technologies such as Zoom to fabricate an alternative to the hands-on learning students had come to know. Over time some of these approaches even matched or improved the experience students had.
However, as this new virtual space for learning was being created, the virtual learning environment presented a new delivery challenge. Organizations simply couldn’t take the same thing they did in a classroom and expect it to work online. Moreover, there had to be improvements in the virtual delivery technology and online facilities the instructors used. Simply, It had to be more detailed and engaging.
A New Discipline of Online Learning
Today, we’re seeing a new discipline of online learning design through the virtual learning environment. Integration with virtual services is the baseline, the addition of advanced camera usage with multiple viewpoints, providing broad, medium and detail views is the expectation. Technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, formerly seen as too expensive and extreme, are now becoming broadly available and are being factored into this new design approach and discipline.
While we see a return to hands-on learning coming out of COVID, the business pressures to deliver more efficiently and cost-effectively aren’t going away, especially in the current economic environment. What we expect to see from those technologies and where leaders are now is a significant shift in the next three to five years to deliver a virtual training experience that parallels the current in-person training.
For now, service and partner-based training organizations are taking the blended learning lessons learned during COVID and are continuing to refine and improve their delivery. They are moving from 3-4 days for in-person training and reducing that to 1-2 days, supported by eLearning or virtual training classes developed using this new learning discipline. This approach helps reduce costs for the parent company, and minimizes lost productivity experienced by the service network member organizations and their employees.
The idea of virtual classrooms may seem fairly benign, but having a simple link to Zoom or Teams that’s integrated into your platform to make scheduling easy is vitally important. LatitudeLearning supports the majority of these modalities, with new ones still emerging.
In reality, the value of a robust blended learning delivery model is critical for any training operation that services the extended enterprise. Being able to effectively manage and deliver a broad spectrum of current and emerging learning modalities is vital.
How an organization weaves its course offerings together in the most efficient model is based on its adoption of new technologies and its commitment and approach to this new learning design discipline. In the end, it needs to be straightforward and easy to consume.
LatitudeLearning is setting the stage for extended enterprise training organizations to be able to deliver on that model as they evolve.
Is Mobile-Based LMS Truly For Everyone?
The answer: No. At least not at this time. As we ponder a future of virtual training modalities, a mobile application for an LMS may make sense and at LatitudeLearning, we have talked to our customers extensively on this subject to get their input.
The verdict thus far is two-phased: On one hand, they would value the ease and accessibility of a mobile-based LMS. A mobile app would be useful for taking e-learning content that’s actually structured for the device. It’s also enticing to have the ability to download content and learn at your own leisure offline whenever the timing is good.
On the other hand, it may be substantially longer to experience an evolution on a mobile-based LMS that’s practical.
For example, a U.S. auto manufacturer has up to 500 active courses, with the average cost for developing one course running between $50,000 and $100,000. Considering that expense, how fast can they hope to evolve to new technology?
They’d like that evolution to happen at some point and be able to utilize it in the future. Still, they also recognize that not all e-learning content is created equal and doesn’t necessarily translate well to the mobile environment. So, as we study this avenue, we will only focus on things that can be delivered.
No matter what, we’ve approached the topic of releasing a mobile application in conjunction with the LatitudeLearning LMS with the utmost sensitivity, listening intently to our customers and not necessarily following the rest of the herd who says our company should dive into a certain approach.
Investing for the Future Today
LatitudeLearning is striking a balance between how much we are investing in advance of where the market is ready to go and how much we’re waiting for the market to get there before we make that investment. We’re confident in this approach and will adapt as our customers’ needs evolve.
Our position is that we will be bringing our first-generation mobile application online by the end of 2023, as advancements in content and delivery mechanisms allow us to support more legacy content on mobile devices.
The best way to stay informed about this exciting new application and any migration trends toward cloud-based LMS is to subscribe to the LatitudeLearning blog.