4 ways the pandemic has sparked an L&D revolution

How many times do you think you uttered the words, “you’re on mute” last year? The pandemic shifted how and where we work overnight and organisations had to quickly adapt. For L&D teams this meant two huge shifts: a demand for new training on pandemic procedures and moving face-to-face learning online.

We work closely with L&D teams both in-house and within eLearning agencies on a range of translation and localisation projects. We’ve seen first-hand how the demand for online learning has rocketed this past year. In particular, we’ve seen a rise in video content and in turn subtitle translations.

It’s important to us that we keep up to date with any challenges our clients might be facing. So we reached out to our friends in the L&D sector to see how COVID has changed the industry and how they’re rising to the challenge. Thank you in advance to the brilliant contributors for this post including:


Here are 4 ways the pandemic has sparked an L&D revolution

Enhancing the power of virtual learning

Anyone who has hosted a cross-generation family FaceTime knows that we’re not created tech-savvy equals. But, with the rise in online shopping, video calls and apps to help us learn, meditate or track and trace – we’ve had to rapidly adapt. This has meant that those of us who may have shied away from digital demands in the past are feeling more comfortable with technology.

This is great news for L&D teams. Digital learning is not a new thing but, in the past, some decision-makers have turned down eLearning in favour of in-person training. Now L&D professionals have been able to prove the value of the online learning space, making it much easier to suggest a blended approach in future.

Virtual delivery will continue to be important beyond 2020. This is a new skill set for many L&D professionals and a great opportunity for innovation and business impact. LMSs and LXPs have been well and truly tested this past year and some have been found wanting. Our experts suggest that now is the time to build capability around virtual delivery and ensure the effectiveness of their LMS to stay ahead of the curve.

A tool for culture, not just training 

Did you know that happy employees experience 31% higher productivity? But how do you look after the wellbeing of a remote team?

Dr. Salvatore Baglieri, Head of Learning and Development at Getronics, told us how his team has provided over 5,500 courses to support their global staff. This includes yoga, languages, mental health awareness and even painting. Getronics also created a Kids Zone within the LMS when children weren’t at school. It’s no surprise in a company that specialises in digital solutions that employees were quick to take up these courses. Many of them used the time that would have been spent commuting to pick up a new skill. Getronics also provided a learning plan for the staff on furlough, helping to keep them connected and purposeful.

Getronics aren’t the only business adapting learning for the new normal. Other organisations I spoke to are creating training on dealing with stress and conflict, having more effective meetings, being more productive when WFH and how to be a more agile organisation.

L&D as value creators

With organisations having to quickly transform operations, L&D became more in demand than ever this past year. L&D teams saw not only a rise in workload but also appreciation and understanding of its value within the business. Jack Lockhart, Learning Experience and Performance Manager at PerfectHome, believes this has created a fantastic opportunity for L&D professionals to seize the moment and cement their role as a problem solver and value creator across the business. L&D teams can now make the case to get involved much earlier on, ensuring learning programmes are tied to the organisation’s KPIs and strategic plan.

For example, learning needs can be identified by speaking to the Head of Risk, finding out how the L&D function can support building talent and plugging gaps in high-risk areas through learning. This then allows L&D teams to prove their long-term business impact. If L&D metrics and successes are good, budgets will also be ring fenced.

Engaging a global workforce 

“We’re in it together.” We’ve read it on adverts and heard it on the news throughout 2020. But connecting a globally dispersed team, with varying living/working restrictions, can be difficult at the best of times.

Sometimes we may have been in it together too much. At the beginning of the pandemic, one approach was to over-communicate to ensure we remained connected while working remotely. However, this soon became tiresome and, perhaps inevitably, unsustainable. Russell Pocock, one of the experts I spoke to, said that authenticity is far more important than frequency. However this in itself presents a challenge when needing to communicate with tens of thousands of employees worldwide.

The frequency of training has rocketed this past year. L&D teams developing global learning programmes not only have this increase in demand but a wider variety of learners and nuances between regions. It’s critical that the influx in content is still engaging for its learners – particularly when these include essential directives. Delivering this training in the languages of the workforce is one way to ensure that the message is clear and understood.

Beatrice Ruiz shared an anecdote with us that demonstrates this point. Beatrice taught accounting and budgeting at Boston College and when she taught in English, only half the class passed. But, when she taught in Lat Am Spanish, 95% of the class passed.

Ethan Ohs, another expert I spoke to, reminded us that it’s not just what you say but how you say it. Communicating with teams in a way that motivates, inspires and brings people on a journey with you is essential. “It’s about creating a tribe”.

It’s fair to say that 2021 doesn’t feel too dissimilar to 2020 and it’s likely that the increased demand for L&D will continue into this year. These strange times have offered the perfect opportunity for L&D teams to step up and prove their place as a drivers of culture, productivity, change and inclusivity for organisations. With the world feeling rather gloomy, L&D can play a crucial role in keeping our teams safe, positive and productive. Let’s keep the momentum we picked up in 2020 and continue to grab these opportunities to make work a better place in 2021.

If you need help translating or localising your L&D programmes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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