Training after COVID-19: three key changes that are here to stay

The pandemic has raised many questions about the future of work. As business begin to navigate their way out of lockdown, they are facing new obstacles operationally and new ways of working. With all of these changes afoot, it is clear that training will be more important than ever.

COVID-19 undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for access to quality workplace education and training around the world. Last year, we saw a major push to retrain and reskill the global workforce in the face of pandemic disruption and new government guidelines.

Overnight, most organisations had to completely change how they developed and delivered their training experiences. Before March 2020, company training was not known to be agile, fast-moving, or highly reactive. Overly-complex and uninspiring training content often resulted in  employees taking weeks or months to complete courses - if at all - and trying to get employees to attend an hour-long training session in a white-walled conference room required scheduling long in advance.

Not only did COVID-19 force startups to digitise entire courses and programmes, but it also meant they optimised workflows to accommodate a more agile future in training. These changes mark an exciting shift in workplace training.

Here’s how your team can keep up with this new reality:

1) Make training accessible anytime, anywhere

As we slowly transition into a post-COVID world, businesses need an asynchronous training system that can easily adapt to in-person, hybrid, and remote working environments in order to roll out vital training in a timely manner.

One of the best ways to ensure that your employees complete their training is by making it as convenient to access as possible through a mobile training platform.

Regardless of whether your employees are working remotely or in a hybrid work environment, mobile training provides your team with the flexibility to easily complete lessons on the go, whenever and wherever works best for them. They can complete their training when they’re waiting for a meeting to start, on their lunch break, or even while commuting.

As a result, mobile training has a higher engagement, retention, and completion rate, as employees have more control over when they complete it.

2) Fight the forgetting curve

Studies have shown that human memory can only hold up to five new pieces of information before information gets lost or overwritten. This typical 'forgetting curve' means that employees are likely to forget more than 50% of their training within 20 minutes after the session - and that percentage further decreases to 25% after a month if there was no revision or repeated training in that time period.

Microlearning addresses this by breaking content into small chunks that are easy to digest. Bite-sized training concepts can be completed in as little as 5 minutes, and the training has a better chance of being stored in long-term memory, enabling employees to start slowly applying their knowledge in practical situations. Microlearning results in employee engagement rates of up to 90% and, as the content is short and snappy, it also reduces development costs by about half and increases the speed of development by 300%.

3) Ensure training works for all employees

The main reason many employees groan and complain about having to complete training is that, in the past, it’s been branded as a long, boring event that isn’t relevant to their daily tasks. It’s a pass/fail compliance measure that workers need to tick so they aren’t being chased up by their manager.

As your employees are the ones regularly encountering problems and roadblocks preventing them from doing the best job they can, you need to make sure that the training you’re offering actually helps them solve the problems they face on a daily basis. It’s no longer acceptable to have the mindset of ‘build it and they will come’ - they won’t come. They’re busy working. So, you have to make it worth their while.

When employees understand and accept the ‘why’, and that the training offered will actually save them time problem-solving down the track, they are more likely to be productive when they’re tasked with training. This will enable your business to achieve greater completion rates with less follow-up required, as your employees will see the value that the training adds to their current and future roles.

There are many more lessons we can uncover as training becomes more agile and dynamic than ever before. But, central to each of these new training methodologies is making the remote, hybrid, or dispersed training experience employee-led and employee-focused.

By creating an optimal training environment, delivering engaging training, and ensuring that your new and existing training material is created with your teams in mind, the future of workplace training will continue on this new path of agility.

Darren Winterford is presenting at Rewrite the Playbook on Thursday 29th April. The free virtual summit will address how training has evolved since the pandemic and the future of training.

Register today to confirm your place and get more tips from keynote speakers, including Netflix’s former Chief of Talent Patty McCord, former Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger, and NBA all-star Magic Johnson.