We queried customers in the summer to see how much online training they expected to deliver after the pandemic ends. It was a small sample size, but nearly 80% of respondents said they plan to continue delivering at least somewhat more training compared to pre-pandemic levels. We would not be surprised if that percentage has crept up further in the short time since. That’s because we don’t think in-person training will return to anywhere its former levels.
Three indicators point to less in-person training after the pandemic:
- Though it is taking some getting used to, corporate trainers are finding they can deliver courses online just as easily as in-person. Forbes was blunt in a recent article entitled “Corporate Education Will Never Return To The Classroom.” The article says companies now know they can deliver online learning cheaper and more effectively than in-person training. It appears that’s the way learners want it, many of whom are working from home for the first time. We wonder why they would work from home and then go into the office just for a training session.
- Most people, if they can, like working from home. In a new survey by the business consulting firm Korn Ferry, most workers said they are not afraid to return to their former workplace. However, many prefer not to go back. According to the survey, 53% of respondents say they are only somewhat or not likely at all to return to the office. Big corporations like Microsoft are now allowing a big chunk of their workforce to permanently work remotely. Learning Stream, a somewhat smaller organization than Microsoft, is now a 100% remote work force. That’s another Jenga piece removed for in-person training.
- Virtual meeting platforms continue to improve their security. It has been easy to poke holes in the security lapses of video conference tools, and the criticism has been justifiable. We’ve all heard stories, if not experienced firsthand, uninvited guests in online meetings. Zoombombing has its own Wikipedia page now. But virtual meeting platforms have made steady improvements in security, such as waiting rooms and required passwords. Expect other improvements—such as more training-centric functions—to follow.
Still, not everyone can take advantage of online training, even if they want to, because they don’t have easy web access. Also, not every organization can deliver its training online effectively. Some training will always require hands-on, face-to-face instruction. Learners will always need opportunities for both. Therefore, it’s up to everyone in education and training—from training registration management platforms like GoSignMeUp to training coordinators—to make it as easy as possible for learners to have access to what they need to improve their futures.