The Evolving Face of Online and Digital Learning

Digital footprints touch all areas of our personal and professional lives: from how we communicate, manage our finances, homes, shopping and healthcare to how we collaborate and present offerings to our customers. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the way we at Global Knowledge translate the way our growing, interconnected digital world filters into the training we produce, especially our GK Learning Platform.

Retention is the ultimate goal of facilitating meaningful learning, and that’s what we strive for. “We need to deliver the right content to the right learner at the right time in the right modality and style that gives them the best results so they can use their newfound skills and knowledge in a meaningful way,” said Kevin Pawsey, Global VP of Digital Learning.

But what does this mean in practical terms? Course content is critical, but the significance of delivery methods can’t be ignored either. The customers we serve span various industries, sizes and geographic regions, which means that the ability to deliver on-demand training is a must. Our products must be useful, dynamic and carefully constructed if we’re going to embrace the nature of a global digital transformation.

“It’s not just about saving travel budgets but instead extending the learning opportunity to maximize available times,” said Pawsey. “As an example, we have customers whose staff are out in the field, maybe with two hours between appointments, and for them, keeping current on new skills and knowledge is a real need.”

The approach we’re taking always keeps the learner front of mind. It’s crucial we take into account with on-demand, just-in-time training comes the need for shorter, more purposeful nuggets of information. It’s less of a prescription and more of an adaptation to what our learners need. The reality is training must get with the times; this shorter, more intense method is how information is primarily digested these days.

“I think training at your own pace is important. I think even more important is getting the training you need when you need it,” said John Mckeever, VP of Digital Learning. “For some folks, that may be going through every step of an online experience to prep for certification. For others, that may mean jumping in and out of the content is relevant to you, or maybe just reinforce some concepts you learned before. By having access to that material for long periods of time, you can truly use it however you want, whenever you want.”

Realistically, it means we, as a training provider, have a responsibility to listen to the voice of the customer and recognize what keeps the learner engaged as well. This means varying the approach based on topic, audience and even delivery format.

To remain relevant, we must understand that changes in technology result in changes in how we work. So, when it makes sense, we are incorporating the idea of challenge-based learning. Rather than the typical “teach and consume” approach, we are instead flipping the norm and introducing real-world challenges that test and prove the student’s competencies in certain areas. This introduces a way to report on meaningful achievements rather than assessment results or attendance.

“We are continuing to define what a great digital learning experience should be and what tools are required to support that in a useful way,” said Pawsey. “There are hundreds of online learning tools out there in the market, but they don’t all play nicely together. We want to use the best-of-breed tools that really focus on a great learning experience where we can demonstrate to our customers real and tangible skill improvements.”

What that means for you is that your team members are gaining ways to continuously consume knowledge. At Global Knowledge, course modules are often updated in line with market needs. Online and digital training must be flexible and respond to the market if it will truly flourish. The flexibility in terms of producing and consuming also lends itself to an evolving model that incorporates the needs of the student more than ever before. And the best part is it will continue to evolve as AI, VR and machine learning transform our expectations.

For a deeper dive into digital learning, read my previous post, “Fitting Training into Your Company’s Digital Transformation.” Want to stay in the know about Global Knowledge more generally? Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

In this article

Join the Conversation