As people are becoming more cautious about the rising pandemic, corporates have declared work-from-home for many of its employees. As per Delhi government instructions, educational institutions and public facilities such as cinema halls are to remain shut till March 31st. In a scenario where classroom sessions are out of the question, there will be a fall back to digital learning.
The learning community in India has been moving in the direction of digital learning since quite some time now. However one point of contestation has been from the employees who claim a lack of time to complete their learning goals. Now with the work-from-home situation becoming reality, employees have more time on their hands than before.
Rishi Tiwari, cluster director-HR, Hilton, says, “There always has been one unanimous complaint among the employees that they never find the time to complete their learning goals. Now with the situation at hand, they can find the time to catch up.”
Online learning has almost everything that physical training offers but physical training lacks a lot of things that online training can provide
“At Hilton we are asking our employees to utilise this time to the maximum and learn. This is not just an in-thing right now, it is the only thing. There is no other way to impart learning right now”, adds Tiwari.
Digital is the direction that the learning community was taking and the current situation is accelerating that process. Earlier, online training was utilised on a voluntary basis by the employees. Now however, there is no choice. Employers and employees have no other way but to turn to digital format now more than ever.
It is true that the situation might not continue for long and eventually things will return to normal. The focus on classroom sessions will be back and digital learning will not have the same amount of focus it does now. At the same time, employees might develop a deeper appreciation of digital means and the uptake on online learning might increase.
Binoj Basu, Chief Learning Officer, believes that in future, this might lead to a more blended type of learning where the emphasis on digital will be more. “As a result of the situation now, we might develop a more blended form of learning where the focus on classroom will be less and the rest can be delivered through accelerated digital learning.”
Basu believes that in time as the offline modes of learning make a comeback, the benefits from online learning more appreciated. Due to the lack of choice, there would be an increase in the quality of digital learning as the service providers to strive to provide the best in content.
As of the now, the adoption rates for digital learning are not high but in this scenario it might be accelerated
Moreover, the quality of classroom sessions will rise. “The amount of time spent in classroom will be all the more meaningful because employees can use that time to discuss case studies, clear doubts and not focus on the basic concepts alone”, explains Basu.
Giving an example, Basu goes on to explain that concepts like relationship management at the leadership level can be better with just one day of classroom session after everyone has gone through digital lectures and is on the same page. Even at the junior level, aspects like product learning can be adopted digitally. “As of the now, the adoption rates for digital learning are not high but in this scenario it might be accelerated”, adds Basu.
Tiwari adds, “In the hospitality, one can learn almost everything online and there is no bar. Online learning has almost everything that physical training offers but physical training lacks a lot of things that online training can provide.”
This increase in digital adoption ties up with the education community as well. There is a certain level of conservatism when it comes to adopting or accepting digital learning among Indian educational institutions. The same level of prestige might not be garnered to an online certification as is given to degree earned through classroom learning. Now with no other choice in hand, institutions are forced to adapt.
On March 12, the University of Delhi announced that it will be making study materials available online for the students as classes are suspended till March 31st. Delhi University is the first to go online in India in this time.
“Because of the conservatism, people have not learned to enjoy digital learning. This phase will push them towards online learning by default and lead them to experience it better thus increasing adoption rates”, concludes Basu.