New research indicates greater support for virtual learning

Jo Cook reveals the results of research into virtual and hybrid learning 

A positive trend in the world of digital learning interventions is an improved perspective of virtual learning, with some people saying that they now believe virtual learning can be as successful as learning in person. But are organisations ready to keep up with this trend and prepared to meet the growing expectations of their staff and clients?

The Virtual Research Insights report, launched today 1 November, suggests not. Whilst 47% of participants have improved their opinion of virtual training, 67% of organisations are not clear on the best practice principles for this digital learning intervention. 

Learner perspective

With respondents from around the world, part of the focus of this report is on understanding the learner perspective on attending virtual and hybrid training in the workplace. 57% of people reported feeling tired after learning virtually, with barriers to their learning experience including sound issues (44%) and other attendees not knowing how to use the platform (43%). 

Designers and facilitators can focus on what learners report enhanced their learning experience, such as the facilitator (70%) and the opportunity to interact (67%). Facilitators who enhance the experience adopt a guiding and coaching style, creating a psychologically safe space to learn, and constantly adapt to the needs of participants, rather than being rigidly led by the content.

Facilitators who enhance the experience adopt a guiding and coaching style, creating a psychologically safe space to learn

Organisational perspective

Many facilitators cited technical challenges that impacted the design and delivery of their live online learning. This included platform integration at an organisational level as well as being able to access external tools to augment the virtual experience. 

These technical issues are directly related to cultural challenges that organisations have around the importance of learning in general, as well as the approach to digital options versus more traditional methods. 

Hybrid perspective

The challenges of a quality hybrid training event are many. Respondents cited the “cost and complexity of production” and “getting the balance right for face to face and online”. Only 13% of respondents were running hybrid events, which reflects the challenges involved, and 23% said they didn’t feel capable to design or deliver virtual and hybrid learning. 

This is a new opportunity for organisations to adopt appropriate technology in order to serve the needs of performance development in the organisation. 

Report recommendations

Virtual and hybrid learning requires L&D to develop a new approach. Learning leaders, designers and facilitators need to explore new pedagogies such as heutagogy. The aim is to move people from resisting technology to becoming advocates. This will only happen if they see value and impact, so it’s critical to incorporate the right amount of insight and data so you can track any changes and communicate progress.

Download the report here and get involved in the 2023 survey now.

Jo Cook is a specialist in live online learning, find out more at Lightbulb Moment Limited


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