With global disruption and remote work now the norm thanks to the pandemic, it was only a matter of time before other areas of our lives also moved online. That’s great news for you and your career because your online training options just widened by an enormous margin. 

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your skillsets and looking at training, online options are going mainstream. That positions you to choose programs that match your specific career development and interests with less reliance on mileage. Here are some trending improvements to the education scene happening because of this online expansion.

Trend #1 — Live Online Training

A decade ago, online learning was primarily the realm of static PDF guides and maybe some recorded sessions. This left you with lots of questions and slow answers. Now, online training is trending live, giving you the chance to interact with instructors directly and making things a lot more interesting. 

The tools themselves are changing, creating easier sign-on processes, more robust chat features, and better quality video. There are even ways to create small breakout groups to exchange ideas, much like what happens in a real classroom with less time wasted during the shuffle. Many online training sessions are making use of things that worked in classrooms for years.

These programs make it easier for students to interact, remove physical barriers to education, and offer more of the interactive elements students would have from in-person training. It’s the best of both worlds.

Trend #2 — Budget Friendly

With COVID affecting business and personal budgets, receiving training online has some clear, concrete benefits. In the past, professional development almost always meant travel logistics and planning around office absences. Now, that’s all changing.

Online training doesn’t require a travel budget, helping businesses and individuals save on transportation, lodging costs, and even daily costs for meals or other travel necessities. Many of these trainings happen outside office hours, providing professional development without the soft cost of shutting down or replacing that position for a few days.

In pandemic terms, this also makes training a far less risky proposition with social distancing in place. It’s overall more cost-effective without sacrificing the quality of the training itself.

Trend #3 — Better Tracking

Online learning has revolutionized record-keeping, allowing administration to send and receive records efficiently. With multiple assessment methods and the chance for students to sign up for multiple sessions, online training could produce a clearer picture of a student’s learning evolution.

Many online platforms can send automated reminders to students, encouraging them to complete course requirements, sending follow-ups at predetermined times for future assessments, or even soliciting feedback. 

This tracking provides better student outcomes, suggesting higher retention and success rates, even for traditional education institutions.

Trend #4 — Flexibility

Flexibility is the underlying component of these success rates. Learners have better outcomes when given more control over their own learning. Removing logistical obstacles helps improve retention and encourage further training.

Businesses benefit because they lose fewer workers to training during work hours. but can see almost immediate results as students implement training right away. Individual learners can take advantage of training despite the distance, work/life constraints, and even budgetary concerns.

When training happens online, students receive an invaluable resource — the chance to review again and again—no need for awkward notes or wondering what something meant. Live training can be recorded for later viewing. Recorded trainings can move at the pace of the student’s comprehension.

Trend #5 — The Work Benefit

Back in 2019, LinkedIn found that a startling number of employees — up to 94% — would stay at a company longer if that company just invested in their professional development. With numbers like that, online training helps companies balance budgets and offer the professional growth employees crave.

Ongoing training is one of the keys to happier employees. It allows companies to promote and nurture talent from within while mitigating disruption. Closing the skills gap is a core part of business success. Plus, online professional development is significantly cheaper than hiring someone new

The 2020 version of LInkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report concludes that companies plan to expand their learning and development budgets, making this a top marker for attracting and retaining talent. Building learning into a company culture could help these businesses grapple with the data revolution.

Online learning is better than ever

These trends not only tell us that online learning is here to stay. We can also be confident that online learning is improving. E-learning organizations are building on a classic understanding of learning and implementing dynamic changes into their structure.

There is so much quality online learning at your fingertips these days. It’s possible to direct your career, close your skills gap, and make a difference for your organization and the world itself. Online learning is mainstream — it’s up to you to take advantage.

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