Technology has played a crucial role in our lives throughout the pandemic. It has allowed us to stay connected to loved ones, work remotely and home-school (albeit not without its challenges!). But what about ongoing skills development? Before the COVID-19 outbreak, there was still a general reluctance across the board to undertake online training, with many questioning the quality and value of online course delivery. We can safely say that attitudes have altered dramatically over the last 12 months with online course sign-ups reaching record levels. But for many, the question remains. Can you effectively develop skills online? So, here’s what you need to know.
Focus on development
In an increasingly competitive professional climate, continuous development has become a priority for professionals over the last few years in particular. A recent report from Shift Learning highlighted that 35% of millennials consider learning a development a top consideration when choosing employer. Plus, employees who do not have the opportunity to develop are twelve times more likely to leave their role. However, during the pandemic, we’ve seen that some teams have become more time-poor than ever, and as we know, face-to-face classrooms were put on pause. Therefore, online training was the best solution. It typically requires 40-60% less employee time and can increase company revenue by 42%, largely because employee engagement is boosted on average to 18%. The latest research also reveals that 17% of individuals now also choose to do additional learning and development in their spare time, demonstrating just how vital it is.
With professionals across the board becoming more open to e-learning opportunities, the market is anticipated to grow at over 8% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. In 2019, the industry value surpassed $200 billion and with new technologies such as cloud computing and AI at our disposal, more can be done online than ever before. The pandemic also had a direct impact on this. 12 million people were faced with no work and many turned to online training to either upskill or retrain. For example, in April, the Guardian reported that Coursera saw 500,000 new enrolments in a single weekend for its ‘Science of Well-Being’ course.
The power of technology
But while that delves into the topic of industry growth, the real question here is, can you develop skills online? Let us start by saying this. You can Google just about any question today and instantly get the response you require. You may have even done just that to find this blog today. However, skills and knowledge are two very different things and during the pandemic, more of us have been on the hunt to achieve and develop new skills and for most, the answer lay in technology. For example, we saw medical students conduct their surgery training at a safe distance using online simulators at a time where physical healthcare resource was limited. We saw personal trainers become qualified after the influx of social media live workouts. And there have been countless more examples. Technology is a powerful tool at our disposal and if we can train our next generation of doctors can utilise its capabilities, so too can wider business professionals.
BARBRI Altior launched its Live Online platform in 2018 because we saw the potential in delivering courses online. Yet when it was launched, we were one of the first in our industry to offer this approach to learning. But now, any solicitor that has been admitted to the Roll in the past year would have gained their qualification online. More than five years ago, this might have seen unimaginable but now, it’s highly likely to become the norm beyond the pandemic too. It goes a long way towards demonstrating how the professional skills needed to become a practising solicitor can be effectively developed online and has quietened many critics in this area.
What about advocacy?
Yet for many, there have been ongoing questions about advocacy training. Previously, the SRA required this aspect of the PSC to be conducted in a face-to-face classroom environment. But due to COVID restrictions, this was amended in April 2020. However, there are still some concerns around whether you can effectively learn to address a judge, cross-examine a witness and challenge an expert in court. Realistically, that will come down to the individual trainer and learning provider. At Altior, we’ve been doing this for almost a year and were one of the first providers to offer this service online. So, we’re well versed in advocacy skills development. But regardless of whether you turn to Altior or not, ensure that the provider you choose is credible, has exemplary testimonials and offers the personalised support that you require.
So, can skills be developed online? Absolutely. We firmly believe that a wide range of skills can be effectively developed virtually but as is the case with all learning experience, it truly does come down to the quality of course delivery. After all, a face-to-face class cannot be simply uploaded then delivered – it takes a whole new approach to engage learners online and those who understand that will deliver the most comprehensive online programmes.
Our lead advocacy trainer, Roy Morgan, recently led an insightful webinar around this very topic and if you’re interested in learning more, you can catch up here >>>