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Transitioning to the “new normal”: Can digital courses rise to the challenge?


How have your trainers found the adjustment to providing digitally delivered courses during the pandemic?

“The transition to offering a broad range of digital courses was simple as we already had a suite available already. It was the preference of our clients, prior to C-19, which affected how many were requested and delivered. GBS also had an existing suite of short, bite-size courses too which formed the basis of many of the three-hour webinars so we were able to scale up the availability of virtual delivery almost immediately.”

Can online training via webinars really replace face-to-face training?

“At GBS we see that webinars can be used solely or partially as part of a blended solution. The content remains the same, with the same emphasis on interaction with delegates. The only major difference is the duration of each event but, as I said earlier, we had a range of shorter sessions already available. In most cases a webinar can replace face to face learning but there is nothing like the effectiveness of a group working together in the classroom, especially where the activities require them to solve problems and work together. That said, in many of our virtual courses we have substituted activities which have the same outcomes as face to face courses so these can be seen as an alternative, not a total replacement for all events.”

How important will digital courses be as businesses transition to this "new normal"?

“It is perhaps a little early to predict what this new normal will look like but, from what we are seeing, digital courses and solutions will probably be more popular than prior to the pandemic. Organisations have been “forced” into looking more seriously at this modality and, from feedback we have been given, have found that acceptance is good. In the case of GBS, we will be expanding our range of offerings as the economics and environmental benefits of digital learning are obvious for our clients.”

Many companies are eager to help their teams adapt and thrive in a digital environment. What are your thoughts on the impact of the new future of working?

“The “working from home” transition was, in most cases a very quick response to Covid-19. Many employees have struggled with the challenges of their new home/work environment and balancing a family life. Stress and mental health issues have been on the increase and we are now set for the return phase where we open a door back into a different world.

Our experience of management support, both prior to and during lockdown, has varied immensely. Some organisations do this better than others and this is down to the skill of the managers and leaders. At no other time has this been stretched more than in this mass lockdown and so leadership training will be a hugely popular request as things go back to normal. How does a leader prepare their staff for the changes they will encounter, how will their motivation and support be provided, performance measured and results enhanced by effective leadership and close teamworking?

The key elements of working remotely, and back through the return to work transition, will rely heavily upon regular, effective communication and a stronger emphasis on teams working more closely together. It is a sad fact that coming out of Covid-19 will present organisations with no choice but to streamline their businesses and that means a change in roles and responsibilities of those retained. That means a period of huge change, one like leaders will have not been prepared for in terms of impact on their staff and businesses.”

Is custom blended learning going to be more important than ever, especially with coronavirus restrictions gradually easing?

“At GBS we predict that blended learning will be more prevalent, not only to keep travel to a minimum, but to save money on external venues and overnight stays. Group sizes will be smaller for face to face sessions which means that delivering virtual elements, as part of a total solution, will positively affect expenditure and allow sessions to be shorter.

Gradual easing of the restrictions will take months for organisations to settle back into some sort or learning routine again which is where sensible design of blended solutions will help.

GBS Corporate Training have many years of designing bespoke solutions and we expect these to be much more popular than prior to Covid-19. Part of the challenge has been the acceptance of the benefits of delivering in this way, one which has now been tested in the most impactful way imaginable.”

If this is something you would like to explore then please contact GBS on 01252 618400 or email [email protected] with your enquiry.