Learning is a key factor in any company’s success. In rapidly changing, highly competitive times, we all need to have up-to-date knowledge and skills – plus opportunities to keep adding more.
And organizations need strategies to support effective learning, so that they’re ready for every new challenge.
One important part of this is choosing the right tools. And whether you’re looking to improve your own learning, or exploring better ways to provide learning for others, there are many options to choose from. These include e-learning providers, online courses, MOOCs – even virtual reality!
Investing in Learning
Technology has transformed the world of work. Unsurprisingly, many organizations have also turned to technology in a bid to keep up and stay competitive.
Digital tools can deliver learning flexibly, at a distance, and on a large scale. They can offer rich, up-to-date learning experiences that are tailored to different people’s needs and aligned with an organization’s strategic plans. Since 2010, their use has more than doubled.
However, these strategies don’t always work as well as they should. OECD, ILO, World Bank, and other institutions have highlighted an urgent need for employers to upskill their current workforce, if they’re to survive and remain relevant. And a recent McKinsey Global Survey reported that 87 percent of executives were either experiencing skill gaps now, or expecting to see them in the next few years. 
So learning technologies alone aren’t enough to keep pace with change. As well as being chosen and used with care, these tools need to be integrated into a wider culture of learning.
What Is Virtual Learning?
“Virtual learning” uses technology to improve the learning process, rather than relying solely on a face-to-face, teacher-pupil approach.
At its most basic level, it might involve people taking part in a lesson remotely – often called distance education. This can be useful if you want all of your learners to hear the same message at the same time, and to be able to interact with the teacher and one another.
But technology also allows people to choose what they learn, how they want to learn, and when they want to learn – this self-determined learning enables learners to make choices about their own development.
Technology can also add different elements to the learning process, such as audio and video. It can improve learning engagement – with other learners, experts, and the material itself – through communication tools, interactive exercises, or even immersive technologies such as virtual reality.
Virtual learning can provide individuals with carefully tailored learning opportunities that are effective and enjoyable. It can benefit learners as individuals, and also support their organizations to achieve their overall learning and development goals.