Survey Reveals 53% of L&D Execs Dissatisfied with Virtual Designs

An ongoing challenge associated with the shift to virtual classrooms has been a perception that current virtual learning designs are not as effective as the face-to-face designs they are replacing. In fact, 53% of the leadership, learning, and talent development professionals surveyed in the October/November poll conducted by The Ken Blanchard Companies felt their current virtual designs were less effective than their face-to face designs. That’s a challenge, considering that most in-person classroom design use has been put on hold while virtual design use has exploded.

In a recently released report on 2022 HR / L&D Trends conducted by The Ken Blanchard Companies, more than 800 leadership, learning, and talent development professionals shared how COVID has impacted in-person, virtual, and self-led learning delivery modalities. Respondents indicated:

  • Prior to COVID, in-person instructor-led training was used 70% of the time, with virtual instructor-led training and self-paced elearning splitting the remaining 30%.
  • During COVID that situation radically changed, with virtual instructor-led training taking the top spot with 57% of delivery, self-paced elearning at 24%, and in-person instructor-led training falling to 19%.
  • Post COVID, survey respondents expect virtual instructor-led training will continue as the top delivery mode at 40%, in-person instructor-led training will rebound somewhat to 34%, and self-paced elearning will settle in at 25%.

Improving Virtual Designs

Ann Rollins, a solutions architect for The Ken Blanchard Companies, reviewed the report in preparation for a webinar on Designing Effective Learning Experiences for a Hybrid Work Environment.

“The report shows us that as a facilitator you can’t just show up and talk for an hour,” says Rollins. “The content must be compelling enough that people want to be there. They have to be able to put the content to good use at the end of the session, and the overall experience has to be very engaging.”

In looking at the top ways they would like to improve virtual designs, a majority of survey respondents identified more learner engagement, more social interaction, and more learning touchpoints over time as key improvements.

More integration with the flow of work and more accountability to finish was mentioned by 46% and 38% of respondents, respectively. And between 29% and 21% of respondents desired improvements such as easier-to-use technology, ease of access, better overall program quality, and more video content.

Putting the Learner in Control

From Rollins’s experience, the well designed learning experience of the future will be more of a toolkit.

“Learners either are directed or self-select when they see a performance outcome they know they need to deliver on. Have them listen to a quick podcast or watch a video from an executive to provide background. Then give them some tools to help them along—self-assessments with guidance for going forward or other job aids—and layer in some actual opportunities to practice and apply the skills they’ve learned.

“We’re giving learners a lot more control that way. It’s a different way of thinking. It’s taking the original legacy learning course, blowing it apart—literally dis-aggregating it into discreet, individual assets—and then building those assets into a new story.

“It’s putting the learner in control—but with some expert design to help them along the way.”

You can learn more about this year’s survey results by downloading the 2022 HR / L&D Trends eBook. And you can discover how to create more engaging virtual designs by joining Ann Rollins’s December 15 event, Designing Effective Learning Experiences for a Hybrid Work Environment. Both resources are free, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.

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