Epidemics of infectious diseases are occurring more often and spreading at a faster rate (source – World Health Organisation). Diseases are on a continuous evolution. Will history repeat itself with another outbreak similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and put a standstill to the training and development of the workforce? The answer is likely yes.
With the current situation in Asia and the world, organisations and individuals are implementing travel restrictions to countries affected by COVID-19. Asia has not seen a public health emergency with COVID-19 since SARS in 2003. Outbreaks as such are a fact of life and the common flu is not spared. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the seasonal influenza affects three to five million people, with 10 to 20 percent resulting in respiratory deaths.
With the negative news we hear daily, we need to look for positivity. Personal development and companies need to look for alternative means of offering, and conducting skill set and competency development for their work force.
Unlike many industries affected by the current situation, the training industry has alternative solutions. Traditionally taught lessons are now making its way into the digital medium. Classroom teaching has always been the preferred teaching medium for most. The reasons are obvious – interaction with the trainer, class participation, learning from peers in the class, structured learning to name a few. Yet many are still finding difficulties in embracing technology and in visualising the ability to have the learning experience from a subject matter expert via a person’s personal computer, laptop, tablet or mobile devices in the comforts of their offices or homes. That’s right,
via E-Learning; short Byte Size Learning, have been the buzz words since 1999. Economies of today are moving towards knowledge-based competency development and today’s diverse and globally dispersed workforce are forcing individuals and organisations to stay ahead of the game. The advancement in technology has enabled faster web download speeds, improved user interfaces, hardware stability, the availability across multiple devices, coupled with its affordability, has made E-learning a preferred choice for learners to enhance their competency development. Statistics have shown that e-Learning increases learning retention rates up to 60%. No surprises here as e-Learning enables the user to revisit the topic to enhance their knowledge in the content or to improve their quiz skills set.
While technology plays an important role, the learning in E-learning is important – a robust and well-planned course content and the delivery platform. The course content is created by a subject matter expert and must be interactive, with the content such as to include videos specific to the training, provide a learning tool that is fun and supported by remote subject matter experts for the online/offline support. For instance, a trainer from a diving medic first aid course for an emergency oxygen provider’s course, or a trainer who is a Chartered Safety Practitioner for an occupational safety course.
While not all subject topics are suitable for e-Learning, it can be an integral part of classroom learning. For the independent learner, e-Learning as an enhanced module of a classroom based course serves its purpose – to allow the instructor more time to concentrate on pertinent topics that the learner finds challenging.
E-Learning based Competency development courses for the Commercial Diving Industry is in its infancy. However, only time will reveal its functionality and effectiveness when up-to-date competency knowledge becomes a requirement. Lessons can be learnt from the Health and Safety sector where safety record is pertinent and resonates with organisations. Safety breaches and injuries in the UK for example, costs employers billions in revenue. Many organisations have found that it is cost effective to upskill their workforce through e-Learning courses in health and safety and at the same time, working towards compliance with current legislation.
Is this the time to innovate and embrace technology to upskill? Failure to act fast especially during current social-economic times will certainly lead to time loss in the enhancement of skill set and competency development and maintenance. Proactive individuals and organisations who plan ahead and upskill will reap the benefits after the storm. Where would you like to take your competency development this year to ensure that your skills remain relevant, your employment opportunities are aligned to your career choices, and your staff remain current with the companies required training matrix and requirements?
Do not let travel restrictions stop you from achieving your career development.