Over 80% of employees say online learning is more effective than classroom: Survey

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning skilling programs see highest demand

Over 80% of employees say online learning is more effective than classroom: Survey - CIO&Leader

The COVID-19 global health crisis has disrupted work patterns worldwide, and one of the work areas most affected has been employee learning and development. With businesses implementing online models, there is a rising demand for digital skills training, but at the same time, the work from home scenario has made it impossible to provide in-person skills training. A Simplilearn survey shows 86% of respondents whose organizations offered physical classroom training have moved to live online learning platforms since the start of the pandemic. In fact, 82% of survey respondents stated that live online learning programs were equally or more effective than physical classroom sessions, with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning skilling programs seeing the highest demand.

Sharing his views on the survey findings, Krishna Kumar, CEO & Founder of Simplilearn, said, “The current global pandemic has posed several new challenges to organisations and businesses across verticals, pushing for the need to embrace digital solutions. Based on our survey results, remote working seems to be the norm for the future, with 52% respondents saying that WFH saw employees being more productive and 77% of respondents predicting that their organizations are considering a permanent shift to work from home. This is a clear indicator that live or blended online learning programs will be the answer to skilling and learning continuity for working professionals. The pandemic and economic slowdowns have also brought in the need for organizations and professionals to focus more on building capabilities in niche skills that would become inevitable for business continuity and sustenance.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 86% of respondents whose organizations offered physical classroom skills training to their employees before the pandemic have moved those training sessions to online platforms
  • 82% of respondents whose organizations have moved employee skills training sessions online said the sessions have been equally or more effective than physical classroom sessions
  • 40% of respondents said their organizations anticipate making a permanent move to online training, compared to 18% who plan to revert back to physical classrooms (42% said ‘not sure’)
  • 76% of respondents said that due to the abrupt switch to digital-first business environments they expect their organizations to grow their employee skills development programs
  • Asked about employee skills training budgets before and during the pandemic, 8% of respondents said their budgets had increased, 34% said budgets had decreased, and 58% said they had stayed the same

Other data collected by Simplilearn includes:

  • Functional training offered to employees within the organizations who responded includes Digital Operations (66%), Technology/Software (64%), Digital Marketing (53%), and Artificial Intelligence/Data Science (45%)
  • Functional training prioritized as a result of the pandemic includes Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (44%), Digital Marketing (42%), Cloud Computing (42%), and Cyber Security (40%)
  • 73% of respondents said their employees have been as productive or more productive while working from home compared to before the pandemic
  • 77% of respondents said their organizations are now considering permanent expansion of “work from home” flexibility for their employees

The overall survey findings indicate that the pandemic has increased the importance and demand for digital skills training. Furthermore, it has made it imperative for companies to find ways to deliver skills training online with live online classes that exceed the effectiveness of physical classrooms.

The Simplilearn survey was conducted to study the effects of pandemic on employee training programs and productivity post the implementation of “Work from Home.” Simplilearn surveyed executives and managers in the Learning & Development and Human Resources functions of companies around the globe on issues related to current and future employee training plans. While responses were gathered from various global regions, the majority were gathered from representatives of companies located in India (39%) and the United States (41%).


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