It’s no secret that the global job market is increasingly favoring employees. With the ‘great resignation’ hitting the UK, labor participation in the US still trailing pre-pandemic levels, and a shift to more open jobs than job-seekers, particularly in service-economy positions, companies are scrambling to attract and retain top talent. The growing need to engage workers both at home and abroad means e-learning providers prioritizing localization and tech innovation are in the best position to capitalize on the current market opportunities.
The rise of e-learning
E-learning providers have already benefited from increased demand due to the need for virtual training options brought about by COVID-19. With a quarter of all jobs in the US and Canada likely to be remote by the end of the year, companies are increasingly aware of the role virtual training solutions will continue to play in their business operations over the medium to long term (Independent).
Educational technology can reduce time to ramp, improve work quality, and reduce future errors and inefficiencies. Tailored solutions, trackability, and customization can all have a positive knock-on effect on outputs and profits. It also creates possibilities for better-connected workforces and can impact employee satisfaction by improving inclusion, accessibility, and the cohesiveness of company culture. In turn, this familiarity can help companies reduce incidences of employee churn.
Global growth means stiff competition
The possibilities of virtual training have led to significant growth and developments within the e-learning sector. There are now more edtech companies than ever, with the global online education market size expected to reach USD 198.9 billion by 2030, “growing at a CAGR of 23.12% during the forecast period (2022-2030)” (Straits Research). As the number of providers in the sector grows, companies expect better results from their chosen partners. The focus has shifted to providers able to offer continued innovation and value for end customers. Partnerships like that between Argos Multilingual and Moodle are now producing LMS and educational content in more languages than ever before. Companies want to engage a global workforce, track learning patterns and outcomes, respond to customization needs, and give employees flexible access to learning resources.
Flexibility has emerged as a core concern
Companies are looking to providers for technological solutions to inefficiencies in onboarding, compliance, and retention, all of which impact the bottom line. Post-COVID, there’s a strong focus on hybrid models and their potential adaptability. For example, edtech company EduMe provides mobile training solutions for deskless employees at companies like Uber, GoPuff, and North American Logistics. Deskless learning allows employees to access training wherever and whenever, reducing onboarding time at Uber and GoPuff by 13 and 14%, respectively. However, it introduces new challenges when ensuring effectiveness and retention for non-native speakers. Whereas desktop materials can utilize subtitles, these can be tricky to read on mobile devices and interrupt the learning flow. Gains in productivity made via 'micro-learning' (brief, 2-5 minute bursts of material) get undone by providers who opt for subtitles alone rather than exploring dubbing.
Connection and engagement remain pivotal
To remain competitive in a rapidly innovating market, existing e-learning providers should begin localizing assets to increase user engagement and satisfaction. Localization can help improve learning outcomes and business results for existing customers. Inclusion and connectivity have emerged as the key differentiators for engaging and retaining talent in a tight labor market, and localization is one of the best tools to improve these. “Employees who feel connected to the company and its leadership stay longer and perform better,” reveals Suzy Taherian, CFO advisor for Forbes. Increasingly, localization and tailored resources are becoming an expectation for company onboarding and training.
Additionally, localization can make new markets viable. "Hiring globally has long been an option for companies looking to grow," explains Business Reporter. "In a post-pandemic world, however, it is now arguably necessary for survival." Training hires in their first language means companies can widen their search to include international talent, improving their growth and bottom line.
Training providers should look to COVID learnings to continue improving engagement
Studies of university students adapting to online learning over the pandemic consistently point to problems with ‘Zoom fatigue’ and a desire to reduce the amount of live online learning in favor of customized async elements. These need to be appropriately tailored to individual learner circumstances to produce desired levels of satisfaction and knowledge retention. Students said recorded sessions, self-paced learning, and flexibility were the core attractions of the virtual model (BMC). They significantly preferred learning via pre-recorded resources to sitting through live virtual classes - highlighting the impact flexible options have on learner satisfaction (BMC). E-learning providers should consider these findings as they decide how to grow their solutions in ways that improve customer results.
It’s now taken as standard that the inclusion of virtual programming is “an important part of comprehensive internationalization” (The PIE News). However, virtual training providers must continue to do all they can to make and keep content engaging and effective. Pushing ahead with localization efforts and increasing accessibility will mitigate the risk of losing out to competitors doing more to improve results at a tricky time for employers.