eLearning, or electronic learning, is defined as the use of electronic technologies to access educational material outside of a brick and mortar classroom. Based on cognitive science and established instructional design principles required to deliver effective learning, eLearning has permeated our society; and most of us have encountered it in one setting or another. From distance higher education programs to global corporate compliance training, eLearning is being utilized to maximize knowledge transfer in an efficient and engaging manner.
This brings us to the year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted the lives of people across the globe. Citizens are being quarantined, events have been cancelled, travel is suspended, and companies are closing their doors. If possible, workers are transitioning their work environments to their homes and managing the challenges that come with a remote work setting.
With these profound changes in the workplace has come a sudden demand for eLearning to fill the gaps in instruction and update workers’ knowledge and skills. This is true in retail, too, as retail stores undergo vast changes to work environments and workforce. For grocery retail, the increased demand for goods and products has required stores to significantly increase their staff and hire temporary workers. At the same time, corporate employees are being required to work from home. It is a dilemma. How can these retailers provide fast and efficient training and learning resources to the growing workforce?
eLearning can bridge the gap between the need for accelerated training and remote corporate workers.
The importance of eLearning in the workplace now
eLearning is flexible and easy to access across different environments and modes of technology. To put it simply, eLearning can be accessed anytime and anywhere. Although certain aspects of learning a skill may require onsite on-the-job training, eLearning has steadily become a popular and effective source for training, especially when provided in a blended approach with instructor-led training. Furthermore, eLearning provides a consistent delivery method when training instructors are not available. Is your manager unavailable today? Is your bandwidth maxed out? The constant and easy delivery of eLearning provides a consistent message anyone can build on. eLearning can provide new employees with a knowledge foundation you can expand upon at any time during the onboarding process.
Utilize your current eLearning platform
Retailers who already utilize eLearning as a primary training source have great flexibility during these uncertain times. Not only can eLearning content be used to train employees on specific skills, it can also be used to train employees on new processes being implemented as a result of the pandemic.
Lack of eLearning options? No problem!
What if your company currently doesn’t offer eLearning courses or you’re in the early stages of building an eLearning library? No problem. The flexibility of eLearning also extends to its development and the various platforms and course templates available to create content. By using eLearning authoring tools, companies can quickly create and publish content that will be readily available to their employees on their phones or computers.
Tackling the current dilemma
With eLearning, retailers have the option to customize their training for their current needs. Faced with a surge of new hires and need to transition them to productive employees on the floor, grocery retailers can use eLearning tools to quickly develop resource documents, how-to guides and checklists. Examples include cash register training resources and checklists hosted on computers. You can also create cleaning and sanitation standards or social distancing guidelines that can be accessed anywhere on the retail floor. Furthermore, most eLearning content can quickly be exported to printed material to be used on the sales floor for quick and easy access.
Conclusion and considerations
Working in the pandemic landscape has brought a unique set of challenges. As the state of the pandemic response changes daily, it can be difficult for workers to be fully effective if what they do today is not what they do tomorrow. Maximizing the benefits of eLearning allows retailers to assist their workers through this transition by remotely updating their skills, informing them about new processes, and assessing and addressing any knowledge gaps.