In 2020, companies faced the unexpected challenge of adapting their processes to abide by social distancing guidelines. Corporate training is one of the areas companies had to address, whether to stay in compliance with regulations or corporate policies, to develop new employees, or to provide continuing education on changing technologies.
Jarin Schmidt, CXO of Credly, provides an overview of corporate training during remote work, the tools that are available, and what to expect moving forward.
What were the most significant remote education trends heading into 2020?
Schmidt: Especially in a time when remote education is reportedly less effective than in-person learning, one of the biggest trends we’re seeing is organizations pairing their training with a verified digital credential. Providing employees with the opportunity to earn digital credentials as part of their education creates a more engaged, loyal workforce. Many individuals are also going above and beyond employer-led training to earn career-enhancing credentials on their own. A verified digital badge provides an employer with the full context of what an individual can do as a result of their learning, and transparency into the commitment of time and effort it took to earn that credential.
Has corporate training been able to continue, even in light of the economic shutdown due to coronavirus?
Schmidt: Not only are organizations still focused on corporate training during the economic shutdown and coronavirus outbreak, but they’re even more focused on making that online training more valuable and quantifiable. Take American Sentinel University and Unmanned Safety Institute, for example. Both organizations recently added digital credentials to their training program as a way to verify and surface in-demand skills obtained by learners. Training is an essential part of preparing your workforce for the new ‘new world of work’ following the pandemic.
Are common communication tools like Zoom or Hangouts adequate to manage training?
Schmidt: I’ve done plenty of technical “training and troubleshooting” with my parents over video communication tools, recently. I’ve also been in plenty of meetings where I, myself, couldn’t seem to find the “Share Screen” button and needed a nudge in the right direction. With so many tools available – Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, etc., the key isn’t so much which platform you use but that the individuals using it feel comfortable and confident in how to navigate its features and functionality. It can be hard to be engaged with a training course when you’re unsure of how to come off mute to ask a question. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw organizations choose a specific platform, then offer platform training and certification to users.
How can software developers address improving the tools companies use for training?
Schmidt: Many of the common video communication platforms have recently rolled out the ability to see multiple participants at the same time and not just focus on the individual speaking. I think this goes a long way in gauging engagement and reading body language, which is a significant benefit of face-to-face training. I also think adding even more features to engage individuals who may not be comfortable with the kind of large group setting that these communication platforms can create would be impactful.
In your opinion, will remote corporate training be more common after coronavirus?
Schmidt: Absolutely –100%. With social distancing being the norm in most places across the globe, virtual learning has never been more vital than it is right now. But, even when restrictions are eased and we emerge from this health crisis, virtual learning will play an important role in our new “new world of work.” It allows employees to earn their credentials anytime, anywhere, on their schedules, which is a valuable offering for organizations focused on efficiency and engagement.
What trends should software developers take into account as they set a course for the remainder of 2020 and beyond?
Schmidt: Exploring a mix of training and credentials that you can use to demonstrate your commitment to upskilling is increasingly important in the emerging skills-based economy. Within our platform, we are seeing a significant uptick in credentials related to three areas: security, cloud/hosting, and data science. The great news is that there are plenty of avenues – from a formal industry certification to a series of short online courses – for a software developer to skill up in those particular areas and earn a digital credential to show an employer what she’s capable of doing.