Digital Learning

Professional learning sector has witnessed many changes over the last few years, especially with the digital revolution. We have progressively moved from a traditional face-to-face training to Blended Learning, marking the birth of Digital Learning.

What is Digital Learning?

The concept of Digital Learning refers to a set of digital trainings and support tools provided to learners, in order to achieve their learning objectives faster and easier. Consequently, it helps to improve the standard of instruction and the memorization processes of learners.

Digital learning courses can come in many different forms. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Serious Games that integrate a ludic pedagogy by using the video game’s mainsprings.
  • Social learning that involves a learning method based on exchanges between learners via interactive digital tools.
  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which are open, massive and free online courses intended for a large population of learners all over the world.
  • SPOCs (Small Private Open Course) are also online but paid courses that are intended for a limited group.

However, it is important to dissociate Digital Learning, which represents a digital learning format, from E-learning, which is defined as a method of learning via the Internet and which is a specific part of Digital Learning. Digital Learning emphasizes the transition from computer-only trainings to all types of digital media (smartphones, tablets, etc.), thus affirming its value as a real modernization of learning.

Digital Learning – Some relevant Statistics

According to a survey conducted by the ISTF among 400 learning professionals regarding the evolution of Digital Learning practices in 2020, 74% of companies that are developing training paths have already used blended trainings, which means that Digital Learning is becoming increasingly prevalent in the professional learning environment.

According to the same study, the two factors of learner engagement in digital training are still the resolution of career/trade issues in a constantly changing environment, as well as certifications intended to assess and enhance the value of expertise, positively impacted by the learning reform.

Main challenges of Digital Learning

Employees’s performance

According to Manpower, 60% of the jobs that will be created in the future will require skills held by only 25% of the workforce. In order to improve their competitiveness, learning strategy is becoming more than ever a central concern for employers. They now want faster and simplified trainings, especially in sectors where knowledge needs to be constantly updated (e.g.: IT, Energy, Finance, Industry, etc.).

Digital transformation of professions

Technological innovations, robotization, and digitization are all factors that have revolutionized the professional world. It is therefore essential for companies to embrace this evolution by adopting digital familiarization for all employees. 

Talent growth and development

This is a major challenge due to the difficulty for companies to recruit, and especially to maintain a significant level of engagement from their employees. In this context of the talent war, it is necessary to offer interesting and ludic trainings, in order to retain exigent collaborators and especially the new generation born with the social media and the Smartphone.

The advantages of Digital Learning

Digital Learning provides time and cost savings for companies. Indeed, as it requires low material resources and offers sustainable and easy-to-update training contents, this new learning method allows unlimited access to an unlimited number of learners within a record time. The digitalization approach also makes the training content more attractive and entertaining, in order to promote employee engagement.

Indeed, the efficiency of a training program depends mainly on the self-motivation of each participant. This is why, by offering innovative content that promotes interactivity between learners and trainers, learning is comparatively faster, and the retention rate is higher.

Furthermore, many companies are integrating digital learning into their onboarding process. The purpose of this approach is to improve integration of new recruits and to develop their perception of belonging to the company by making their onboarding process dynamic and by inculcating them the company culture from the very beginning.

Finally, a real follow-up of the trainings can be set up as all the information collected during the sessions is centralized and then analyzed.

The limits of Digital Learning

Even if digital learning is an efficient and cost-effective way of training, it has some limits.

Today, digital tools are used everywhere in the professional and the private world, leading to employee weariness. As a result, there is a form of reticence to digital training that can affect their engagement.

On the other hand, an ergonomic deficiency in the tool, the occurrence of a technical problem, as well as the self-motivation capacity of the learner can easily affect the success of the training.

It is also important to note that despite the large number of existing training modalities, it is sometimes difficult to offer training courses that are directly aligned with each collaborator’s career path. This explains the importance of the human factor, which remains the most important factor for successful digitization of learning systems.

Indeed, in order to train more employees, companies focus on standardized training courses rather than providing individualized training paths.

What comes after Digital Learning?

Due to some limits of digital learning, companies are trying to find new learning strategies in order to train their employees faster and better. The future of trainings is thus turning progressively towards Adaptive Learning. This new approach involves adapting learning to the individual needs. The objective is its optimization taking into account the diversity of employees profiles.

Asmae El Hazzat

HRIS consultant


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