The importance of learning in times of COVID-19

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Photo credit: Chris Adamus

In recent weeks, COVID-19 has achieved what millions of people once deemed impossible: it has redefined how we work, and the way we interact with each other, while shaking the global economy in an unprecedented fashion. For millions of individuals worldwide, life today feels very different from what it was just a few weeks back.  For many, constantly changing conditions have suddenly replaced the steady and predictable life they had otherwise enjoyed.

HR departments are already adapting and facing the new challenges arising from this crisis.  Technology has granted us a tool to mitigate many of the adverse impacts of the disease.  Remote working and real-time global updates will help reduce the economic impact of this pandemic by allowing many companies to remain open, and will also help limit the spread of the virus.

However, as novel strategies are implemented, new issues need to be taken into consideration. Humans are highly social beings, and isolation over extended periods is not something most take too kindly to.

Technological solutions notwithstanding, COVID-imposed isolation will soon start taking its toll. Work can be a great way to take your mind off the fact that you have been locked at home for weeks (in many cases with little to no external social interaction; in others, with the normal stress of family life).  Cabin fever-affected employees will soon be less productive and more prone to conflict both at home and in the virtual office, especially when social distancing becomes the norm and physical social boundaries begin to feel weaker.  HR professionals should not lose sight of the psychological impacts of this situation.

As the initial stages in the fight to mitigate the corona crisis reach completion, with the first waves of co-workers having been relocated to work from home, HR departments will be responsible for dealing with the new challenges arising from potentially extended isolation and economic uncertainty.

In this scenario, which many companies are already facing, technology will once again come to the rescue.  Upon realizing that remote working is not as complicated a challenge as initially thought, decision makers are now embracing other alternatives.

Understandably, as the crisis hit – and amidst the uncertainty of what would follow – the first step for several companies was to suspend their ongoing language courses and planned seminars. This initial reaction should be considered carefully, as online training – especially when it deals with language and skill development – provides an outlet for individuals who are isolated. It allows them to interact with co-workers and others, giving them a chance to rebuild some of their social contact beyond work-related matters.

In line with this, EnglishBusiness has invited clients to rethink their strategy. With our motto “Give online a chance,” we have encouraged companies to try online training before suspending or cancelling their regular courses or seminars.

Online training is not just teleconferencing with students, and it goes far beyond simply having a conversation over a webcam. It is not meant to be a mere replacement for face-to-face sessions, with the trainer simply broadcasting a presentation to a screen full of little windows showing students’ faces.

When done correctly, online courses and seminars make the most out of available technology, combining myriad tools to promote interaction and engagement.  This results in a richer learning environment and an optimized process that focuses on the participants, and it puts technology at their service.

Also not to be underestimated is the enhanced social interaction that online courses afford during COVID-19 times. With fewer in-person meetings being held, we are experiencing increased levels of attendance in our online courses. This clearly reflects the perceived importance of these spaces for people who find themselves restricted in their most basic privilege – their freedom of movement.

Are you preparing to set up online learning , or are interested in learning more about its benefits? Then you’ve come to the right place! Get in touch for a quote or consultation!

Andrés Romberg

Andrés Romberg
Business Development Manager

With roots in Colombia, the US and Germany and years of experience in the language industry, Andrés epitomises our company’s identity. He is the trilingual Business Development Manager and first point of contact for our clients. As an ardent aviator, he spends his free time above the clouds or on the ground as a voluntary firefighter. In this blog he uses his background in psychology to analyse communication and cultural awareness in global business.

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