COVID-19: Advice for HR and L&D departments

As companies close on-site operations in response to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), there are a number of options available to employers to make sure employees use time at home as productively as possible – key amongst these is access to remote training.

The public health threat of COVID-19 has seen companies globally forced to close their office doors to limit the spread of the new virus. As a result, their business operations have had to become remote and all employees are having to work from home.

There remains a great amount of uncertainty, but encouraging normality is essential for companies to prevent any significant business damage. For Human Resources and Learning & Development departments, this means increasing usage of and experimenting with remote learning platforms.

What options are available?

There is a multitude of remote learning options available, many of which are more effective, durable and engaging than traditional classroom-based training.

Some of the remote learning options available include:


Face-to-face webinars provide the advantages of both physical and online training and enable all learners to be assembled together, without the disadvantage of geographical boundaries.

As webinars are conducted via digital technology, there is also an option to record and revert back to training too.

Some providers have even developed interactive webinars – with live role play for added immersion and engagement and breakout rooms for group work and interactivity.

Online Learning

Universally accessible, e-learning courses are a cost-effective and time-efficient solution to training, and because employees can complete courses within their own time, they allow for increased engagement and better durability.

Many e-learning courses are also provided on a learning management system offering reporting and data analytic facilities to ensure training is fully auditable.

Innovation is beginning to find its way into the eLearning market with approaches such as basing learning around drama, with learning embedded into episodes of “Box-Set” dramas to engage and immerse the learner thus avoiding the danger of ‘tick-box’ training with its associated lack of efficacy and instant forgettability!

What can we learn from the disruption?

Amidst widespread remote operations, one thing companies can learn from the disruption is that traditional corporate training is outdated. According to LinkedIn’s first annual Workplace Learning Report, 90% of business leaders believe learning & development is key to closing skill gaps, but only 8% of CEOs said they saw the business impact of existing training methods.

Video and online learning is increasingly replacing classroom-based learning and by incorporating immersive content, HR and L&D professionals can minimise learner fatigue and disengagement.

As operations return to normal, the remote learning experiments undertaken during the COVID-19 outbreak should pave the way for significant improvement in future corporate learning practices.

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