New Work: Training for the digital age

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The future of training organisations, such as the Luxembourg Lifelong Learning Center of the Chamber of Employees, lies in "blended learning": a judicious mix of face-to-face courses and increasingly creative virtual sessions.

Despite the pandemic, the continuing education sector is not in crisis. For example, 5,491 people enrolled in evening classes at the Luxembourg Lifelong Learning Center (LLLC) of the Chamber of Employees in 2020, compared with 5,869 a year earlier. But what has changed significantly is the way in which the training courses are organised… "From September 2019 on, evening courses in the IT field had already been offered in blended learning, a formula that combines face-to-face and distance learning. However, in the first half of 2020, due to the health situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than two third of the evening course offer was transformed into distance learning", explains Claude Cardoso, Management Advisor of the Chamber of Employees (CSL). "On the strength of the experience gained and the positive feedback from candidates and course leaders, in the second half of 2020, almost 40 percent of evening courses were offered in blended learning or synchronous e-learning mode."

At a time when digitalisation is taking hold in all spheres of the company and requires a new organisation of work, training is not left behind. "The digital revolution is not a new subject. The growing use of the internet and new technologies within companies has pushed employees to train more and more in order to acquire new digital skills, which are themselves constantly evolving", continues Claude Cardoso. New jobs are appearing and workers must constantly adapt.

Today, digital technology is being used for continuing vocational training. The Covid-19 crisis has given a huge boost to the adoption of online collaboration tools and teleworking, which was often viewed with suspicion before, has become the norm in many companies. "For us, the challenge was to reorganise our training offer in record time, to reinvent our operating methods", explains the Management Consultant. "This crisis has allowed us to test our maturity in terms of the training courses we deliver, enabling employees to become more competent in the digital domain, but also to test our maturity in terms of the technological tools we use to effectively transmit training to the greatest number of people. This allows us to develop and propose a training offer that meets the expectations of employees as closely as possible, while not forgetting to include those who do not have access to digital tools."

However, switching from face-to-face training to digital training is not on the agenda. "This solution does not seem appropriate to us. It is necessary to be able to offer face-to-face training on the one hand, and distance learning on the other, but also mixed training to be able to best meet the needs of our learners. This mix is therefore favoured. So, face-to-face training remains very important to us. Nothing will ever replace a meeting, exchanging ideas face to face, discussing over a coffee during a break. Training also means creating a network by getting to know people from different backgrounds", adds Claude Cardoso.

"It is necessary to be able to offer face-to-face training on the one hand, and distance learning on the other, but also mixed training."

The LLLC's objective is now to improve its existing training offer and to propose new training offers in diversified formats. "The digital tools at our disposal are constantly evolving. Our profession is changing and trainers must adapt to new learning methodologies and tools in order to develop and deliver their training. In distance learning, it is necessary to sequence the courses differently, to insert quizzes into the course content, which can be offered in other formats, such as videos, etc.", explains our contact person. "We have to train ourselves to know how and when to use which tools and for what purpose. We are now taking a proactive approach. We keep a constant watch on what is being done in other countries at European or even international level, in order to provide training that enables employees to acquire the skills needed for their professional development in a constantly changing society."

Thus, thanks to e-learning or even blended learning, candidates are, more than ever, invited to construct or co-construct their knowledge and not simply receive it. The learner is more than ever a player in his or her training and absorbs part of the material in ATAWADAC mode, which stands for "AnyTime, AnyWhere, AnyDevice, AnyContent". A new way of "consuming" information that we are all familiar with today.