The nature of the pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability and willingness for students to study. Furthermore, it has also impacted the manner by which training can be undertaken.
At London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), we are lucky to have fully-developed, online courses, but we are still affected by the lack of studio access and support from the production team due to home working.
There is a concern that for many companies, training may be regarded as a discretionary cost, and as such the current and future demand for training is likely to be affected. The nature of professional training will protect core courses to some degree as the nature of the training is often a fundamental aspect of a student’s employment package, and as such, is likely to be protected.
Furthermore, institutions providing well-established online courses have benefitted from some clients availing of themselves of their courses as a replacement for classroom tuition that is currently not possible.
Regarding managing the team in the current climate, there are certainly issues regarding the development of new products and maintaining existing products. We strive to ensure that the visual quality of our content matches the excellence of the technical quality, and hence we need professional recording and editing facilities, and these have been absent.
We have however, been able to maintain online training of a quality through innovation and a ‘can do’ attitude. Simply, tutors have been pushed to take on more administrative work to ensure that students do not miss out. As an additional advantage, this offers greater flexibility allowed by home working to offer courses during the day as well as during the evening and at weekends.
The future is an uncertain place for all companies at present, and it is difficult to know when classroom courses will start again, and whether those courses will attract demand from students. Furthermore, prolonged working from home has been difficult and stressful for staff and academics.
My perspective is that exam training will be affected for the long-term by the pandemic, and that online learning and training will become very much the new norm. A well-designed and delivered online course is in many ways more efficient and effective than a classroom course. It has the advantage of being available and accessible at a time that suits students, which is very much the manner of consumption for learners today.
Classroom provision has always been seen as the premium product up to this point, but I feel that this option will be less attractive going forward given social distancing issues and travel to and from the campus, particularly where students are more likely to be working from home.
Rob Sowerby is professional courses director at London School of Business and Finance (LSBF)