Coronavirus is forcing organisations to re-think their digital strategies. This may be a good thing.

Nick Ramsay

Typically when we talk about disruption in digital learning, we’re talking about a new technology or a startup firm with a unique offering taking the industry by storm. Novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has proved to be a shocking disruptor to global travel, stock markets, and the way we work.

Full disclosure: we don’t condone panic or fear mongering about coronavirus (or anything else, really) here at Junction-18. But, the impact that COVID-19 is having on businesses and the global markets is undeniable.

Work and learning environments are being disrupted worldwide due to mandatory quarantines and an abundance of caution. Bosses at Facebook and Google have now instructed their employees work from homeHarvard University has also just announcedthat its classes will be held remotely after the spring holidays. Stock markets and currencies are taking hits left and right.

While technology companies seem inherently well-equipped to handle a sudden change in work environment, many other organisations have already realised that they are unprepared for a crisis like novel Coronavirus.

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Customers have approached us in recent weeks with urgent concerns, not about new courses, but for consultations about how they can quickly prepare for the possibility of remote working with minimal disruption to the classroom portion of their ongoing learning and development programmes.

As a tool to minimise disruption to learning, one option many customers are considering is virtual classrooms. Virtual classrooms provide an online space for trainers and subject matter experts to connect real-time with learners and when well thought out, can be one facet of an effective blended learning programme, along with e-learning course.

Virtual classrooms can be an inexpensive alternative to face-to-face training, reducing the carbon footprint of blended learning programmes and increasing accessibility, not only for remote workers, but also employees with disabilities or other health conditions that make travel to training facilities cumbersome.

While this isn’t a service that Junction-18 provides, we have a reputable partner who does and can advise on the process of adopting this solution as seamlessly as possible.

Digital learning/e-learning programmes are another option, albeit can sometimes have a slightly longer lead time (depending on volume of content, SME availability, etc) although there are some more “rapid” solutions available that would work for any urgent requirements. 

Disruptive external drivers often force us to reconsider the way we’ve always done things. The impact of Coronavirus is no different. Many organisations from publicly traded global companies to institutions of higher education are now re-examining their digital strategies. I hope that as they do, they will use this time to think longer term. Think proactively about how technology can help their organisations interact and communicate with customers, employees, learners and suppliers with minimal disruption while still maintaining strong social relationships. 

For up to date information on COVID-19, please visit the World Health Organisation updates page on the virus here

If you are in an area affected by COVID-19 and have immediate concerns about upcoming classroom learning, please message me privately and I'll be happy to give some advice.