Online Learning: What HR Leaders Need to Know

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This is a guest post by Robin Hills. 

Since the pandemic, online learning has become recognised not merely as an emergency solution to more traditional types of learning but as a catalyst transforming education into an inclusive, personalised and flexible enterprise. In addition, the convergence of accessible high-speed internet, interactive multimedia tools, and adaptive learning platforms have changed the way we acquire knowledge. As a result of this education revolution, more and more HR leaders are seeking quality online training for their employees. But what should they be looking for?

The Impact of Online Learning on Professional Training

Firstly, how training adds value or contributes to an organisation’s profitability is an important consideration. Executives and HR professionals are keen that staff are engaged, productive, and able to cope with change to ensure they deliver the results the business needs, but financial considerations such as staff absence, travel, and overnight accommodation limit traditional training options. 

Online learning reduces many of these cost concerns, turning online education into a thriving global industry predicted to be worth $375 billion by 2026. Additionally, decreasing attention spans, changing preferences for how information is delivered, and new knowledge about how we learn have helped boost the popularity of online learning. Indeed, all these factors drive the requirement for the short, snappy and engaging content that works best online.

The Benefits of Online Learning

Online learning is an effective way to deliver information and data uniformly to many people and develop easily applicable skills. Unfortunately, computer-based training and e-learning can often be dull and uninspiring, with high dropout and low completion rates, but online learning does not have to be another form of “death by PowerPoint”. 

The good news is that software advances mean that interactive, engaging video and animation content can be quickly developed. The best courses have built-in methods to test the knowledge and understanding of learners. Gamification of online learning allows progress to be seen, tracked and rewarded by the trainer, which encourages the learner. For example, many quality online courses are constructed using high-definition video with crisp audio supported by well-made training activities, exercises and quizzes. Inclusive courses use closed captions for people who are hard of hearing and accessible PDFs for people with visual impairments. They are updated as techniques improve and further presentation methods become available.  

Another benefit of online learning is that courses are available around the clock from anywhere worldwide, meaning learners can get their training wherever they happen to be. They can learn at their own pace, at whatever time suits them, and review and revisit the material often.

What to Look for in an Online Course 

In a rapidly evolving professional landscape, soft skills, such as communication skills, empathy and resilience, are being rebranded as power skills to accurately reflect their transformative influence in driving personal and organisational success. Online courses can be practical; however, emotional intelligence and leadership can’t be developed just by watching a few video lectures.

Woman teaching an online class

Here are six ways that online training can support soft skill development:

  • Incorporate revolutionary methods into packages helping learners to work on relevant workplace issues.

  • Present the most up-to-date information from the latest research and evidence.

  • Utilise several highly effective advanced behavioural techniques that challenge thinking and generate alternative strategies.

  • Develop leadership and emotional intelligence skills whereby learners can identify and replace unhelpful thinking patterns and habits through graded task assignments, planning and goal setting.

  • Use psychometrics and one-to-one coaching delivered live or virtually. 

  • Plan live webinars and discussion forums to help learners share their experiences and learn from each other. One advantage here is that people can learn about the issues and challenges of the assignment in different countries and cultures. 

A Tailored Learning Journey

In conclusion, the timeframe for working through an online course will vary from person to person, dependent upon their skills, experience and circumstances. Completion can be a few weeks, with progress reviews reinforcing the material before moving forward. These reviews can take place at any time throughout the course. Ultimately, managers can utilise insights and learning as a coaching catalyst or discussion framework—ideally, in building a follow-up phase to reinforce the material and generate new ways of thinking.

Are you looking for effective online training?

Ei4Change offers online self-paced courses that teach you how to apply
emotional intelligence skills in any situation.

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Robin Hills

Managing Director of Ei4Change (Show more)
Robin Hills is the Managing Director of Ei4Change, a Lancashire based company teaching a range of online emotional intelligence courses to 400,000+ students in over 195 countries. Ei4Change offers a range of emotional intelligence online courses approved by The Institute of Leadership. (Show less)


Robin Hills is the Managing Director of Ei4Change, a Lancashire based company teaching a range of online emotional intelligence courses to 400,000+ students in over 195 countries. Ei4Change offers a range of emotional intelligence online courses approved by The Institute of Leadership.