Digital learning is knowledge that is enabled, facilitated, or mediated through technology for enhanced skills, training, and development (CIPD, 2021). It can be classified into formal, informal, and blended learning. Formal digital learning refers to the delivery of formal courses, usually for a fee. Informal digital learning is linked to knowledge sharing to support informal learning. Blended or supported learning is a combination of both formal and informal methods.
The COVID-19 pandemic spiralled a sharp switch with quicker adaptation to digital learning, as well as new technologies to support digital content such as micro-learning, user-generated content, and curated content. Other driving factors for digital learning growth include technological advances such as virtual reality-based learning, increased learner familiarity, and improved access to high-speed broadband. The disruption and recession caused by the pandemic have led to resourcing considerations of cheaper, faster, and shorter development courses for employees.
Furthermore, a prevalent requirement for employees’ upskilling due to organisational and technological changes has contributed to digital learning growth. Digital learning can also be perceived as an enabler of self-paced study patterns, giving it an edge over traditional classroom methods. According to Malhotra (2021), factors influencing knowledge interactions such as expert-based trust, organisational culture maintenance, employee autonomy management, and adequate feedback must be fully considered in virtual learning settings.
In summary, effective digital learning can be achieved through two key parameters: meaningful learning and mindful learning. Mindful learning entails the balance between interpersonal collaboration and technological mediation, while meaningful learning includes creativity, immersive teaching, and impactful engagement.
Written by Dr. Awele Ohaegbu, Senior Consultant with H. Pierson Associates Limited.
CIPD. (2021). Digital learning in a post-Covid-19 economy: A literature review. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Malhotra, A. (2021). The post-pandemic future of work. Journal of Management, 47(5), 1091-1012. DOI: 10.1177/01492063211000435