3 Ways eLearning Is Helping With Diversity
Today’s workforces and professional environments look formatively different from what they did 50, 20, or even 10 years ago. Though this has required adaptation and caused daunting shifts in some cases, the changes we’ve seen across industries in the last decade are making it possible for more and more people to access careers that would have been difficult or impossible in the past. This has been propelled by a number of widespread changes in how industries operate. However, one change, in particular, is helping to increase diversity and accessibility in a wide number of industries: the advent of eLearning.
What Is eLearning And How Does It Work?
For those not familiar, eLearning refers to forms of education that are consumed virtually, or digitally, via the internet. This can range all the way from short, stand-alone, webinar-style lessons to entire undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs. Much of the technology utilized in various eLearning instances has rapidly advanced or come to exist in the last 5-10 years.
eLearning in its current form wouldn’t have been practically feasible for many people, even five years ago. But, because of the increasing ubiquity of digital devices owned by the average consumer, the rapidly increasing availability of high-speed internet, the increase in consumer hardware capacity that ranges from computer processors to high-quality cameras and webcams, the sudden need for eLearning offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing respect that it is receiving in academic and professional spheres, eLearning has never been more viable or accessible. Also, the number of people engaging with eLearning in its various forms has increased substantially over the past handful of years and shows no signs of slowing.
Why Is Diversity Important In The Workplace?
Diversity has become a buzzword in many corporate and professional climates during the past decade. While some decision-makers across industries aren’t interested in engaging with diversity initiatives, a growing critical mass within the corporate and for-profit sectors (as well as many other systems and institutions across our society today), has placed increased value on creating more diverse teams and workforces. Increasing the diversity of an organization can create a number of tangible benefits, and strategies to attract more representative talent are becoming more and more prevalent. Organizations around the globe are looking for ways to create more diverse cultures and teams. It might seem like a big statement, however, the growing prevalence of eLearning is actually affecting diversity within the workplace in substantial ways. Here are just a few of the reasons that eLearning can actually propel workplace diversity.
Reasons Why eLearning Can Help Companies With Diversity
1. Necessary Training Becomes Available Irrespective Of Location
Because the world operates on an increasingly global scale, it is more and more attractive to businesses in a wide variety of industries to hire internationally. Remote work is now easier to manage than ever, and it is easily workable for a variety of industries to hire team members that might be located on the other side of the world. However, for industries and roles that require proprietary training, it is obviously not often practical to put new hires on international flights to attend class or participate in training sessions. eLearning is the missing piece that can solve that problem. eLearning platforms and offerings make it possible to deliver training remotely and can make educational material available to anyone around the globe with sufficient internet access. Now, employers can hire remote employees and deliver to them all the training they need via virtual eLearning platforms.
2. Changes The Learning Environment And Lessens The Weight Of Historical Stigmas
Historical assumptions and stereotypes are still alive and well in many of today’s industries. It’s still a surprise to many people when a woman says she works as a mechanical engineer. Also, many people still raise their eyebrows if a man walks into an examination room wearing nursing scrubs.
These stereotypes are often enough to deter people from pursuing careers they aspire to, simply because of the pressure or discomfort they anticipate experiencing. This begins with training or schooling. The prospect of spending four years in college classrooms with groups of people that don’t look like them, or who may think they don’t belong, can keep many talented future professionals from pursuing the career they want or think they would excel in.
eLearning environments have the capacity to remove those deterrents. Virtual college degrees can be completed fully remotely for countless professions in today’s tech-ready educational landscape. This can help minority identities train for jobs they want, without having to navigate the frustrating or discouraging parts of conventional education that might have deterred them.
3. More Careers Are More Accessible For More People
It is not uncommon for today’s professionals to move through multiple completely separate careers during their lifetime. It is also not uncommon for many individuals to step out of careers for a season (for instance, to care for a family member, travel, or start a family), and hope to return to a professional role later in life. For previous generations, these kinds of shifts and pivots would have been difficult or impossible. Part of that barrier has often been accessing the training or schooling necessary to pursue those careers. As a parent or an individual with a set lifestyle or responsibilities, conventional college educations are often difficult or impossible to complete.
eLearning offerings have significantly decreased the barriers to education that would have kept many people out of professional careers in previous decades. Further, many of those people fit into demographics that have historically been minorities within the workforce. Women, parents, older professionals, racial and ethnic minority individuals, and other minority demographics often face the steepest barriers to accessing education and obtaining quality jobs.
Because eLearning can decrease the above barriers and make it much more possible for a wider variety of demographics to become qualified for work, it contributes to making a more diverse workforce possible.