Increased interest in eLearning in Oman

It has been observed that there is a year on year increase in Oman of companies adopting online Learning (or eLearning as some refer to it) as a mode of corporate education. Companies are seen to adopt online training/eLearning as an exclusive mode of training delivery or as an initiative that augments existing modes of training delivery. In either case, the evidence is indisputable that eLearning has come to stay in Oman. I have explored below some of the key reasons for the same.

As a Training manager managing blended, instructor led (ILT) and eLearning initiatives in Oman since 2004, one of the key ironies I’ve witnessed in our industry is the one following the 2008 financial meltdown: training budgets were immediately slashed however training deliverables increased many fold. This was on account of increased pressure on organizations to perform resulting in increased expectations from business leaders all over Oman to run innovative new initiatives, approach untapped markets, launch new products etc., In short, following 2008 the new world of corporate training took on a unique set of constraints and challenges unprecedented in the history of L & D.

At the same time a parallel and noteworthy trend was emerging among the workforce in Oman -increasing number of professionals -young and old, had been embracing mobile technology to stay in touch with friends, family and professional acquaintances. The pet peeve of many bosses became – my employees have no time since they now manage three phones – two of their own and one that of the office. However on the positive side, this proliferation of mobile and smart phones in Oman has had a commensurate increase in the mode of consumption of knowledge as depicted in the below statistics (what happens in 60 seconds in the internet; comparison based on selected data from Quartz| Data: Intel, GP Bullhound, Facebook, Quartz dated Nov 2013)

Image result for cloud computing

The interesting observation is that the magnitude of events happening in 60 seconds in the internet have changed and grown drastically over a mere one year period. Perhaps phenomenal and of particular relevance to L & D (which I shall cover later) are the bottom three (Google, YouTube and twitter):

Google: With 3.5 million searches per minute and a 75 % increase in self-initiated searches over a year, it can be reasonably said that people are increasingly taking responsibility to find knowledge in their areas of interest.

You Tube: With over 100 hours of videos watched per minute and a 233% increase in videos watched over a year, it can be reasonably said that people are increasingly happy to consume information a in presented in a video format

Twitter: With over 350,000 tweets made per minute, representing an increase of 250% in a year, it can be reasonably said that people are simply loving to socialize using short text messages.

We had discussed earlier that the challenges in the phase of new realities (post 2008 financial meltdown) for L & D has been that of the demand to ensure reach, timeliness and consistency with a fiercely limited budget. When we consider the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and internet technologies in the market and in particular the phenomenal consumption and exchange of knowledge/information over google, YouTube and twitter, we can see how these challenges can be perfectly surmounted using technology at a very low cost. This, I believe is the single largest reason for increasing interest in eLearning and cloud based technologies for talent management in Oman.

-Sajan Nair worked as a Training Manager at National Life and General Insurance Company (NLGIC) Oman and at National Bank of Oman NBO). He presently heads the operations for XpertLearning in Oman.

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