The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has fundamentally changed our world in just a few short months. While so much is still unknown, one thing is certain: Organizations will be facing more disruptive change in the next 20 months than they have in the past 20 years.

The way we learn, lead, and work, which was already undergoing a transformation, must be quickly adapted to meet the accelerated changes brought about by the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic aftermath have disrupted nearly every facet of the organization, including training and development – a critical activity for organizations to stay competitive and thrive. With most travel eliminated, face-to-face training programs have been put on hold or cancelled, and HR leaders are dealing with the fallout from pay cuts, furloughs and job eliminations.

As we move out of the immediate crisis and into the recovery, organizations are rethinking their L&D strategies and focusing on the advantages of online learning for leadership development.

High-performing organizations know that retaining and developing leadership capacity remains their top talent challenge, and that continuing with their leadership development efforts will be crucial for not only weathering the current storm, but to the long-term success of the organization.

Having well-developed and effective leadership at all levels of the organization will be important as organizations navigate through the crisis and position the business for recovery and growth. It’s imperative that organizations continue with their leadership development efforts, despite the current challenges of conducting face-to-face development programs due to limited offerings, reduced capacity, and travel restrictions.

Companies that wait for the return of face-to-face training run the risk of falling behind those competitors who continue developing their leaders through other methods. In fact, the results of our market study found that 82% of organizations believe that investing in leadership training and development gives them a competitive advantage.

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The Shift to Online Learning

While online learning was an established and well-used delivery method prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, it quickly became the only developmental delivery method as countries went into quarantine and issued stay at home orders.

Like most everything else, all face-to-face delivery of leadership development activities ceased, and organizations found themselves looking for alternatives to their in-person initiatives. Some quickly pivoted to live online delivery for training and development.

Other organizations were more skeptical of the advantages of online learning. In many cases these organizations haven’t had any previous experience with online learning and are unfamiliar with how it works and the potential benefits. Others may have had an unsatisfactory experience with subpar online learning in the past, or they may not be convinced that the advantages of online learning can match what’s achieved with face-to-face training.

The reality is that your organization cannot risk waiting for face-to-face programs to come back before resuming your development efforts. Online learning is here to stay, and fortunately, our research shows that our live online leadership development programs create similar levels of results as our face-to-face programs.

Advantages of Online Learning vs Face-to-Face in Our Leadership Development Programs

Our clients often ask about the impact of online leadership development versus more traditional face-to-face delivery. Our ongoing research at CCL continues to show that satisfaction with leadership development delivered virtually is nearly the same as a face-to-face experience.

We’ve seen consistent results between our face-to-face and live online program offerings in all areas, including client satisfaction, learning effectiveness, and likelihood to recommend to a colleague.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the 2 methodologies for CCL participants from the past 2 years:

2018-2020 Live Online Face-to-Face
Overall Satisfaction 93% 99%
Likelihood to Recommend 96% 99%
For live online n=827, for face-to-face n=2,879

We’ve seen similar positive results for achieving learning objectives and being applicable to the participants’ work.

We heard equally from participants in both delivery methods that their program met the promised learning objectives, and they felt similarly confident about their abilities to apply the knowledge and skills gained in their programs to both their job, as well as to their organization’s success.

“Our participants were pleasantly surprised at the structure and effectiveness of the virtual program, and most enjoyed collaborating and learning from colleagues across the global organization.”

− Angela Spears, Learning Consultant, Pitney Bowes

Both formats were able to deliver a meaningful and engaging learning experience.

Additionally, both our live online and face-to-face program participants said that our programs were able to deliver a meaningful learning experience, with similar average ratings for both methodologies on a 5-point scale.

Our live online programs contain many of the same elements and experiences that happen in our widely-recognized face-to-face programs. Small group discussions, 360-degree feedback, and personal one-on-one coaching are just some of the human-centered activities that we’re able to duplicate virtually, making live online as close to a face-to-face program experience as possible.

In addition, nearly all participants (98%) rated CCL’s live online leadership solutions as equally or more engaging compared to other online leadership programs they have experienced.

graph showing comparison of CCL live online and face-to-face programs and the advantages of online learning for leadership development

Participants in both face-to-face and online delivery were highly satisfied with the faculty that delivered their training program, providing further evidence that CCL faculty are able to deliver a highly engaging and meaningful learning experience in an online format, as well as in-person.

A confusing or overly-technical user experience is often one of biggest criticisms of an online leadership development experience. According to our participants, that is not the case with our live online leadership solutions. Most participants (94%) reported that they found the CCL live online programs easy to access, use, and navigate.

As the workplace has become more virtual, so have our leadership development solutions. Our expansive portfolio of innovative online learning experiences immerses participants in compelling conversations, peer-learning exercises, and personalized attention from the best leadership experts in the world. Our curated, data-driven, and structured online learning journeys will create the impact that you’re looking for, and generate the results that matter most to you and your organization.

Advantages of Online Learning for Leadership Development

In addition to having high participant engagement levels and similar impact as face-to-face programs, our online leadership development solutions also offer additional benefits to the organization. They’re easily scalable and can be delivered to any number of leaders. These programs are convenient for your organization’s leaders in that they are able to participate from any location in the world and do not require additional travel expenses, making it possible for your people to learn leadership skills online and transform without travel.

At CCL, we’re able to customize and personalize an online leadership journey that’s specifically built for your organization and its leaders. Most importantly, online leadership development is a safe and effective way for your organization to continue its development efforts without jeopardizing the health and safety of your organization’s top leadership talent.

The Effectiveness of Our Virtual Leadership Development

For over a decade, we’ve partnered with thousands of clients to drive performance through online leadership development. We know what makes leaders succeed and our online leadership development provides actionable steps for addressing today’s complex leadership challenges.

Our solutions:

  • Flex with organizational needs
  • Integrate seamlessly into existing development initiatives
  • Can be customized to achieve business impact and results that matter to you and your organization

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Whether you’re looking for a customized online program, open-enrollment courses, virtual executive coaching, assessment certification, or a mix of self-directed and moderated options, we can partner with you to create an online leadership solution designed to fit your schedule, your style, and your organization’s unique needs. Explore our online leadership development options for leaders at every level.

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