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Mattias Schwarz is the managing director of Berlitz in Germany. Schwarz studied economics and linguistics and has been a member of the management board since 2007 and spokesman for the management board of Berlitz Deutschland GmbH since September 2017. In addition, in his role as regional director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, he is responsible for 230 centers in a total of 45 countries. More than 20 years ago he started his Berlitz journey as Center Director in Mainz. More information at berlitz.de

Digital training in companies: Shaping the future now

Digital online training is becoming more and more important in companies. In shaping the future, employers need to draw the right conclusions from the lockdowns.

The lesson from Corona: organizational forms in companies have to change

Political restrictions have been hovering over companies and employees like a sword of Damocles since March 2020. Even if at some point there are no further lockdowns with the reason "Corona" - it is more than likely - that further measures will be imposed in the future with other reasons that have serious effects on work processes, the cooperation of teams and superiors as well as further training. Companies and employees should therefore prepare as well as possible for such a scenario now.

The organizational form in the company has to change so that employees can work flexibly from home. Functioning digital infrastructures and corresponding technologies are required for this - in the company and at home with the employees. Only then can employees work effectively and receive further training from home. While the employees have so far mostly gone to the company or to a training service provider, the question now is: Should the language or technical training take place digitally, blended, hybrid or face-to-face?

Digital further education: The status quo in companies is different

As a globally active training service provider for 28 of the 30 DAX companies, 36 of the 60 MDAX companies and thousands of medium-sized companies in the field of language and technical training, we have found that online training is new territory for some, others have already gained a lot of experience with it.

Anyone who opens up to the new learning formats will experience a completely new world of learning. The combination of known and new training formats offers a wide range of options: There are interactive online programs with which you can learn completely independently and very flexibly. Virtual learning, on the other hand, takes place live with a trainer in the online training room. Finally, hybrid learning connects and combines the two previous forms of learning. I venture a prognosis: In the future there will be a strong coexistence of online and face-to-face training.

Home office changes companies

Due to the inevitable spread of home offices, the way of working has changed overnight for many who have previously worked completely or predominantly in their company. That was and is a learning process, not only for the employees, but also for managers and the companies themselves. Suddenly, the teams are no longer available on site, and projects are controlled remotely. That calls for quick and flexible solutions.

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In times of crisis and the current “distance working”, honest communication is an important drive for successful teamwork. Both employees and managers should communicate openly and honestly with one another. More understanding among one another helps, because everyone's work has changed significantly since spring 2020 and familiar routines have been eliminated.

The crisis as a catalyst for agile work

Not a new term, but increasingly of great importance, is agile working in order to react quickly, work flexibly and a new hands-on mentality in the management area without getting lost in tools. Reacting calmly and flexibly to changes together and treating each other honestly: This helps to successfully navigate through turbulent waters together.

In spite of all the economic upheavals, the current crisis acts like a catalyst in many areas. The topic of digitization is just as much a part of it as changing the work environment. It is important to openly meet the “New Normal” as a company and to meet the changes as an opportunity. Managers and HR managers should set an example.

What forms of digital further education are there?

It is important that employees understand what is hidden behind the different terms in the field of continuing education:

  • "E-learning" summarizes everything that is part of self-learning, that is, independent learning via an online platform.
  • "Learn live online" means that the trainer and "pupil" meet for a lesson in a virtual space.
  • With "blended learning" or hybrid learning, some of the lessons take place live on site in direct cooperation in the company or at the training service provider, while others take place digitally or virtually.
  • There is also the purely digital version, in which live online training is supplemented with e-learning units.

Conclusion: The need for further training is still high

The need for further training remains high. Although the ifo business climate index has consistently deteriorated in the past few months and individual sectors have been hit very hard at the moment, core sectors are still showing themselves to be resilient, at least at the moment. Courses that help to better cope with the complexity of the world of work and the ever-increasing globalization are particularly in demand. These include training courses on "How do I lead a virtual team", "Remote Leadership", "Agile into the future" and "Work 4.0" as well as "resilience at work". However, as has been the case for years, foreign language skills in working life are right at the forefront.

Foreign languages ​​themselves have become a key qualification in many jobs and an integral part of everyday work, with English being the most frequently used foreign language. Around 68 percent of those in employment in Germany require knowledge of foreign languages, with around 46 percent requiring basic knowledge and around 22 percent specialist knowledge. Many linguistic and specialist training opportunities are also partially funded by the state. You can find all information and addresses at https://www.berlitz.de.

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