Online learning surges amid the Covid-19 lockdown

By Chee Jo-Ey

ONLINE learning has surged as people self-quarantine at homes amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. A report by online learning platform Udemy revealed that people are relying on e-learning to upskill and pass time.

Passion topics like pilates, technical drawing and ukulele have all recorded increases while corporate workers are demonstrating immense interest in courses related to telecommuting and virtual teams as well as decision making, self-discipline and stress management.

According to Sunago Education CEO Sean Chee, there has been a three-fold growth in its business in the span of two weeks during the lockdown. “The movement restriction order has accelerated everything and educational institutions are approaching us to move things online.

We’re teaching more than 300 classes a day now and demand from corporate clients has also gone up by 30%,” he explains.

Sunago is currently focusing a lot of effort on teacher training. With the surge in demand, it has to bring in more qualified teachers and get them onboard, so it is providing lessons to train people in online teaching.

The key now amidst all these uncertainties is to learn transferable skills and finding the right gaps to fill.

“English proficiency is a huge gap and we provide proper report writing and communication skills that can be picked up quickly. We’re talking about taking just four hours of your time for a course on how to conduct business meetings in English,” adds Chee.

Learning online is the new norm as anything else. It has become second nature to us as we host virtual meetings and gatherings.

“It is definitely something that’s here to stay. Companies need to embrace online learning as the alternative measure in providing training to staff while conserving funds in this crisis. It is just easier and cheaper with e-learning. There are so many webinars available on various topics and everyone that has internet has access to them,” says Chee.

Founder of Talentbank Ben Ho observes that more people are turning to online learning to equip themselves with the skills to adapt to the new work environment and the changing economic landscape.

“The skills that people would be interested to learn are definitely more digital-oriented like online marketing and animation but also a lot of people are looking into how-to tutorials for setting up their own business,” says Ho.

During the lockdown, people still need to upskill themselves but they are more conservative with the amount they are willing to pay to sign up for a course. This is where online learning swoops in with lower costs and cheaper fees.

“You would be surprised to find out that a lot of employers are still hiring albeit specific to certain sectors like tech, e- commerce as well as sales and marketing,” adds Ho.

He foresees that there will be an increase in on-demand hiring where jobs are offered on an hourly or project basis. Ho is currently developing Skillsbank, a platform to match employers to people with the skills they need which he is planning to launch by the end of May. There will be learning features on the platform for talents registered on Skillsbank.

“Online learning provides a quick way for people to learn skills required of the current trend, that is, gig economy. Job seekers should be aggressively finding opportunities to meet potential employers online and reskill themselves.

“Our ongoing virtual career fair till the end of June features 103 employers and 600 jobs. It applies a self-managed system and is convenient for people looking for a job during the lockdown,” says Ho. – May 14, 2020

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