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Distance Learning: Does it really Work?

Today we're going to tell you how a real academy works, especially in this time of global crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What are the characteristics of a successful academy? What does the future have in store? Let's try to answer these questions by illustrating the example of Festo Academy.

A research on the impact of distance learning in schools carried out by McKinsey & Company - and based on data from all over the world - between March and July 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic, has highlighted a more and less consistent training gap and lower levels of participation. As expected, those who seem to pay the heaviest price are students with learning difficulties and those in low income brackets who also find it harder to access technology.

Festo's Research

A research carried out by Festo Academy on its customers / participants in the context of corporate training essentially goes in the same direction: face-to-face training still seems to be the most effective model. There are, however, distinctions to be made: the more professional profiles of the most advanced companies prefer in-person or at least blended solutions, but are also very comfortable with the virtual classroom (like students from Germany, Canada and the UK in the McKinsey report ); on the other side, the most operational profiles on shop floor and behavioral issues suffer a little more and tend to postpone activities to a time in which they will be able to carry them out in person.

Festo's Approach: Digital... with a Human Touch

In the last few years, Festo Academy has been implementing an LMS platform bound to manage and enrich both face-to-face and online activities. This has made it easier for Festo to manage the change of pace and requests that has been taking place since March 2020.
The solutions enforced in these months of pandemic are based on a "Digital with human touch" approach and include:
  • Mixed in-presence and virtual workshops and games, with small groups of maximum 10 people whenever possible
  • A prevalence of synchronous activity enhanced by self-learning pills
  • An increase of 1 to 1 proposals, in particular for professionals and managers
There is no doubt that, if compared to school experience, corporate virtual training can take advantage of additional tools, such as:
  • Cameras and monitors with professional audio management
  • Digital boards instead of flipcharts
  • Additional collaborative tools such as Lucid chart, Miro, murals typical of "war rooms" in "agile" or R&D projects

What can be improved?

There's always room for improvement, especially in the field of learning, where everything changes so quickly. Based on its experience and research, Festo Academy has thus identified a few aspects to be improved and implemented:
  • Trainers' teaching and skills as not everyone is ready for the new complexity
  • Mixed Flex solutions where in-presence and remote participants interact. According to Festo, these are the most promising solutions even in a post-pandemic future. They certainly require a careful search for balance between the various components, but they are also those with the greatest potential for growth.

 About Festo:

Festo Academy

Festo Academy is an Industrial Management School operating on the issues of industrial processes, organization and business management with Executive Masters, role paths and training initiatives.
Its mission is to support companies in expressing their maximum potential by expanding and developing the skills of their human resources.
Festo Academy and Festo Consulting are part of the multinational industrial group Festo A.G., a leader in the industrial automation sector, constantly focused on innovation and the enhancement of people.

Festo Academy is:

Affiliate of the Demand Driven institute
ATP of the Project Management Institute (PMI)
Certification body for maintenance skills (EN 15628) and fluidic technologies (CETOP)
Collaborator of Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.
Iso 9001 certified as EA37 consulting and training company


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