Shifting Online: How to Support Your Learning Community During Crisis

Across the country, colleges and universities were forced to flip the switch to distance learning almost overnight. For many, this was not an easy switch.

In a recent article about the need for online education during the COVID-19 outbreak, The New York Times stated that “online education accomplishes at least three distinct things: distance, scale and personalization.”

Students need courses that are not just accessible, but also well designed—courses that will fully prepare them to learn during situations like this. While that may seem like a tall order, here’s how you can scale your online continuing education program:

Expand your online catalog and map courses to your on-campus programs

This crisis caught many off guard. You try to plan for all possible learning disruptions, but it is hard to be fully prepared for something of this magnitude. 

But, there’s good news. Expanding your online continuing education catalog is one of the most direct ways to reach people in your community, especially those who expected to take on-campus classes. To serve a broader number of learners, we recommend doing the following (if you don’t already):

We continually update our catalogs to reflect changes in various industries and local job markets. So, by expanding your catalog offerings, you can instantly roll out courses that compliment what students were studying on campus.

While there was no way to truly prepare, there is a way to react to this crisis. Right now, the primary goal of every higher education institution should be to continue providing quality education and ensuring the safety of its students.

Learn more about expanding your catalog.

Market online courses to your student population

One of the many problems institutions are facing in this crisis is the abrupt end to campus-based learning. Students and faculty were forced to leave before a plan could be formed for the remainder of the semester. This presents a number of challenges, including ensuring that mitigation plans are properly communicated as they are rolled out.

Our digital, email and print marketing resources are ideal for promptly communicating and marketing your online courses to students. We also provide you with detailed course descriptions, branding guidelines to ensure the student portals look and feel like your institution.

Beyond this, we provide best practices for working in a distance learning format, as well as high-touch service and access to real-time student data and reporting.

Access the COVID-19 marketing toolkit.

Identify and promote skills that align with working remotely

Remote work was already on the rise, but it became standard almost over night. Huge numbers of Americans now find themselves in a remote work situation, with many more. expected to “work from home” in the coming weeks.

However, some human resource experts predict a shift to remote work as the norm after the pandemic subsides. In fact, FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics reported that the number of remote workers grew 44% in the five years before this crisis. It is increasingly important that institutions are preparing students to perform well in remote work environments.

Courses like Keys to Effective Communication, Individual Excellence and the Fundamentals of Supervision and Management can be extremely helpful in our current work climate.

Look toward the future of online learning

Online learning shouldn’t stop when on-campus classes start back up.

Our online courses are continuously updated and tested for quality and positive outcomes. Most importantly, offering a robust online catalog going forward simply means that you can reach more learners. Today’s pandemic showed the need for tomorrow’s flexible learning solution, so as learning needs and challenges evolve you should evolve with it. 

When this situation subsides, there will be economic recovery efforts that rely on workforce and skills training — which you can start providing immediately. Pulling certain levers right now (expanding your catalog and marketing your courses) is the best way to help learners in need of flexible education now and in the future. 

For more information on expanding your online catalog, please reach out to your account manager.


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