Did COVID-19 Change How We Learn?

By Nick Schmoyer, Vice President and Technical Director at Inspectioneering. April 28, 2022

We regularly poll the Inspectioneering audience to help us determine how to best allocate our editorial efforts. We ask readers to provide their greatest professional challenges, preferred ways to receive information, and the like. The latest version of this survey closed in January, after a period in which most of us had become accustomed to relentless Zoom meetings and pajama-casual attire.

The previous edition of the readership survey was held in March/April 2020. Recall that, on the COVID-19 timeline, this was around the time when the virus really began to accelerate in many parts of the world. Working from home was still the exception – not the rule – for many of us.

Based on the timing of the two readership surveys, can we glean any insights into how the learning habits of our audience has shifted?

The following chart summarizes Inspectioneering reader responses to the question: “Which of the following formats would you prefer to receive information or education related to your work?” The blue columns represent data from early 2020, and the red/green columns show data from the more recent survey. Almost all categories decreased (red columns) with the exception of instructional videos and webinars (green columns).

Notably, the two choices involving in-person interactivity (in-person training courses and presentations) saw the steepest declines in preference. While it’s not out of reason to question the rather unscientific and subjective approach to this survey, this change may simply represent a shifting of learning habits as we’ve become more comfortable with our new work environments.

A more interesting story to watch may be if and how these results change yet again in our next readership survey. Will the current trend towards online-based content continue, or will we see a reversal as the impact of the virus wanes?

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