For years now, there has been a shift in how employers treated their employees’ work-life balance. With the shift in generations and Millennials becoming the majority of the workforce, the focus had to be moved towards their well-being, as this demographic has a rather small tolerance when it comes to stress or personal discomfort.
Apart from corporate programs, many entrepreneurs have seen and seized this opportunity, and there seemed to be no shortage of therapeutic programs with everything from horses and kittens to water coloring, yoga, or baking. And then there were probably the most lucrative of them all – the retreats.
The dream of being swept away (individually, as a couple, or with a group of friends) to a remote exotic location where one could focus on oneself has been marketed incessantly and with great results. Since getting away is not really a healthy option of the moment and all of us have experienced our world being turned upside down, there are several areas that have emerged as interesting (if not essential) for people to get through this with their wits intact.
If last time we looked at various domains that are sought-after in terms of online courses based on people’s needs to either advance their existing career or start a new one, let’s now focus our attention on those based on people’s personal lives.
Personal development was highly marketed immediately after the crisis had most of us stuck at home. Established online learning schools went overboard with promoting their courses as the best time filler for days spent indoors with an internet connection.
However, if a few months ago people were easily persuaded to attend whatever was on offer (especially if it happened to be discounted), by now they have rather specific ideas about what they want to do and why.
Some of the current popular demands include learning modules on:
- Anxiety management
- Conflict management
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Study skills
- Procrastination (namely how to stop doing it)
Education has always been important, but it has become more of everybody’s concern these days. With parents having to oversee the homeschooling, online, or hybrid education of their children, they became a lot more invested in the process. I’ve heard a lot of the opinion that parents didn’t have the first clue about how much work teachers had to put in, and now they have a newfound appreciation for their skills, efforts, and patience.
But they are also more aware of how important the role of the parent is and want to do a good job, so they are keen on learning more about:
- Cognitive development
- Child psychology
- General instructional techniques
On the same topic, teachers themselves need a lot of support and seek to build on their skills when it comes to:
- Instructional design
- Online learning
- Online presentation skills
- Educational video making
- Managing virtual classrooms
Health is obviously one of the main concerns right now. With doctors now going on active duty and the incessant talk of hospital policies, treatments, ICU beds, ventilation, immunization, contagion, and all the other things that are on the news and on social media, people have become more aware of the need to learn about these issues and take better care of themselves.
While only a few would actually consider going all in and enrolling in medical school, most want to get relevant, verified information and advice about:
- Building up the immune system
- Diet and nutrition
- Specific diets for various conditions
- Meal planning
- Therapeutic massage
Fitness is a natural addendum to health concerns since a fit body is most likely a healthy one. Apart from the physical aspect, it’s obvious that the mental state is also greatly improved by regular exercise, meeting goals, and feeling increasingly better in one’s skin.
Online fitness programs have been around for some time and had a substantial audience, but for most people going to the gym, having interactions and getting support from peers and coaches was important, and it was lost when the sheltering in place came about. Most entrepreneurs and studios quickly adapted and moved most classes online, thus securing the attendance of their members.
However, there is increasing demand from people who didn’t necessarily exercise before (or did so individually) and now feel the need to ‘join’ a class of:
- Weight loss
- Home workouts
- Survival skills
- Tae bo
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts have always been desired but usually put on the backburner. You would often hear people say, “I wish I had time to learn how to…”. We’ve now come to a point where many of us have time (whether we wish to or not) and with all the stress, anxiety and negativity we are often surrounded by, it helps to do something we are passionate (though maybe not talented) about. The thing about learning a craft or an artistic skill is that it fulfills the human need for mastery, and that has a tremendously positive effect on motivation.
Each individual has specific likes and tastes, but here are a few of the most commonly sought-after online courses in these pandemic times:
- Digital art
- Restauration techniques
- Web design
- Interior design
- Playing a musical instrument
- Musical composition
There is a lot going on right now in the world. Major shifts are still happening, and nobody knows for sure how the world will look like coming out of this crisis. However, this is also a time that many people want to use to prepare for that ‘new normal’, and online learning designers need to be proactive in offering appealing options for doing so.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.