Our tips for getting your virtual learning environment right
Once the initial shock of what lockdown meant was over and the short/mid-terms plans were in place regarding how to keep our people safe and our organisation going – many of our customers started to think about optimising the time to develop innovative learning solutions and to enable employees to invest in targeted personal growth.
On 23 March 2020, h2h had a calendar full of f2f interventions that could not take place as planned. We wanted to support our clients as they navigated the new working arrangements, helping them to do business as usual and upskilling some of their workforce for whom working from home and remote line management were perhaps entirely new concepts. We had a suite of interventions planned with one client and right from the start we were 100% committed to working with our customer to ensure that these events were not cancelled.
So how did we make it happen?
- We did not go back to the drawing board.
We had designed an immersive programme of delivery and stimulating and pragmatic content We had spent time understanding the needs of the customer and getting the key concepts and design of the programme right. We did not forget what we had learnt during the original diagnostic phase and we did not compromise on quality or water down the experience for learners just because the circumstances had changed.
“I really enjoyed the course and found it useful in equal measure and have already found myself using the tools in day-to-day life.”
- We took care of the practicalities
Firewalls, learning platforms, user capability, hardware to name just a few. We worked tirelessly with our customer, and often their IT department, to make sure that we chose the best virtual delivery platform that worked for the delegates and was compatible with any IT requirements. We made sure we issued clear instructions to our delegates and our facilitators and gave them plenty of time to familiarise themselves with the platform and explore it in full before the session.
“Although virtual learning is new for us, from my own experience it hasn’t come across as second best and the facilitators have done a great job in adapting the learning content.”
- We adapted the delivery, not the content
Of course, we had to adapt our delivery, we got creative and really thought about the online learning experience in order to enhance the positive and mitigate the negative aspects. We built in regular break times, chunked our learning, added in different media/ delivery routes and made the most of break out rooms, polls and reactions to stimulate discussion and improve interactivity amongst delegates – giving them an authentic and meaningful learning experience. Yes, the way that we do business has changed but the principles and the list of desired outcomes has not; we just needed to find a different way to make it work.
“It’s worked well online; it doesn’t matter how you run training if it’s well designed.”
- We took advantage of personalised learning opportunities
There have been some real added bonuses of delivering sessions online. We were able to take advantage of personalised learning opportunities and actively built them into the sessions to cater for the delegates individual learning styles. By combining modular, bite size on-line sessions typically with sub-group working and reflective practice, attendees were able to flex around personal circumstances and take time to digest the key learning points before applying them in a variety of different scenarios and activities.
“You did an awesome job; I’ve really enjoyed it!”
- We connected people
Some people have really welcomed the opportunity to work in a more individual way whilst others have felt quite isolated throughout this period. At a time when connectivity channels are more advanced that ever -do we ever fully switch off? -people were feeling more and more detached. Our online learning sessions gave them an opportunity to reconnect, network and re-engage with their colleagues. It also gave people a chance to see their employees as they really are in their home, with their families and pets and perhaps lose a little bit of the formality and conventions that we often find in the workplace – a chance to really get to know your peers and improve working relationships.
“It’s nice to hear and see people.”
If you have a people related development need, then now, as before, please approach us and we will explore this with you. As we start to emerge out of lockdown and restrictions are eased we will continue to work together with you to arrive at a fully bespoke solution that can be delivered either fully or partially in a virtual environment, adjusting the delivery modes as the current business climate evolves.