Companies and business leaders are responsible for driving the business amid external factors or global events. In the recent developments, the haves’ and have nots’ of corporations, in terms of digital capabilities, have been surely affected by this pandemic – some positively as they are able to manage the online engagement while others have been placed at a haul due to lack of distance learning opportunities.
Maybe you have even postponed most of your learning activities, you cannot have more than 10 people in a room, and you start thinking for how long can your people be without any training?
If you are in the have nots’ group, then this is the time to explore opportunities for remote learning and take a fresh look at the future of learning and development as well as remote work; If you are in the haves’ group, then this is an opportunity to see how you can better utilize what is available in the market to engage and improve your distance learning initiatives and enhance your teams' collaborations.
As with most things in life and business, there are opportunities in the challenges that we face in the world of work. Here are some points to consider for keeping up and rebuilding your learning approach during this period:
• Interactivity – learning requires the involvement and participation of participants to retain and decode how to best use and adopt new knowledge. Traditional one-way e-learning can only ensure reinforcement of knowledge; while the interaction between a trainer to create an experience and provide feedback will ensure longer retention.
The tool to be used to provide this remote experience should allow collaborative group sessions, where people can interact, share and create content, the way it is done in physical sessions
• Methodology – transposing an in-class training into a remote interactive training requires a specific set of skills to drive engagement, attention and connection with the audience. Sharing slides remotely and with passion will not prevent attendants browsing in social media nor doing ‘work’. A well-performed remote training requires the ability to make the attendants be fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment of the interaction
• Duration – our brain can force a state of focus only for a couple of minutes; during this time the brain can process new knowledge and store for retention. Remote learning requires short planned interactions of information transfer combined with the practice for a maximum duration of 1.5 hours, beyond this point efforts on retention are meaningless
• Sustainability – while a group remote interaction can be short and needs some time to ensure a conversion into behaviours – this new behaviour needs to be reinforced with learning nudges that recap an essential point to retain and it must have a couple of actual practice activities where tracking and feedback are essential to creating long term retention and cognitive experience. The use of a digital channel is appropriate to continue the interaction through posting of material and simple text feedback. This can be easily implemented with free social tools such as Slack, WhatsApp or a simple closed Facebook group.
Some traditional training centres will have challenges to adapt to these constraints and might not be ready to fully exploit the opportunity to find a particularly convenient way to sustain the development of people in organizations.
The cost of technology and the full offer should never be more expensive than the actual average price of a face-to-face session. To compare, a 1-day in-class training could be divided into 4 sessions of 1 to 1.5 hours spread into 2 to 3 weeks with at least 1 hour weekly of interaction through a digital channel.
A MENA educational tech start-up based in Dubai “Bessern” has used this learning methodology with several corporations with outstanding results on knowledge retention, motivation, practise of new behaviours, resilience, engagement and overall performance.
Beyond just the case of the current health crisis, this approach for remote interactive learning is based on neuroscience principles applied to how adults learn the best and it can give you the opportunity to challenge the current approach and benchmark versus the level of retention, engagement and motivation to apply the new learnings.