As we emerge from the pandemic’s shadow, what lessons can we as Chief Learning Officers and learning professionals learn from the past two years?
1. Facilitate choice
It may seem tempting but going back to where we were isn’t an option. Hybrid working and hybrid learning are here to stay. We may have grown tired of Zoom, but we’ve discovered that technology and social media keep people connected even in the bleakest of times.
From a learning perspective working remotely during the pandemic has been a massive stress test of learning tech. And, sure, some of it’s been found wanting, but as people re-evaluate their working lives and consider what they want, learning tech offers plenty of options.
Enforced working from home has offered people choices they didn’t realize they had. Some will have concluded they’re missing out, career-wise and socially, not gathering together in a shared workplace. Others don’t miss the commute. And others find that they can freelance from home and do a mix of jobs for different clients. These are work-life balance choices.
Flexible learning solutions facilitate and support those choices and benefit both the organization and its people. Meeting your employees’ needs and respecting their choices not only improves morale but helps drive better performance too.
2. Offer a personal experience
What we’ve also come to realize is that as people worked in isolation one size, one process doesn’t fit all. Learning and development need to focus more on individuals’ motivation, goals, and progress. Greater personalization of learning with individual learning pathways better addresses their needs.
People’s experiences of the last two years have led them to focus on just that: experience. The experience of learning matters as much as the outcomes. Think about introducing a Learning Experience Platform to power your digital learning. LXPs offer more options and accommodate the way people prefer to learn. They make learning a social, more engaging, and impactful experience.
3. Put all that content to use
One of the concrete legacies from lockdown is we’re left with a mass of digital learning assets. Meetings were recorded, presentations given online, webinars replaced seminars, PDFs and PowerPoints were circulated, discussion threads were generated. Now you have that stuff, you should spend time figuring out how to use it, how to curate it, and set out guidelines for how to produce more of it, but better.
A lot of this content was created ad hoc, on the fly. A gap emerged and needed to be plugged. So, another lesson we’ve learned is that quick, small, informal bits of learning can be easy to create (just think of what you can do on your phone) and can be as effective as something that’s been designed by an L&D team.
Now we realize that knowledge can be shared quickly and effectively, let’s think about creating informal content as a key part of your learning strategy. In a volatile job market and with a skills shortage, capturing and sharing knowledge that’s in the heads of experienced staff is a no-brainer.
4. Keep learning in the workflow
Remote working and learning have taught us a lesson we can apply even now when we’re no longer physically distant. Learning can easily be delivered outside the classroom and outside of a formal course. That means it can be made accessible in the workflow at the point where it’s needed. The learner may not be truly distant, but the connectivity that we relied on to keep people in the loop from home equally works to connect them while they’re doing their job. Mobile learning can support people as they return to working on the move.
5. Future proof
The biggest lesson from lockdown we can draw is to be ready for the next crisis. The response to the challenges of lockdown was immense, but it was by necessity reactive. So, how do you future-proof learning and development to pre-empt change? Put your learning strategy on the front foot by facilitating flexibility and agility in the design, delivery, and implementation of learning. Consider deploying an LMS or LXP to store, manage and deliver learning. Use the analytics function to track progress and identify gaps – in skills and content. Offer regular upskilling and reskilling opportunities and make learning content accessible 24/7 in a variety of formats, in bite-size chunks and across devices. Make your training demand-led and learner-centric. Encourage a culture of learning that starts at onboarding and is reflected and championed by managers and leaders. And make learning not just the responsibility of the CLO but incumbent on all employees in positions of influence.
To find out more on how you can help your organization move forward to the post-pandemic era, get in touch now.
Rob is Learning Pool’s Head of Marketing, providing marketing leadership across all facets of Learning Pool’s brand, products and technologies.
He started his marketing career in the late ’90s, with significant time spent working in the media sector and is particularly skilled in Marketing Management, Digital Strategy, Research and Market Planning.
Rob holds a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Marketing Management from Manchester Metropolitan University. He now spends most of his time working out how to clearly communicate our ever-growing range of learning technology solutions to interested audiences in Europe and across the US.
Away from the office, Rob tries to balance family life with a passion for cycling, hiking, travelling and all things outdoors.