"Get out of my way, I'm a Head of L&D and everything needs to be digital... now!"
An odd way to start a blog. I'm neither a Head of L&D (although I used to be) and I don't believe that everything needs to be digital right now. Even more strange... we launched Acceler8 Digital this week.
Have I completely lost my mind? Some would argue that happened a long time ago but I would argue that I've never been clearer about what we need to do in the world of learning.
Everyone is jumping on to video calls, I've been hosting 'virtual cuppas' and they are full of people just craving some human interaction. There's been a knee jerk in the sector to convert everything we have to online. 'Experts' are proclaiming that classroom training is dead, the world will never be the same again.
I've been talking to our clients - the people that really understand what is going on out there and I've got their insight (mixed with my own thoughts) on what the future might hold.
Let's look at what I think will really happen. First of all, online training isn't the answer to every challenge, in every sector. Humans have hundred of ways of interacting with each other and interpreting knowledge. The clever L&D professionals are planning for the future. They are considering the best approach to take when the new world order becomes clear. I've had a lengthy conversation this week about what that future might look like with a client. We looked at everything they currently had in their offering, where any talent gaps might be, which skills would be most useful for leaders, managers and operators in the future, and we started exploring what that framework might look like. I asked about online learning and the client response was "if we just convert everything we have to online, we will be left with a load of redundant content when all this is over and we get people interacting face to face again. They will remember me forcing e-learning on them and they will rebel against it after'.
That got me thinking about what the strategy should be for them. We continued our conversation and we've identified the learning that would work well in a digital format, with online delivery and with short delivery times. We looked at where self-learn could work well and we looked at which of the offerings and future needs would benefit from human interaction in a classroom.
The result of that call? The beginning of a really well rounded learning strategy that supports the organisations goals and provides access to learning for everyone, in a way that they can enjoy and learn from effectively.
We are going to continue working with this client on what that looks like and the good news is, they are not alone. We've started a project this week for a digital session in career planning and resilience - being designed for an organisation that wants to continue investment in their people during these tough times. We've also picked up design work from two new clients who are planning ahead for the Autumn and for next year. They've recognised that they will need to welcome their furloughed employees back to work and have commissioned a short 're-induction' - which they want to do face to face. We are creating a really easy to play game that delivers those objectives and re-engages their employees. That is nearly finished and will be ready to go as soon as they are. They are a business that is effectively closed - and still investing in their people. The L&D teams that are planning will see the benefit far quicker than those playing catchup.
We then looked at what digital really meant. For many organisations it's currently a 'virtual classroom'. This is great if you have a skilled facilitator in the session - there would be challenges for anyone that isn't skilled in that format of delivery. Easily rectified - there are online 'experts' everywhere offering facilitation training. You've then got the self-learn packages for tablets, mobiles etc. These are great. I'm a massive fan of technology to deliver learning when it's done brilliantly. We know one company (based near us in Brighton) that deliver amazing app learning experiences that can cover a wide audience and engage in short bursts. We can put you in touch and we fully intend working with them when our clients could benefit from that tech.
I've seen some great examples in the commercial world too. The team at Commercial Express have a dynamite digital offering. Check them out on LinkedIn if you want to see what they are up to. Jonathan - we WILL work with you one day!
The human element is at our core. Our purpose of 'Be Happy. Be Human' is more important than it ever has been before. That's why it's taken time for us to get our digital offer right. On a personal note, I had to be sure that we could deliver it in a human way at every level. I think we've achieved that. I'm delighted that we've launched it and believe that it complements our other approaches brilliantly. Where we need an extra layer of innovation, we've already got the partners lined up to collaborate with so that our client gets the best, brain-friendly learning from Acceler8 - no matter which approach they take.
Footnote: This list was written and scheduled 31st March 2020.