“Limits, like fear is often Illusion” ~ Michael Jordan
We were just about getting familiar with the ‘disruption’ caused by the changing landscape of technology, industries, and environment. And now we have a ‘new normal’ to embrace as the pandemic changes every aspect of how we approach work and life!
As we wrap our heads around the new normal of work and life, there are some important questions,we need to address. Are we able to acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions? Do we feel and show empathy towards others with whom we work? Are we able to establish and maintain positive relationships and meaningful connections? Are we able to set and achieve goals and make responsible decisions? Being socially aware, setting goals, and taking responsibility are imperative for us to maintain healthy relationships and practice self-care. When working remotely it is imperative for people to acquire and adapt new ways of learning and working together.
Even the learning function needs to upgrade and learning interventions have to be redefined to build these new attitudes and behaviours. Secondly, for a learning function to be successful in current times, which focuses on remote working and social distancing, it is important to focus on personalized learning and learner-centered environments.
As the need for personalized learning increases, ‘Asynchronous online learning’ may be the solution. It enables people to participate in discussions and assignments/projects that involve social interaction. Feedback is also given and received from all those who are participating which brings different perspectives to the learner. The advantage here is that the learner can take the course depending on the pace he/she wants, at the same time, there is hands-on experience as well as experience through collaboration leading to learning from others. This becomes a safe environment which not just helps in reflection, but also guidance, constructive criticism, and open and transparent dialogues among learners.
Learning professionals can look at five key enablers to help talent learn better, especially in current times:
- Powerful combination of creation and curation: Providing people with content which is developed in-house along with a combination of curated new content helps in building varied perspectives. The content may also be in combination of various formats such as videos, blogs, infographics, text, documents etc. The use of Bite-size learning and Microlearning can also be further increased and integrated to current learning modules.
- Design learning experiences for application: Providing the environment to apply the concepts and skills that have been learnt in a safe environment will allow the learner to practice their learning and enhance both competence and confidence. Participating in additional internal projects with guidance from coaches and mentors will also help raise the bar of their competencies and improve the combined organization capability.
- Spacing and reinforcements of learning: Longer programs can be spaced out into smaller modules – For example, a two full day workshop and be split over 4 half day sessions or 3-6 weeks online experience with a two-hour commitment to learning per week. Another method is to provide the self-paced modules of 1-2 hours to be covered between Monday to Thursday and a Collaborative session along with experts on Friday to clear doubts and learn from experiences of others. This gives people the opportunity to learn as per their convenience.
- Encourage and sustain the social learning experience: Creating Cohorts and encouraging interactions between them, Leader Connects to share experiences on various topics, Simulations, Panel discussions, helps in learning through collaboration, informal and formal feedback. Encouraging people to network, speak up in forums and write blogs / whitepapers etc. helps in broadening their knowledge and perspectives.
- Provide support with self-care: The pandemic has also caused emotions of fear or depression as there is a sudden change in environment of work along with losing support back at home. It brings a lot of stress and tension and creates confusion and chaos. During such difficult times people who are very methodical may also lose their focus. Coaching people and providing support through various means to bring them back to a routine and focus can help people rewire their minds towards, unlearn the old and learn new approaches.
If social distancing persists, digital knowledge and connecting to people globally through various digital tools will increase the footprint of social learning. Additionally, we also need to take care of information security when we are moving towards a digital learning world much faster than before.
The world is evolving with dynamic changes and hence there is a need to be creative and innovative to embrace this new normal of work.
A year ahead, people will need to sharpen their Learning Agility skills all the more – be observant of everything that is happening around, be curious to challenge status-quo, ask probing questions to understand broader and deeper, anticipate what may be coming next and be prepared to adapt quickly.