Adapt Through Adversity: A Lesson for the Learning & Development Industry
In the learning & development industry, there is a danger that some providers don’t always practice what we preach.
In our ever-changing world, adversity such as the recent bushfires and weather events, and the current virus outbreak, can challenge our ability to function and grow. Of course the most tragic implications here are those on our environment, human life, and health. These must be at the forefront of our mind with great sympathy and understanding of the trauma and pain these crises cause.
To some degree, these things put our day-to-day activities into perspective, and we realise some of the more fundamental aspects of our human needs. We have two choices; succumb to a potential and impending challenge that could face us? Or continue to develop as humans, to grow, to expand and to unite. To evolve and adapt rather than become victims.
As in all industries, as a consultancy whose ultimate goal is to have a significant impact on the performance of every single person we work with, we feel this is our responsibility and opportunity to creatively continue that quest, using technology and other resources in a better way than we ever have done before.
We are fortunate that humankind has developed to the extent that we have more options than ever before to connect, to engage, and to learn from each other. In the past, we have brought together the three elements of our business; live learning, learning platform functionality and digital learning content as an option to bring together immersive and blended solutions.
But now, more than ever, this is not an option; this is now the optimum way to meet our human needs to continue to grow and develop and to be our very best. The big challenge for all of us is to bring focus, humanity and accessibility to what can become a benign and lifeless experience of the dissemination of intellect without still connecting with the passion and energy within each of us.
As an industry, we need to continually adapt to face the adversity faced in this ever-changing world.
There is so much information available to us through the Internet and content sharing communities, that the real issue is to identify where the value is for us and how to leverage that value to help us achieve both personal and work goals. Alternatively, we just become addicted surfers looking for the golden nugget of inspiration, amongst the moving sands of information, but at no real value to us.
Whether we are a learning consultancy or leaders of the business, we need to find a way to make available what is relevant to the people we inspire. This has been our mission at OnTrack since we began this blended journey almost 10 years ago.
Using Chatbot artificial intelligence enables us to connect with each user and bridge the content that would add the greatest value to them, as rated by their peer group to be quality information. We can begin to create a pathway of sustainable growth, a learning journey that will take them towards their goal.
But there is another key focus and that is in response to a great quote by Ralph Nader
“The first premise of leadership is to build more leaders rather than more followers”
Simple and effective functionality that allows a leader to engage, both individually and collectively with their team, in content that would add value. This is essential to help them achieve this task of having a significant impact on the performance of each of the team. To help them think for themselves, to build greater leadership capability within their team and continue the legacy of human growth.
As humans, we have the innate desire to engage with other humans. To share ideas, to collaborate, to solve problems and challenges through this perspective and advice of others. Often it is not that we don’t have the answers within us, but we like the clarity of thinking of someone who is separated somewhat from the emotion of the situation. This can often contradict the environment we create through virtual learning experiences or even in meetings held using online meeting rooms.
We have found that by engaging creatively using all of the design aspects of some of these online meetings and training tools that we can satisfy the human need and create an experience that is not just informative but engaging, insightful and stimulating. At OnTrack, we have found firstly that more focused content sessions retain the attention much longer and that there needs to be some form of engagement from each individual attending every two minutes. Whether it be contributing through typing on the screen, using discussion boards, splitting up into meeting groups, asking questions or adding comments in the chat area, sharing a personal experience, or actual dedicated reflection time within the virtual meeting, there’s a myriad of ways to ensure that we engage as humans and create a dynamic environment.
We were given this challenge by our clients in the past, driven by travel restrictions and sometimes budget constraints and we discovered that the applied skill set is completely different to a typical meeting leader or facilitator. It is an art, just the same as delivering a face-to-face experience is an art but within a different discipline. In response to the challenge, we have found the need to invest specific time in developing the skills and even recruiting for the skills to ensure that we can respond to these needs with not just acceptable results but exceptional experiences.
In a modern generational world, we are used to being able to access information whenever we need it, in short, sharp bite-size elements. We need to be able to access great information and learning in a similar way to how we access information via YouTube clips or searching the internet.
These engagements with key snippets of learning could be driven by a meeting agenda item, a time zone triggering a cultural consideration, a location with restrictive data available, those users on a similar career path recommending content or just the fact we haven’t visited a particular topic for a long time. We need to be able to review all this off-line as well to enable us to take advantage of things like commute time.
In summary, we have the capability and the resources, we just need to focus our energies and continue to meet that fundamental need of humanity; to grow, to learn, to develop, despite the challenges and restrictions that we find ourselves in the current world.
Life is a series of millions of moments of learning. The real question is, did we notice them and grow?
OnTrack offers virtual classroom learning solutions to enable our customers to continue learning despite the challenges of an ever-changing world. Get in touch today to find out more!