Editor’s Note: As we completed a challenging and unique year and entered a new one, the Training Industry editorial board asked training leaders to write their reflections on 2020 and projections for 2021. This is a series of “What has changed and what has not?” : Summing up the results of 2020 and planning for 2021, ”is the result. Also, don’t miss our infographics, “5 tips on how to turn the riots of 2020 in the direction of 2021: understanding from learning leaders”, who shares thoughts from the series.
Given the unprecedented challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the workplace, many people hope to return to a “normal” culture of face-to-face communication in 2021. And while our new standards in the workplace have drawbacks, their many pros too, especially when it comes to innovation and organizational efficiency. In fact, the trends that emerged last year will greatly enhance individual impact at each organizational level.
Rest assured that some things are normalizing. Personal experience is indispensable, needed to build trust and a strong sense of community, as well as to strengthen key relationships and read body language while talking at high stakes. Despite this, some of the changes that emerged last year, which are often seen as temporary shortcomings, are innovations that will remain. For example, organizations can achieve a lot through virtual meetings. At a minimum, they can help employees use their time by preparing, discussing, and fulfilling any goals they set for personal activities.
Accelerate online learning
Consider also the acceleration of online learning in 2020 due to the evaporation of full-time learning. It seems that every training provider has rolled out some type of virtual format. Whether they are completely online, on their own, asynchronous in formats, or synchronous formats facilitated live, these technologies have improved significantly in 2020 – and they work. Why completely go back to the old approach?
The optimistic truth is that most online programs that run on their own are much more concise than their cousins. Coaches are forced to do their best, most engaging work to help participants realize their learning goals. Instructors who conduct virtual programs with live facilitation learned manage unit groups, online chat, and phone conversations with or without manufacturers to help manage your Internet connection. These skills do not have to be practiced.
Instead of planning a return to the old way, we should use hybrid thinking. What knowledge should we retain from 2020 and use to improve and expand personal activities?
To begin with, why not ask the team that normally participated in full-time training at a personal event to go through a specialized online training program before they arrive at the event? In this way, they can use their personal time to focus on case studies, active skills development (role-playing games, etc.) and group discussions to achieve a deeper understanding and implementation for real impact. At the very least, teams can alternate selected segments of these online training programs at their own pace among live or virtual activities. They were then able to follow personal activities with virtual meetings to reinforce what participants learned and bring to mind the key initiatives that led to the training.
Several Silicon Valley companies follow this approach. They turned full-day full-time programs into a two-hour self-paced online program in four half-hour segments, each followed by a 30-minute virtual live meeting to discuss cases, discuss application options, and address issues.
Will these companies take a different approach after the pandemic? Maybe, but not necessarily. After all, this hybrid approach allows teams to participate in learning from a variety of locations without disrupting their work.
Opportunity in 2021
We have the ability to move further along the continuum from learning to performance, ensuring the transfer of learning to effective application at work. With less need to wait for a schedule to allow training in person, we can do more to provide application and immediate access to training.
So what has changed in 2021? It’s a mix, but think hybrid – use the best of the available methods, in which configuration is best for the people involved, and the goals most important to success. Training professionals can use their skills more creatively than ever before. Think of yourself as an artist who has a wide landfill that can be painted from moving in 2021 onwards.