The COVID-19 pandemic has required a dramatic shift in ways of working. For many learning and development professionals, this has meant a rapid change in the use of digital learning technology.
Key challenges and solutions
Some of the main challenges or barriers encountered by L&D professionals during the pandemic include:
- lack of confidence and the need to upskill to facilitate online learning effectively
- reduced natural interactivity and rapport-building among learning groups
- self-doubt due to the different sensory cues from the online learning environment compared to the more familiar face-to-face environment
- mental and physical exhaustion associated with managing new technology platforms
- clients’ reluctance to invest in new learning content.
In response, the key approaches that were taken to overcome the challenges include:
- renewing their focus on learning and experimenting with new skills and approaches
- stepping outside their comfort zone to discover new strategies that enhance interaction
- requesting feedback and evaluating what works and what doesn’t to continuously improve their offering
- reprioritising one’s own health and wellbeing
- demonstrating the value of online learning to keep existing clients on board.
Practical tips for delivering successful digital L&D
Drawing on the insights, some practical tips for practitioners are:
- actively promote collaboration and social learning opportunities throughout online learning – use technical tools to promote interaction, including breakout rooms, polls, whiteboards and chat boxes
- avoid direct conversion of in-person to digital learning – reduce and simplify content where needed
- be prepared to show your own ‘humanness’ – learners will take cues from you and be more likely to interact if they feel safe
- learn from failures, show courage in piloting new approaches, and be kind to yourself
- play a collaborative, consultative role with clients, using experience and insight to inform investment and decision-making
- look to the future and identify where you can add value to support organisational change.
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