07 Dec Virtual Delivery Best Practice for Learning and Development
Delivering learning and development programmes has significantly changed over the past 8 months. COVID-19 forced a sudden shift to online learning and the complete shutdown of all classroom training.
As learning and development professionals, we must figure out new ways to maximise engagement, preserve the richness of peer learning and facilitate effective learning transfer in a more disconnected organisational context. Over the last 8 months, working with existing and new clients, OMT have gained significant insights in how we can achieve these objectives within our changed context.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”
The need for a new strategy
Anchored on the 70% (on the job learning) – 20% (mentoring/coaching) -10% (formal learning) model for learning and development, best practice shows that a blended approach to leadership development yields the best results. Our development approach has been designed to include a balanced mix of classroom facilitation, line manager mentorship, group assignments, self-directed learning and reflection and on the job application and testing of new skills and behaviours.
While COVID-19 disrupted momentum behind existing learning and development plans, learning and development professionals moved quickly to convert classroom training to virtual training. Focusing solely on formal training or 10% of the overall development framework, this was a short-term strategy with the primary objective being to maintain learning momentum and keep programmes running to schedule. This strategy was widely endorsed by the learning and development community with the expectation that within 3 months, we would be back to normal.
8 months later, it is clear that a new strategy is needed. Learning & Development need to re-imagine best practice and create a framework to support development in a virtual context. Leveraging our experience and feedback from our virtual programmes, OMT have re-purposed our approach to better meet the needs of both the individual, the organisation and ultimately see a return to on the job learning application.
Virtual Learning Approach
Taking a one-day facilitated classroom session and adapting it to virtual delivery needs a new approach. Our proposed approach is built on the 70-20-10 model and is structured to allow sufficient time for learners to absorb, discuss, apply and reflect on their learning.
The total facilitation time within this new approach is 8 hours which is the total time participants would ordinarily have in a classroom. Moving online, however, participant focus diminishes significantly and it’s impossible to monitor engagement and control individual distractions. For this reason, we have developed learning chunks of 2-hour blocks to be delivered over a 4-6-week period.
These learning chunks are blended – allowing for the delivery and exploration in the Virtual Classroom (VC). Learning Application Assignments focus participants on activities they can do within their work environment to practice new skills. Peer learning forums allow participants to engage with each other and explore challenges and success in the application.
Structuring learning in this way allows participants time and space to absorb learning, identify opportunities for application and feel sufficiently connected with their peer group to share experiences. Creating space between learning chunks ensures regular touchpoints and maintains focus and connectedness in what is currently a disjointed and remote work context.