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Blog Post

Meeting the Needs of our Virtual Learners

Published: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

We have all been thrust into a new reality. This new reality has caused both emotional unrest and concern as well as an opportunity to think innovatively and collaboratively. All around us we see organizations streamlining their processes making it faster, easier, and safer to interact and do business with them. We need to apply these same opportunities to learning.

Many of our clients have been inundated with internal requests for learning. They are working to identify solutions that will help employees not only survive in this new work environment but thrive in it. As learning experts, our job is to ensure the way we deliver content and meet their needs is also streamlined. It must be faster and easier for clients and learners to interact with us.

Companies are looking to turn ILT to Virtual ILT. Employees need support to help them work remotely. Managers need support to learn how to manage remotely. Businesses need to get constantly changing compliance, policy and procedures related to COVID-19 out to the masses. No one can thrive in this new environment without learning new concepts and changing behaviors to accommodate the new way of working. But we, as learning experts, cannot simply be reactive.

We need to stop. Breathe. And identify if things make sense.

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This is the time for talent development departments and training teams to showcase the value they bring to their organization and to the learners they serve. Our job is to help change behavior and deliver content to the learner in the most effective way possible. It is critical to balance a new concept or behavior without inundating learners with large quantities of curated content or overwhelming them with information that will not stick.

Our work is not about meeting every need a client brings us, but to remember the foundation principles of Instructional Design beginning with analysis. Properly analyzing requests will help prioritize those requests and put our strength and energy towards high-impact solutions that will meet the needs of the masses – both clients and learners. Think about what the business has deemed as a priority and start there.

Learners right now are struggling to focus in this new environment. Once you know the business priority, think about how you can streamline the process to get the information to the learner faster and easier. Although it seems easy for learning teams to rush to curate massive amounts of content or put together 60-minute information dumps, we must consider if that is what the learner is going to respond to.

Now is the time to be innovative with content. Does it mean putting it in one spot, does it mean packaging it differently? Does it mean being innovative with technology? All options must be considered. Most learning CAN be delivered virtually, it’s just a matter of looking at it from outside the box the content is currently in - with the underlying vision of making learning faster, easier and learner centered.

About the Author

Learning Consultant and Co-Owner of Learning Design Partners, LLC Nicole Morrison has over 20 years experience in the field of education in both K-12 public schools to Fortune 500 companies. As a learning consultant, facilitator and instructional designer, Nicole has worked with Talent Development teams to help showcase the value of learning programs. Nicole has had the privilege to support many clients with full scope onboarding to smaller job aids and toolkits, always ensuring the learner experience is top of mind.

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