LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted 12 February 2021
This past year has been truly terrible for so many reasons. There aren’t really words to express the grief that we all feel at the mounting death toll and the loss of our freedoms and previous way of life. It seems like ‘getting back to normal’ will still be a very long way off, if normal even exists anymore.
Humans are pretty resilient though. It didn’t take long in lockdown for adaption to start happening – and the key?.... Technology.Organisations who had previously resisted things like video conferencing or virtual working were forced into adopting it and, although there are still a few hiccups – this video of lawyers in Canada made me laugh more than it probably should have - we’re all pretty comfortable with it now.
This trend of increased use of tech has also seeped into learning and about time too. Bodies like Towards Maturity (now Emerald Works)have been providing strong arguments and compelling evidence about the efficacy of digital and blended learning for years, which mysteriously and depressingly never seemed to translate into actual use. It was all too often side-lined as too hard, too complicated or too-different-from-what-we’re-used-to. Not anymore…
Now that the initial storm has calmed, organisations seem to have stopped panic-buying off-the-shelf learning and are now thinking more strategically and holistically about their learning and how to deliver it remotely. With more dispersed workforces and businesses who may be having to pivot their offer in response to this new environment, training is more important than ever.
eLearning still has a relatively bad reputation as being dull, click-next fodder that is a lonely and isolating experience. But it doesn’t have to be like that. We spent time mapping out all the different forms of digital learning and came up with 34 (!), only one of which is the ‘traditional elearning course’ that most people are familiar with. Technology gives us the means to design and create learning that is collaborative, engaging and personal. It opens up a whole new world of opportunity in imparting knowledge, learning new skills, changing behaviours and sharing with each other, even when we’re physically apart.
So how do you get out of that ‘boring elearning course paradigm’? Here’s some things to think about: ·
1. Be human-centred – organisational objectives and goals are, of course, really important but don’t forget who is actually doing the learning. Any learning will fall flat impact-wise if it is not right for your audience. Involve learners from the start. Run virtual focus groups, interview them, find out what they really need to know or do in order to effect the change your organisation wants to see. Involve them in user testing and show them that their feedback is valued. Put the learner at the front and centre of everything you design, and you will see the rewards both in terms of their satisfaction and the impact when you evaluate the learning.
2. Adopt design thinking– I see this mentioned more and more recently. It’s a really valuable design methodology that aligns well with the LAS approach and the point above about being human-centred. Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that helps you to understand your learners, challenge assumptions, redefine issues and problems and create innovative solutions which you then prototype and test. This on '10 lessons from design thinking that can be applied to digital learning' from five years ago is equally, if not more relevant today.
3. Look to blend – this new environment requires an agile approach to business. A blend is a much more flexible way of designing learning. It can be updated much more easily that an elearning course to reflect the constantly changing world we live in. A blend also avoids feelings of isolation as it almost always involves human interaction in things like virtual classrooms, webinars, chat groups, forums, drop-in clinics, coaching, buddying and mentoring.
4. Evaluate – So important but so often forgotten or put to one side. Technology makes it easier to gather and collate feedback and measure engagement and impact. Use your data to help you iterate, make improvements and get even more impact from your learning.
If one good thing has come out of all of this, it is that we are more willing to try new things. Humans’ amazing ability to adapt and be resilient constantly surprises us. Things that previously felt impossible inL&D in many organisations, are now becoming the norm. Now, more than ever, we have a golden opportunity to refine our approach to learning and to embrace all that technology has to offer. Let’s do it right!
If you’re interested in exploring the 34 forms of digital learning and how they can be used, we’ve made our Digital Learning Diagnostic freely available.