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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.

About Tess Robinson

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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.

Why learning is vital in uncertain times 2020

By Tess Robinson
Posted 3 April 2020

I first wrote this article in 2016 in response to the shock result of the UKs referendum on whether to stay in the EU. Although that produced political and economic turmoil on an unprecedented scale, it’s really nothing compared to the current situation we find ourselves in with Covid-19. It feels a bit like we’ve been trapped inside Hollywood movie. It surely can’t be real that the whole world is locked down?! It felt like it was time to update this article as the VUCA acronym (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) has never felt more apt. 

Although it is pretty scary at the moment, there is hope. The organisations that will have the best chance of survival are those who are change-ready, prepared to pivot and who can focus on it positively.

The real key to successful change, of course, is people. In uncertain times, learning takes on new significance in terms of helping people to adapt to new roles or new ways of working and giving them the skills they need to be successful. Investing in the development of your people also shows them that they are valued. This positive message can relieve the stress of insecurity and help focus them on the organisational goals and the tasks in hand.

Getting learning right at these times can give organisations an enormous competitive advantage, enabling them to be agile and adapt to new situations quickly. So what does right look like?

* Many organisations will suddenly find themselves having to embrace video conferencing and virtual classrooms, some for the first time. This isn’t the extent of your options though. There is an array of technologies available for learning, many of which can be deployed rapidly. Check out our free digital learning diagnostic for lists of choices relevant to your situation.

* Learning which is helping people become more agile works best if it is agile itself. This is not the time for lengthy modules, but for bite-sized learning that is produced quickly, in order to respond to changing conditions. 
* The bite-sized learning must be closely aligned to organisation goals. Learning can play a key role in communicating these goals and galvanising people to work towards them.
* Give people the opportunity to collaborate with each other. You’ll weather the storm better if everyone pulls together as a team. Building a social element into your blend is even more important when your people are all remote-working. 
* Look to your leadership team, not only as visible sponsors of the learning, but also to strengthen their skills. Good leaders become even more important in times of change.

Clarity of changing job expectations, personal development, feedback, communication and relationships are all important drivers of employee engagement and are even more vital in these exceptional times. All of these things can be enhanced or reinforced through learning. According to Gallup, engaged employees are 17% more productive and companies with an engaged workforce experience 21% higher profitability that those without. Although these are unprecedented times, it still rings true that greater productivity, agility, a positive, goal-driven attitude and being able to hold on to your best people is exactly what is needed when it all gets VUCAed up.


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