Adapting to Home-Bound Learning: 3 Learning & Development Blind Spots to Avoid

 In Learning Platform

Don’t be surprised by these blind spots as you transform the way your business manages learning in a re-imagined environment…

With a persistent environment of uncertainty requiring companies and employees to become more adaptable, planning for what’s next is on the minds of every L&D leader with whom we’ve recently spoken. Whether these leaders have an existing eLearning platform in place or not, they have experienced challenges in responsiveness, execution, and scalability in a manner that is as unique as their own company profile. Most would agree that the rules for skills development (and re-skilling) of a home-bound workforce are a moving target – but the time has come to develop an agile course of action to future-proof their learning program.

The necessary initial response was jumping into a triage mode – rapidly assessing what must be done, what has to change, and a period of trial-and-error. However, it’s now apparent that the collective mindset is transitioning to a highly-adaptive design phase for optimizing remote learning. While the precise path often remains uncertain, some emerging themes are evident:

  • Protecting Employees and Protecting the Organization
  • Cultivating and Sustaining Engagement
  • Measuring Distance-Learning Effectiveness – with a keen focus on data-driven decision making and learning optimization

As your team and organization go through this process, consider these three common “blind spots” that hinder the long-term effectiveness of remote learning programs:

Blind spot #1: Content that can’t go the distance.

Ensuring remote personnel get through all required training is a must-have, but how effective are the existing training and testing materials, particularly when delivered outside of a live learning setting?

In the triage phase that was mentioned above, learning and development teams have likely processed training and compliance demands from all across the organization while simultaneously attempting to shift to solely digital programming as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, as planning efforts focus upon a more proactive approach, assessing content for readiness and relevance is an essential step – one that helps avoid a potential blind spot as digital learning moves forward at scale.

Key questions to ask yourself in this journey include: As learning needs and objectives have shifted, has our content lost relevance? When was the last time the learning assets were reviewed and updated?

While companies scramble to get essential training online, it’s also a good time to “clean out the digital sock drawer” to ensure the online learning assets align with the newly updated learning objectives that have been driven by a rapidly changing business environment.

Blind spot #2: The impact of prolonged virtual engagement on your workforce.

We know our employees completed the online training, but how engaged were they? Did they really learn, or was the training experience just a check-box exercise?

The learning and development teams that Zoomi supports have been tasked with more than just shifting learning to a digital-first mentality. They have also been challenged to demonstrate that remote learners were engaged. While a mandatory shift to distance learning poses some immediate tactical challenges for many organizations, it also opens up the opportunity to deploy technologies that can capture and analyze new metrics, like learner engagement, that help inform the best practices for training development and delivery.

Key questions to ask at this phase include: What feedback have we received about perceived “friction” during our transition to remote learning as our organization’s primary engagement model? What tools do we have to measure remote learner engagement? Are there areas or functions that would be of higher priority for the implementation of personalized learning?

Blind spot #3: Shifting employee expectations about distance learning.

Now that most organizations have experienced a few months of virtual engagement, the novelty of the process of “figuring it out” is starting to wear off. Universally, the organizations and L&D teams we support have done a tremendous job of establishing a cultural sense of “together, we will find a way.” That stated, there is a recognition of shifting expectations: a remote-bound workforce (particularly those that are digitally savvy) reasonably anticipates that tools, processes, and overall effectiveness will advance relatively quickly. While it makes for entertaining commercials, struggles with adapting to digital collaboration is not something companies want to allow to dilute their investment in culture.

As you begin the process of designing your next-generation learning environment, consider where to set the bar and how to ensure that you are iterating in a manner that demonstrates a commitment to making the experience engaging and frictionless for your workforce, as they continue to adapt.

Key questions to ask at this phase include: Have we adequately assessed and mapped our workforce’s comfort and acumen with digital engagement and digital learning? What steps can we take to “learn as they learn” i.e. leveraging learning analytics to support a continual improvement in our organization’s digital learning effectiveness? How prepared are we for personalized learning?

Summary: Accelerating effective digital learning – the path to reimagination

As the focus of learning and development leaders transfers from the immediate to the future needs of their organization, seemingly secondary considerations can make a profound difference upon future learning effectiveness. Among many such considerations, content assessment, personalization and learning analytics are potential barriers to success that can be addressed in the current phase of transitional planning. Adversity can breed opportunity, and new-generation learning technologies can help navigate the challenges of today while preparing organizations to excel in the future.

To learn more about how Zoomi AI for Learning® can help your organization adapt and overcome, check us out at zoomi.ai.

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