When COVID-19 shutdown our classrooms and training programmes we, as Skills Development Providers, had to move quickly to convert to online delivery. What did we do? And how quickly did we do it? And what lessons did we learn that we can share with the L&D community, and business in general?
We very quickly created a community of best practice and a knowledge sharing space (online) for our facilitators and assessors. This repository is full of tips and ideas for facilitating online. We also provided a discussion forum and virtual coaching on how to use enabling technologies such as Zoom and Edmodo.
We gave our learners/clients the option to go online or to postpone learning. And we started converting content as decisions were made and interest was expressed.
We offered a blended learning environment and quickly adapted our learning methodology to use a variety of learning tactics such as self-paced online courses, micro-learning videos, and flipped classroom techniques.
The below is a fraction of what we, at PMI, have been learning to do in trying to pivot quickly so as to offer adaptive learning at speed:
“The move to include a more blended approach has created a richer learning experience for the learner through the combination of contact, digital, video, interactive and online learning methodologies. This has had a direct impact on how content is designed and delivered. Facilitators are required to view training as a blended approach and this gives them access to new and exciting learning tools. Focus on transforming content and a mindset that looks at facilitation from both a classroom (face-to- face contact) and a digital perspective has been a high priority for PMI / ICan in the past 4 months and they are already ahead of the pack in this regard.”
Candy Hayes (Training Director: Savvy Worx (Pty) Ltd)
“The biggest change for me has been the lack of physical contact and adapting my activities and engagement with the learners to ensure that the online classroom experience is still meaningful. The other key point for me was to learn very quickly what the limitations of the platform was and working around it.
From a design perspective, I have realised just how powerful online learning can be to keep the momentum going by creating interactive learning objects that encompass all main learning styles.”
Henriette van Twisk (Learning & Design Specialist: PMI (Pty) Ltd)
On the upside the rapidly evolving demands and pressures have forced us to change and/or refine our teaching practices in general, and in my opinion, for the better. We have been forced to reconsider what it is we do and why we do it. Being forced to reflect critically about our content, our design and development processes, our assessment tools, our methodologies and the learner experience is not a bad thing at all. And, like us you may have been doing all the above at the ‘speed of light’.
In 2020/21, we were always going to take education and training to a more virtual experience, the global pandemic has simply forced us to do it at a much faster (and less planned) pace.