How to inspire the best in your digital learning
A confronting thing about this pandemic is the impact it has had and is still having, on our day to day lives. With our comfort zones uprooted and lives overturned, most of us can relate to past lives on ‘hamster-wheels’ and being ‘adrenalin-fuelled’. Some of us potentially may even be starting to enjoy and settle into lockdown, appreciating the enforced slowing down of society as whole. What’s being unearthed during this time is an understanding of our own unique ability to tolerate chaos. Our individual capacity for coping with crisis is being tested, and our resilience when faced with collective distress is pushing us all forward.
One of the things helping people get through this period is the role of digital and online learning. I know for myself it has been a solace. Escapism, for many, in the form of online learning or other simulation-based set-ups, had been an absolute Godsend. The world is now home to ~2.7bn gamers, with the UK hosting more than ~37.3million of us and more and more people are using their mobiles, and tablets, as preferred sources for content delivery mechanism. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the latest VR kit to fully immerse yourself in the experience, just knowing you can access other realms, universes and worlds, interacting with other people, whilst the world suffers the century’s worst global pandemic, can be of comfort for many.
Digital learning and the quality of content we create, as contributors to the industry of online learning, has never been more crucial. If human-centred design is the most critical factor, consider for a moment our audience groups? Engaging multiple generations of learners, at the same time, with the same materials, has never been more challenging. Before, it used to be a breezy ‘one size fits all’ approach to L&D. Now, we must cater for your traditional classroom, face to face cohort, all the way through to the emerging Gen Alpha, ‘Tik-Tocked, YouTube’d’ micro-nugget’ consumers of digital media. Our learning audiences are changing, their behaviours are morphing, how they interact with technology is being recategorized (daily), just as we as humans are changing, and will continue to change. Therefore, we have now got the most complex, demanding, intelligent group of audiences to create for and train, ever, in the history of homo sapiens. As most digital content providers know the old rhetoric of ‘Being all things to all people’ is not easy. As in life, occasionally we’ll stumble. Often, we’ll fall. We might not always be producing content that’s worthy of Oscar cinematography awards. It might not be perfect, 100% of the time. And that is ok. If I’ve learnt anything at all it’s that what’s important is that we’re still human, we’re doing our best, and acknowledging this is what matters.
So, whether it’s a short video animation, or a more interactive 15-30-minute bespoke course. Catering for agile mindsets requires discipline and method. Many positive contributions to society are coming out of this experience when combined with emerging learning technologies such as immersive virtual reality-based violence prevention lessons, grief, and death awareness training, as well as simulations enabling self-care and wellness across organisations. Digital learning helps create new neural pathways, potentially warding off neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Putting the ‘H’ in the ‘human-centred’. These more people-orientated; softer forms of digital content mustn’t be ignored. They provide valuable gateways into the fabric of society we’re now weaving. One which I’m seeing as healthier, more home-and-heart orientated. Something perhaps we’ve all been wishing for, something perhaps which will shine through in our work.
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As much as I love Christmas, I hate January. For me, January is the most difficult month of the year – oh hi January blues, long time no see… Do you know that feeling? If not, then you can count yourself as lucky. January blues is a form of depression that some people feel after the magic of Christmas and holidays come to an end. Its secret ingredients: A lack of motivation, exhaustion, melancholy, and excess of melatonin.
How we live now
Regardless of the latest restrictions and the challenges that lie ahead, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Albeit a light that comes in and out of focus for many. There is now a future where we can start to heal, to unite, renew and to plan for a more certain outlook. If 2020 taught us one thing, it was to expect the unexpected – to be prepared to change, adapt at a moment’s notice. A quality I am sure we did not know we needed to possess as critically as we do now. This has been equally applicable for organisations as it has for individuals – with business plans and personal goals alike upturned and forward planning a challenge. What has this, perhaps necessary, blip in the history of the world taught us? What do we want the post-COVID working world to feel like? Are there elements of how we live now, that we want to continue with?
Keeping it on the DL - Guest Speaker LPI Chairman Donald H Taylor
Shall we jump right in? Are L&D teams relevant anymore? Given the steer towards customised, personalised learning do you still need an L&D team. Well, we are walking into this vlog with a bang. It is a crucial question and the elephant in the room that we should all be asking ourselves. LPI Chairman and Guest Speaker for this month’s vlog Donald H Taylor cleverly approaches this question. So, the answer is yes and no. Unfortunately, you cannot measure learning, but most learning takes place outside what L&D does. We live in a world where people can increasingly access information themselves and there are so many options on the market that it is no longer sufficient to just rely on L&D functions. L&D needs to adjust to this new world and as we have experienced previously, they are not the sole gatekeepers to knowledge anymore. However, they can make themselves an essential cog in the machine. The scope of what L&D should be doing has increased and it needs to adapt so it can help individuals reach their potential. Let’s face facts, Covid-19 has given people the time and determination to take up learning on their own. Upskilling was already a huge priority pressing on people’s minds prior to 2020 and as we move to a remote world, online learning is not only essential but the default option.