Initially I didn’t want to mention the dreaded C word when writing this. However, it is the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced so many of us to rethink our initial ways of working and practices.
Historically, our internal Foundations of Management (FOM) Programme has been delivered in a traditional classroom based environment, with each workshop lasting a full working day over the course of several months.
So when I was asked to deliver FOM in the middle of a pandemic without the possibility of physically being in a classroom, it got me thinking….
What would be the impact on learner experience? Will their development be effected? Of course there are a number of benefits attached to delivering a face to face programme, but having never had to think of the benefits of a virtual programme, where do I start to compare?
Firstly, it gave me the opportunity to really think about the programme objectives, the effect on operational needs due to whole days spent out from daily work and how much of the content could be better placed for staff to access via eLearning.
Transitioning to a more streamlined, virtual programme, for me, the fundamental learning principles of the programme were not lost. The cohort (15) all participated and all shared their learning from the programme in a final consolidation workshop. The programme was consolidated into four core workshops each lasting 2.5hours, with eLearning modules to complement and enhance the learning from each workshop.
On reflection, I wish I had thought about the flexibility of this programme before, however, I think that during the pandemic staff were probably more accepting of the changes and I do wonder had the changes been made outside of the pandemic would it have been as well received? Moving forward, I would like to continue to develop this programme in a more learner centric capacity, developing our Kent managers in a way that supports and enhances the organisations strategic direction.
One of the best things for me is that there is always a lightbulb learning moment for each participant and it happens at different times and sometimes even outside of the programme!
I was worried that perhaps I’d miss this when delivering virtually or it would somehow be lost. In fact delivering virtually means I am more consciously aware of people’s faces and reactions and on the occasion where it happens during a workshop – and there have been moments I have seen it on screen, it’s an almost physical response – and that for me is incredibly rewarding.