Learning professionals love a good conversation.  The ReThink Learning webinar I hosted on 22 April was no exception.  There was a lively discussion in the chat box with some interesting questions and points of view raised.  I’d like to share perspectives and resources on some of these in coming weeks.  I’ll start today with common objections and barriers to learning in virtual environments.  My next post will be about approaches to address these.

Barriers to Innovation in Learning

In the webinar I referred to the 2018 annual research report from Towards Maturity (now Emerald Works) that identified the top three barriers to innovation in learning as:

– Digital Disruption – challenges with technology adoption

– Cultural Resistance – others seeing courses as the best way to learn

– Readiness of Learning Professionals – mindset and skillset

Cultural Resistance

Cultural resistance resonated strongly with many in the webinar chat with comments such as:

“We still get lots of resistance from business to blended and virtual learning.”

 “I’ve experienced resistance to online approaches since instructor led sessions are a higher mode of communication/delivery.”

 “In technical training organisations we’ve been doing remote/virtual offerings for years. The reluctance was not technical but was cultural. Students resented non-classroom based training courses.”

Some learning professionals have been chipping away at cultural resistance for many years.  They’ve slowly introduced new practices, stretching others in their organisation as far as they could at any point in time.  In this incremental way they’ve stretched comfort zones and reduced resistance.  These are the ones who currently see the most opportunity amidst current disruption, reflected in chat comments such as:

“How do we make the most of this crisis?”

 “New ways of working is providing an exciting window for learning culture.”

Resistance Has Reduced

Think about some of the big changes that your organisation has had to put in place over the past two months in order to keep people safe and continue functioning.  These have happened very quickly.  I’ve heard of whole call centres without any remote work technology being set up for everyone to work from home in less than a week.  One webinar participant commented that this happened in two days in his organisation. People have adapted to change and are open to new ways of working, new tools, new learning approaches.

Participants had observed this:

“I am finding some people in my organisation keen to explore new ways of delivering learning.”

 “We are noticing more of an expectation that we have digital learning … less resistance than ever.”

Are you ready to ReThink Learning?

According to the most recent Emerald Works benchmarking research report 55% of learning delivery was happening in classrooms at the end of 2019. I agree with the participant who observed “it’s remarkable that so much classroom learning still happens.”

For some learning professionals the shift to learning in virtual environments is more substantial.  The Readiness barrier is real as reflected in these chat comments:

“Many practitioners are still reluctant to deliver digitally, or at least try.”

 “In L&D we often see digital as just an ‘eLearning module’ rather than a virtual / digital learning experience.”

 “Virtual is efficient but not always engaging.”

 “Can digital create a connection?”

The last two objections were countered in the chat box with “I think virtual can be both effective and engaging. You can incorporate human connection and interaction into it.”

 In my next update I’ll share tactics and resources from the webinar presentation, chat and my ReThink Learning program that can be used to create effective, engaging virtual learning journeys.

ReThink Learning Program

The program pilot is underway.  Keep an eye out for examples of solutions designed by participants in the near future.  The full program is available from 1 June.  It will get you moving quickly and smartly with designing learning solutions for the virtual environment.

As a Learning Leader, don’t hesitate to book in a call and discover more about the ReThink Learning Program. Or, we can simply have an obligation-free discussion about how you’re rethinking learning right now, and what it means for you.

If you are an Individual Learning Professional considering participating in the program, please email me at michelle@michelleockers.com.

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