An Innovative Approach to Human Skills Development

It was a pleasure to have the always effervescent Denise Meyerson return to Learning Uncut for the third time.  She does some really interesting work in her organisation, MCI Solutions, using very engaging approaches.  I also find her openness and courage inspiring.  In this episode, these qualities are evident both in the innovative approach adopted to a common challenge, as well as Denise’s willingness to be a guinea pig and share a video of herself playing the part of a participant using the solution.

It can be a challenge to provide a safe realistic practice environment for some skills.  Having effective difficult conversations is one of them.  Denise supported a service provider in disability services sector in Australia who won a contract under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  They had to recruit and onboard 165 local area coordinators to work across the vast area of Western Australia.  These frontline workers coordinate the provision of services to eligible NDIS clients.  It was clear that the coordinators would face some difficult conversations with clients, especially given recent changes to the NDIS that impacted client eligibility for services.

MCI solutions partnered with Mursion to create a simulated environment which Denise refers to as ‘light virtual reality.’  In this episode, she describes the participant experience and how the simulation works.  A safe space is created for people to practice and improve their skills supported by well-scripted scenarios used by human actors who interact with the participant via an avatar.  Feedback on each practice session is provided through a blend of data gathered via Artificial Intelligence and human interaction.  The most powerful element of this experiential learning approach is the individual reflection supported by video and a report on each session.

Episode Highlights

– The client organisation context – a service provider who had won a contract to provide services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme and had to recruit and onboard 165 local area coordinators to work in Western Australia. The need to prepare these frontline workers to have difficult conversations with people with disabilities about their eligibility to receive services, and the risk of high turnover in this group.

– The overall blended solution including face-to-face, digital support resources, and practice sessions in an immersive simulated environment.

– The ‘light virtual reality’ simulated environment which created a safe immersive space for the coordinators to practice conversations using realistic scenarios.  Human actors playing the part of clients, represented to the coordinators by an avatar.

– The use of a coach and data on the coordinator’s performance in the simulation to provide feedback. The provision of a video to aid individual reflection – providing a powerful opportunity for the participant to identify how they could improve.

– How the scenarios and scripts were developed, and the unexpected benefit of supervisors gaining clarity on the content of an effective conversation.

– Denise’s own experience of being a participant in a conversation in a simulated environment – which you can view in the video she has shared publicly (link in show notes).

– Participant response to the learning experience and increase in their confidence to go into tough conversations with their clients.

– Other use cases for this learning technology.

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Full Episode

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Creating Effective Learning Solutions for the Virtual Environment

This story is a great example of how engaging experiential learning can be supported in a virtual environment just as effectively, if not more so, than face to face.  Being the host of Learning Uncut has allowed me to collect a wide range of examples of effective approaches for designing and developing learning solutions.  I also have first-hand experience working in and with organisations in a range of sectors, plus connection with a global network.  All of these sources have provided insight into practices that high impact learning teams use.  I’ve drawn upon all of these sources to create a practical approach to design and develop effective learning solutions for the virtual environment.  If you’d like to know more about think take a look at the ReThink Learning program on my website.

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