The AITD Course Conversion Project

In the five and a half months since COVID-19 hit, learning teams around the globe have been denied access to face -to-face classrooms and had to shift to support learning in an online environment.  Many have grappled with converting courses designed for classroom facilitation to live online facilitation.  The Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) had a portfolio that included a number of courses that were delivered face-to-face.  They decided early in the pandemic to convert six courses for online facilitation.  In a massive effort they formed 15-course facilitators into teams who undertook all six conversions simultaneously – at the same time a continuing a rebrand, new website build and transition to a new Customer Relationship Management system.

I’m joined by Jennifer Waltmon, the AITD’s Programs and Content Manager alongside two of the conversion team members, Dr Cathryn Lloyd and Chemene Sinson.  Cathryn and Chemene participated in several conversion teams and have also shifted from facilitating these courses face-to-face to doing so online.  They reflect on the experience of converting so many courses simultaneously, the parallels and differences between designing courses for face to face versus online delivery, and what they’ve learned about facilitating effective online learning experiences.

In some ways their experience is a microcosm of that which many teams went through during the early part of the pandemic – with a strong sense of purpose, collaboration and camaraderie as well as a hothouse experiential learning environment.  This Learning Uncut story is highly representative of the experience of many L&D professionals in the fierce urgency of the early pandemic period.

Episode Highlights

– The early decision to convert six courses simultaneously so learning professionals could keep on learning.

– Formation of conversation teams using external current course facilitators and the high-level brief to make it engaging, interactive and use the online environment to provide opportunity for application and reflection.

– Chemene and Cathryn’s motivation to contribute to the project and the valuable experiential learning opportunity that it provided.

– The fluid way the conversion teams worked together to share their experiences from facilitating the courses they were converting.  A balance of working together and leveraging each other’s specific skills, with everyone rolling up their sleeves.

– Revising, stripping back and adapting content and activities from face-to-face to live online sessions.  What stays the same?  What needs to change?

– The sense of purpose, belonging and community which developed amongst the conversion teams.  How everyone got to know each other better and learn from each other, including the Programs and Content Manager.

– How the course pilots were run and insights into the ‘3 Fs’ – facilitation, flow and feedback.  Learning how to use the technology and facilitate in an engaging way.  Identifying and transferring good design and facilitating practice across all six courses and aligning them to create a consistently strong participant experience.

– Comparison of facilitating face-to-face versus live online sessions.  Creating intimacy and safety in the online environment.  Scaling the space and participant numbers.  Transferring and adapting facilitation approaches and skills.

– Starting with the person and experience, then considering the technology.

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ReThink Learning: A lean, robust process to design and conversion for the online environment

How are you going with designing or converting effective, impactful learning solutions for the online environment?  I created ReThink Learning to help learning professionals and teams accelerate their shift to enabling learning in the online environment.  The program comes with a Playbook, Toolkit and Technology Guide along with how-to videos for each step from needs analysis to design and managing development.  You can apply it to your work immediately.  Complete the self-paced Accelerator version or join the facilitated Mastery version.  The next Mastery program starts on 31 August.

View more information on Rethink Learning

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