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Learning in the COVID-19 Times

The digital transformation that COVID-19 has brought in such a short time was hardly imaginable. Having worked with learning and development technologies for over 20 years, I am seeing the real desire to modernise the learning capabilities in many organisations. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and brought to us many opportunities for growth as well. 

 

Free training from great MOOC platforms, universities, content creators, and providers means there is more training on offer today than it was ever available before.

 

The challenge that we have in the Netflix era is that we like to “channel surf”, look at a lot of courses, get confused or timed out and don’t end up taking anything or taking anything relevant.

 

I interviewed a few people who set out on a learning journey in this period and came up with the below suggestions:

 

1. Identify the Skill First: Before you start looking at courses, identify the  skill that you want to hone, the capability that you want to develop before you start looking at what is available. The skill could be based on personal interest or career-related but it’s important to start there. If unsure , you should research and browse through skills first (and not courses) to understand what you should take up. 

 

2. Identify the Delivery Modality: Learning is available in a variety  of modalities today. From audiobooks to eLearning to mobile compatible to microlearning or virtual delivery, the options are endless. Identify what works for you or at least what doesn’t. As an example, many struggle to keep the concentration when listening to audiobooks as the mind starts to wander away. Some prefer virtual delivery but may not be able to allocate specific hours and may want freedom around the time to learn.

 

3. Identify Sources: Start with the corporate LMS or content libraries/content subscriptions you may have access to but look at other available options as well. Here is a list of some of the organizations that have COVID specific offers of free training.

4. Find a Partner/Mentor: Find a mentor who excels in the given skill and ask for help as you go through the course. Being able to talk to someone about the concepts you learn and sharing your thoughts can help take the learning a lot further. If not a coach, find a colleague or a friend who may want to develop the same skill at that time as well.

 

5. Undertake the Training: Take the training but it’s easy to skip exercises or tutorials when self-learning, especially when they seem too basic or easy. These simple exercises are often a building block in shaping the brain towards those more complex exercises. We also remember better when we do the exercise instead of just reading/hearing it. Remember that you are giving it your very valuable time away from work or family and you want to get the most out of it.

 

6. Report  back to your Manager/L&D: No one knows how things will shape up in the post COVID world but we know that additional skills are always an asset. Ensure your employer is aware of the new skills you have picked up, share any certification received so they are aware of the added capabilities within the Organization.

 

7. Look to apply the Skill: Look for opportunities to apply the skill whether it’s in a project, supporting a colleague, or a friend. There is no better learning, further development or retention methods than being able to apply what you have already learned.

 

Each learner is different, we all have our own unique learning styles and abilities and what works best for us may vary. However, take advantage of the options available to you and make the most of learning in the time of COVID. A variation of the above to suit your own learning style is probably what will work best for you. Happy Learning!

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