2020 Vision - The year of (even more) flexible learning

Face to face classroom based training has been considered as old-fashioned by many ‘experts’ over the years, with everyone rushing to use technology based training such as e-learning. We have persevered with face to face training here at CHaRM because we believe in the benefits that it brings to both the students and their businesses. The testimonials and cards of thanks that we have received over the years have borne out our commitment to delivering good quality face to face training.

It was interesting therefore to read an article in the Chartered Management Institute’s magazine for members recently which talked about the future of learning for the next generation. Again a number of experts were asked about their opinion on what the future of learning would look like, and it was really interesting to read their views that instead of learning being technology-led as it has been over the last few years, it should be technology-enabled, with the real benefit of training coming from personal interaction. Once again, I feel like we are pioneers at CHaRM, but in reality, the world of learning has come back to our way of thinking.

The article finished with a quote that supported the approach we have taken with our training: “no-one ever tells you about the school textbook that inspired them. They tell you about the teacher, the person. Learning is about people”. Our two tutors who deliver our Certificate in Learning and Development were called inspirational recently by one of our students. Learning is and always has been, about people, we know that.

So what does that mean for us (and you, our clients)?

We have been delivering learning via webinar and in-work activities for a while now and we have been increasingly delivering one-to-one coaching experiences for managers on specific topics, rather than full-day classroom based courses, so for 2020 we are going to increase even further the flexibility element of the training that we deliver, without losing the face to face element that makes the real difference.

In the CMI article there were some key elements to consider with regard to providing learning, and we are going to adapt our training even further to continue to deliver these outcomes.

  1. Development will be learner centred. This is about contextualising the learning first and being very clear on the needs of the learners. This is something we have always believed in and we have always uncovered the real learning need, which often is not the learning need we are at first asked to address. We will continue to ensure that our learning is learner centred. As an added step we will now consider much more closely each learners’ particular preferences when it comes to learning and adapt our delivery to match their individual style.
  2. Bite-sized lessons and real-time formats. The focus here is on learning on the job and minimising time spent away from work activities. We have already developed this approach with our Management Driving Licence, which enables students to learn as they go, with coaching support from our tutors as they need it. Along the way we have learned some lessons about breaking down the webinar element into even smaller bite-sized chunks to make it more digestible and we are working to put everything into ‘chapters’ and podcasts, so that you can pick up and put down the knowledge element as it suits you.
  3. One to one learning. Although it is recognised that technology will enhance the efficiency and flexibility of learning, human feedback, coaching and mentoring will still be key. While knowledge can be delivered remotely, skills and behaviours must be learned through interaction with a human being for the learning to be embedded. More and more of the training we deliver will be on a one-to-one basis with coaching being integral to the learning experience. We know it is proving very effective already.

I feel very excited about making our learning experiences even more flexible and welcome the ‘new’ revolution in training delivery.