Discovering the “silver linings” or “unintended benefits” during this pandemic has been a daily occurrence for me. I no longer have to feel “guilty” for choosing a quiet night at home. In slowing down and moving very little between physical spaces, I notice how much there is to do in my small New York apartment: draw, play piano, read, listen to podcasts, watch TV, take a yoga class, organize my things, re-arrange furniture, cook, clean, learn a new language, play an immersive video game, and the list goes on.
Now more than ever, with life moving at a slower pace, we find ourselves with a significant opportunity to reflect on who we are and where we want to go as professionals, as team members, as managers, as leaders.
Professional development may seem daunting to some, given the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I also see how quickly many have adapted to local orders to stay home. We have more time, and perhaps more interest to pursue those learning experiences we never had time for in the past. And with that has been an increase in opportunities to take advantage of blended learning. Blended learning has quickly become one of the few viable and high impact ways to teach ourselves and the people in our organizations how to meet the needs of our volatile, changing world.
What’s blended learning? It’s simply a blend or mix of learning formats, between digital or on-demand learning on a phone or computer with facilitated learning or learning through an expert or other instructor that lectures and facilitates exercises or conversations.
Whether we have the focus or motivation to learn and grow right now may be debatable, but there’s an undeniable surge in interest to learn a new skill, or to experiment with new ways of working. And in many ways, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of blended learning. For example, learning global skills or skills to effectively navigate diversity are important ways we can get through the current challenges and be ready to re-open and get our work back on track quickly.
Extending access to blended learning right now is a way to engage with a remote workforce that is looking for a valuable way to spend their time. Here are some tips on how to blend learning with any topic that’s relevant to you or your team:
- Send a link to a relevant skill-based course with a few debrief questions to discuss on your next team conference call.
- Send a link to a relevant workplace assessment and then share, compare, or discuss your results with your colleagues to raise awareness for the diversity of your group.
- Socialize what you learned by having small breakout discussions (use a meeting platform that makes breakout discussions quick and easy to do).
- Share a relevant case study or piece of research to debrief and discuss how any best practices might apply to you and your team.
- Play a learning game, individually or as a team. If you play as a group, you can truly socialize and discuss what you learn as you play.
- Invite others to join you in attending a live learning event or webinar and then debrief afterwards.
- Create a dynamic survey to use during your next team meeting to quickly learn insights relevant to your team interactions, your current projects or anything else worth learning about (Kahoot! is fun and easy to use).
Blended learning is as simple as mixing and matching on-demand resources with real life conversations or debriefs to bring life to what you learned. What kinds of interesting blended learning experiences have you developed or participated in?
Blended learning and the tactics listed above are at the heart of CultureWizard LIVE, our blended learning system that gives professionals a learning path that is customized to their unique needs, challenges and interests. Learn more about how CultureWizard LIVE can help you develop professionally by contacting us below.