Successful Transition to Remote Learning: Decoding the New Normal

The world might be grappling with multiple slowdowns today, but if there is one area that the COVID-19 crisis has fast-tracked, it is the adoption of remote work and remote learning.  As organizations try and decode the new normal, there is a complete paradigm shift underway. The huge momentum towards remote work has led L&D leaders to fall back on technology to deliver remote learning. They are leveraging technology to move the needle in a variety of training contexts – skill building, leadership development, sales training, compliance, and education. Remote learning technology is also witnessing a lot of investor interest.

As a corporate L&D leader, you are in a very sweet but tricky spot. You are expected to drive this whole transition to remote learning successfully. But for that, you need to have a sound strategy in place. Do you understand the potential and boundaries of remote learning in organizations? Do you know what are the drivers of successful transition beyond giving zoom accounts instructors and trainers?  Is your business model in-sync with your transition plan?

Harbinger had the privilege of hosting 3 highly accomplished learning and development leaders recently, for a virtual Power Hour, on the topic ‘Successful Transition to Remote Learning: Decoding the New Normal.’ The guests were Christopher McLaverty (Senior HR Business Partner and Organization Development Practitioner), Ganesh Natarajan (Co-Founder of 5F World and Kalzoom), and Walter Davis (Head of Talent and Learning Technology at Aggreko). The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr. Vikas Joshi (CEO at Harbinger Group).

Key Challenges and Drivers of Remote Learning

Vikas opened the session with some fascinating statistics indicating the increased investor interest in remote learning and then moved on to talk about the key challenges that organizations face when moving to remote learning. Some of them being,

  • Engaging learners
  • Managing stakeholder expectations ​– Internal customer, executive leadership, and learner
  • Creating classroom-like experiences
  • Selecting technology​
  • Internet connectivity

The panelists talked about how they addressed these challenges at their workplaces and managed a successful transition.

There was a lot of interesting discussion around the drivers of a successful transition to remote learning​, which includes, right early wins, careful revision of metrics and measurement, and most importantly, the use of the right technology across the whole learning experience.

Tips for Transitioning to Remote Learning

After a detailed and insightful discussion with the panelists, Vikas shared some useful tips for organizations to plan their transition to remote learning. As an L&D leader, for a successful transition, you need to

  • Align training programs with business strategy​
  • Make internal customers and L&D co-owners of the transition​
  • Assess new capability gaps and focus on them​
  • Design it as a learning journey instead of discrete sessions​
  • Pilot a training session and then scale-up​
  • Define KPIs and measure impact​
  • Integrate L&D in the flow of work​
  • Invest into systems and technology

Remote learning is here to stay. The sooner you adapt to it, quicker you can reap the benefits.  L&D leaders need to sensitize executives and customers about the boundaries and potential of remote learning. They also need to educate instructors, curriculum designers, and learners on how they should prepare for remote learning​. And yes, not to forget, technology is a key driver in this whole transition​.

Here is the link to the Power Hour session recording.

Have you been struggling with transitioning to remote learning? Or have you successfully navigated this challenge? What success stories, experiences, or tips do you have to share? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerlearning.com.

How Off-The-Shelf Learning Providers Can Take Advantage of Technology Disruptions

Technology disruptions can be a big sink for any business, if not handled well. Off-the-shelf learning providers have witnessed multiple such disruptions in the last few years, the latest one being Flash sunsetting. Such disruptions could result in huge capital expenditure or delay go-to-market plans, adversely impacting the bottom line in either case.  As the CEO or senior leader of an off-the-shelf learning provider, how do you handle such challenges? Is there a way you can leverage these disruptions to your advantage? How can you use your existing resources to turn such disruptions into an opportunity?

Harbinger had the privilege of hosting six of world’s highly accomplished learning and development leaders recently, for Power Hour – an online roundtable discussion. The guests were Frank Russell ( Founder and CEO at Prositions), Dehumo Bickersteth (Owner and Principal Consultant at DTB Services), Desiree Pinder (E-Learning Consultant at XP Learning), Michael Schreiner, PMP (Vice President of Content at Vector Solutions), Nicole Prolow (Training Development Specialist), and Rahul Singh (Sr. GM at Harbinger Interactive Learning). The discussion was led and facilitated by Dr Vikas Joshi (CEO at Harbinger Group).

Vikas presented four key types of disruptions that content providers can face. The panelists shared their experiences on how they found some interesting opportunities in the disruptions they had witnessed in their career span.

Socio-Economic Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are the disruptions that arise outside somewhere and affect your business.

Disruption Opportunity
COVID pandemic There is a need to produce COVID educational content in line with the disruption caused by the pandemic.
Rise in gig economy The gig economy generates rapid onboarding needs because people are going to come in and go out.
Inclusion of millennials in workforce The millennials in workforce are driving the need for micro learning.
Importance of diversity and inclusion – gender, race, accessibility A lot of makeover might be required for learning content that’s several years old and may need to be redone keeping the sensitivities for diversity & inclusion, going forward.
Focus on well-being With the increased focus on well-being, off-the-shelf content providers are looking at creating a lot of new content on mental health, financial well-being, etc.

Workplace Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are the disruptions you experience inside your business.

Disruption Opportunity
Shift towards remote work This disruption created opportunities for off-the-shelf content providers to help in developing competencies related to remote work. For example, managing team and motivation in a remote working mode.
Focus on digital channels New content was rapidly needed to develop skills of employees to use digital channels for communication. For examples, sales team need to start selling products and solutions online instead of face to face meetings.
Need for reskilling Employees need to be reskilled for new technologies, new processes, or new job roles; and these skills need to be developed in the context of the prior skills.
New public health regulations With the COVID situation, there are new public health regulations coming up and employees need to be trained before coming back to work.

Design Technology Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are changes at a technology level purely from a design perspective, these disruptions can impact the way you design learning content.

Disruption Opportunity
Rise in automation With technology upgrades, new ways of working emerged with automation. For example, platforms using AI to help in language learning; using Google translate for rapid and cost-effective translations. Using AI to generate questions from raw content by using tools like Quillionz. Off-the-shelf content providers can use technology to reduce the cost of production.
Phasing out of Adobe Flash With Flash sunsetting, there was a huge demand for migrating content to newer technologies like HTML5, Unity, and mobile-friendly content.
Rise of dynamic video This led to usage of technology to deliver interactive and dynamic videos with analytics. Exaltive is a great example of the same.
Emergence of mixed reality Boeing has reported 25% productivity improvement for technicians using mixed reality content. Off-the-shelf content providers are in the early stages of exploring this technology.

Delivery Technology Disruptions and the Opportunities They Create

These are disruptions driven be change in delivery technologies.

Disruption Opportunity
Emergence of social collaboration technology Social collaboration platforms like Teams and Slack are now used in day to day work life. Delivering learning through such platforms in the workflow is another opportunity area for off-the-shelf providers.
Increased adoption of mobile technology Using mobile to deliver learning bytes based on need and learning pattern is another opportunity for off-the-shelf content providers.
The shift from LMS to LXP There is a lot of conversation around how to syndicate off-the-shelf content with platforms like EdCast, Percipio, and Degreed.
Rise of artificial intelligence/machine learning Delivering off-the-shelf content pieces for personalized learning experiences to learners using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies is another area of opportunity to explore.
Rich data analytics Generating rich data analytics based on learner behaviors and work patterns; and using those insights to deliver just-in-time learning content in the workflow, has huge potential.

As evident from above, there are opportunities that each types of disruption can bring along. Off-the-shelf content providers need to carefully watch out for those and take advantage of them. At the same time, it is not feasible for off-the-shelf providers to work on each opportunity on their own.  Custom content learning businesses can support them for best results.

Here is the link to the complete Power Hour session recording.

Have you devised an opportunity out of a technology disruption? What success stories do you have to share with the industry? Please comment below or drop us a note at info@harbingerlearning.com.

P.E.S.E. – A Framework to Support Remote Learning

In my last blog, I touched upon the P.E.S.E. (Prepare. Engage. Support. Evaluate.) framework that Harbinger uses for building and implementing remote learning programs for its clients. Today, we will understand this framework in detail.

P.E.S.E. basically breaks down the successful implementation process of remote learning solutions into 4 distinct phases.

Remote Learning Framework

Prepare

This is the starting point, the first pillar of this framework. This is where we lay the foundation of the success of the remote learning program.

There are multiple considerations you need to evaluate and decide on, at this stage

  • Business challenge that you are solving
  • Knowing your audience in terms of who they are, where they are, and how they are
  • Learning modality to be used for the program – VILT or eLearning, Game-based or videos
  • Role and choice of technology
  • Skillset of existing instructors – Assessing if they require any upskilling or reskilling

Engage

This is the second pillar of the framework. Learner engagement is of paramount importance in remote learning, when you know they can be distracted easily. There are three distinct stages at which you need to take care of learner engagement, in remote learning.

  • Pre-event
  • During the event
  • Post-event

To understand this better, let’s take the example of a virtual instructor-led training (VILT) session and understand how we could engage learners at each stage.

  • Pre-event: Creating a teaser animation video and rolling it out to the audience on the topic of the VILT session. This can generate curiosity and motivate learners to participate in the session.
  • During the event – Using group activities where learners can participate and brainstorm with their group members and compete with others. Sleek and modern visual learning design is also a great hook to ensure engagement from the learners during the event.
  • Post-event – It is very important to indulge in engaging learners post the event to enable better retention and to overcome the forgetting curve. Some ways this could be done for a VILT session are through nudging learners with small learning bytes after the event or sharing job-aids after the session.

Support

The third pillar of this framework is aimed at supporting learners throughout the life cycle of remote learning. The key is to integrate this support in the flow of work. You can consider options like having an AI-enabled virtual coach integrated in an office productivity tool like Slack or Microsoft teams to support your remote learners.

Evaluate

The fourth and the last pillar of this framework is aimed at evaluating the results of the remote learning program against the success parameters that were set. And based on the findings, if there is a need to make course corrections in the program, they can be implemented, and the program can be re-launched.

All the pillars of this framework play an equally important role in ensuring the success of any remote learning program. P.E.S.E. is a scalable and robust model. To know more about it, please drop us a line at info@harbingerlearning.com.

 

Pivoting a Business Model to Support Remote Learning Needs

COVID- 19 has created unprecedented humanitarian economic and psychological demands on our society. Nothing has been left untouched. One of the important business needs for organizations during these times has been to quickly figure out new ways of doing business and identifying potential opportunities. Dr. Anil Lamba, Director Lamcon Finance & Management Services Pvt. Ltd., shared his business model transformation story, in a webinar recently. His institute provides financial training programs. Dr. Lamba has successfully pivoted his business model to cater to emerging market needs of remote learning.

In the webinar, Dr. Anil Lamba talked about what it takes for a business owner to pivot around a business model and adapt to the changed market scenarios. He was accompanied by Utkarsh Mahajan from Harbinger Interactive Learning who spoke about a model to create engaging remote training programs. Here are some highlights.

Early Days of Lamcon and their Foray into eLearning
Dr. Lamba, who is a renowned corporate trainer now, used to be a full time practicing chartered accountant early in his career. From there, he moved to pursue his passion for teaching finance and gradually Lamcon was born. Today, Lamcon trains over 3000 companies across the world.

During the early days of Lamcon, Dr. Lamba decided that he will be the only trainer in the company to provide consistency in service. And that’s when he started to build an ecosystem around himself to meet the needs of their increasing clients. They started developing supporting products. They created a series of videos and that was the company’s foray into eLearning. They also created books. The common figure across all these products was Dr. Lamba. It helped maintain consistency in the entire ecosystem.

Business Model – Pre-Pandemic and Post-Pandemic

Lamcon had a business model where they trained in two ways.

  • In-company programs, conducted on invitation for employees of any company
  • Open programs, which are available for anyone to join

Dr. Lamba used to travel to company chosen venues to deliver these programs before the COVID- 19 pandemic hit. Live training videos were recorded at company locations and were utilized to train the larger employee set who could not make it for face to face training. Open programs were also delivered live. But Dr. Lamba, who has always believed that finance is a subject that everyone should know, always had a lurking thought at the back of his mind. He always wondered why he was training only 20-30 people in a room when this topic was relevant to almost everyone across the globe.

But early this year, due to COVID- 19, all physical training came to a halt and that is when Lamcon shifted to virtual training as the new mode of delivery to address their clients’ training needs. Dr. Lamba feels that it was a blessing in disguise for Lamcon because there is no limit to how many people he can train now. He is not confined by the four walls of a room. As an organization, Lamcon has decided to almost stop all face to face open training programs going forward, even beyond COVID- 19. They will also we will give an option to companies to opt for virtual training.

Lamcon uses Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), accompanied by eLearning modules. To support higher enrollments, they have shrunk the prices of the training by about 40%.

Productizing a Service

Training is a form of service and if you’re providing a service, you can only grow up to a certain point, beyond which there is a ceiling. Dr. Lamba always wanted to productize the service he provided – the books, videos, and the eLearning they created, was an attempt at the same. This made their service mass producible and there was no fear of hitting the ceiling.

Harbinger’s P.E.S.E. Framework for Remote Learning

Remote Learning Framework

Lamcon worked with Harbinger Interactive Learning to create their remote learning assets. With over 30 years of experience, Harbinger boasts of developing various innovative learning solutions for its clients. And the recent times have been no different. Harbinger has been actively supporting its clients in creating remote learning solutions using the P.E.S.E. (Prepare. Engage. Support. Evaluate.) framework. We will cover more about this framework in our next blog. Until then, stay tuned.

For any queries, please reach out to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

Driving Organizational Change Initiatives Through Remote Learning: A Case Study

Today, one of the most important business needs for organizations is to create a sustainable and scalable learning ecosystem for the ever-evolving workplace. No longer can L&D departments afford to work in silos. The key job that L&D leaders have on their hands is to keep their (remote) workforce engaged by instituting learning in the flow of their work and to create measurable business impact through learning. All of this leads back to delivering the right content to the right person at the right time in the way they want it, to improve business outcomes.

As a 105-year-old privately-owned company, Midmark Corporation, a leading manufacturer of medical, dental, veterinary products and related services, has been through many transformations in its lifetime.  Sometime back, they decided to expand their focus from products to providing seamless solutions that improve the experience between the patient and the caregiver.  The Professional Education team at Midmark was tasked with the responsibility of accomplishing this organizational level change initiative through implementation of remote learning solutions. The team realized that to achieve the end goal, it was important to help Midmark teammates understand the clinical and patient experience and how their products help improve patient outcomes. To facilitate the required learning, Midmark strategized and selected multiple methodologies.

Details of the components used in their blended learning program are shared below.

  1. Introductory video

To begin with, the Professional Education team sent an introductory video by their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Tom Schwieterman, explaining that Midmark was going to focus on COPD and Spirometry. The reasons for this choice (listed below) were shared with learners via multiple mediums – posters, on stage with patients, through patient video, etc.

    • COPD is the 3rd leading disease cause of death in United States.
    • There are 160,000 COPD related deaths in the United States every year.
    • It is estimated there are 12-14 million people in the US with COPD that are undiagnosed.  And Spirometry is the most effective and common method for diagnosing COPD.
    • Only about half of Primary Care offices have spirometry test equipment, and if they do, they may not know how to get it into their workflow or interpret the results.
    • COVID-19 has left many people with permanent lung damage that moves them into the COPD realm of care.
    • Midmark believes they can help more clinicians learn how to incorporate spirometry testing into their daily practices and hopefully make a positive impact for patients with COPD.

2. eLearning module

The talking head video was followed with a “What is COPD?” eLearning module. This module provided an overview of what causes COPD, profiles of people with COPD, and Midmark’s solution set.

3. Live presentation

At their annual Commercial Summit, Dr. Tom gave a live presentation on the need to address COPD as a company. This was to reiterate the importance of addressing COPD. They also had posters on the walls around the presentation room with key facts about COPD.

In a remote learning setup, Dr. Tom’s presentation could have been handled via an interactive webinar.

4. Q&A session

And then Midmark brought on stage two patients with stage-4 COPD, to hold a Q&A session with the audience. The Professional Education team had also made a video of the patients telling their stories that was shown before bringing them on stage.

In a remote learning setup, the video could have been streamed remotely and the Q&A could have been held online.

5. Hands-on training session

The team then had the learners rotate through hands-on spirometry testing sessions where they learned to use the spirometry equipment and take tests on themselves.

In a remote learning setup, this could be done remotely via a webinar and through individual coaching as the key sales teammates have their own spirometry devices as part of their sales kit.

6. Gamification modules

Over the next few weeks, the team rolled out 4 ‘Day in the Life of a Patient with COPD’ gamification modules where the learner had to make decisions on how to deal with the impact of COPD in daily life activities. These modules, which were produced by Harbinger, comprised 4 topics

  1. Having a flare-up while doing normal activities
  2. The stigma of having COPD
  3. The responsibility to take care of yourself
  4. Options to keep healthy

Gamification elements such as scores and Patient Wellbeing Indicators were used to increase the engagement level of the modules and emphasize the importance of taking appropriate decisions at right time.

Outcomes

Mid-way through the program, Midmark surveyed a cross section of their sales and marketing teammates. Some of them have very little to do with COPD or selling spirometry products and services.

Here are some key insights

  • 91% of them found Dr. Tom’s overview video Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 97% found the “What is COPD” eLearning module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • 91% found the first Day in the Life gamification module Very or Somewhat Useful
  • No one found any of the above “not useful” even though they may not be involved with spirometry

What is interesting is that the videos and eLearning modules were rated higher than the hands-on spirometry workshops that only received an 80% useful score. The fact that the hands-on spirometry training received relatively less approval as compared to the other learning modalities, speaks about how remote/online learning, if planned and structured well, can get us the desired business results.

Learnings

Here are some key learnings that the Midmark team captured from their whole experience.

  • No matter how short a module is, learners like to know ahead of time how much time it will take them to complete the module
  • They found that allowing teammates to study topics remotely per their personal schedule allowed for more focused attention
  • Learners need to understand how the topic fits into their sales goals and corporate strategies
  • And, the learners’ managers need to understand how important it is for them to proactively support the learning

On June 18, 2020, Midmark Corporation and Harbinger Interactive Learning came together to deliver an insightful webinar touching upon all the above aspects. You may view the webinar recording here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW-IV7yblJs and hear it directly from Cleon Wellington, Professional Education Director at Midmark Corporation. For any further queries or to have a discussion, please reach out to info@harbingerlearning.com.