Allianz Partners – Virtual MDP
We needed to quickly and as seamlessly as possible convert a very successful leadership programme to be delivered fully online. The challenge was one of the first presented to us during lockdown and we’ve used it as a template for other conversions. Frankly, it’s been so successful that we don’t think we’ll go back for this programme! Here’s how we did it.
This was simplified somewhat due the fact that we have had an online learning transfer platform (PROMOTE) for a few years. However, the programmes we delivered still had some classroom-based events which (we thought) we had pared down to everything we need in a classroom event, nothing we don’t’, with other learning opportunities and learning transfer activities being driven through PROMOTE. We took a critical look at the classroom events and asked a simple question – ‘what will participants miss out on if we delivered this online?’ The answers surprised us!
The Missing Bits
We found that we could deliver the same learning opportunities online, with just a few tweaks. The surprise was what was still missing! What we like to call social learning: the things people learn in breaks & lunches, in casual 1:1 conversations with the facilitators and colleagues on the programme. We realised they would ’embed’ their learning with things like; comparing their feedback reports, talking through their current and proposed approaches to situations and discussing their own experiences in a more relaxed conversation. This set us thinking – how can we replicate that?
We already have a chat function in Promote which enables online, social interactions, however, we realised that individuals may not want to ‘air their dirty laundry in public’. There’s always an opportunity for them to chat with their line manager in Promote or outside it, in confidence, although again, that may not be an option for some. We realised that we needed to redesign the programme to build trust between individual learners and the facilitator as early as possible, in that way we could offer 1:1 conversations where issues that present fantastic learning opportunities are more likely to be picked up and true learning transfer happens (and sticks)!
Well, it was certainly a learning experience for all concerned. We were reminded that, as a facilitator, it’s not all about the classroom! And the learners? Well, some of them took to it early, enjoying the confidential 1:1 conversation and gaining greater clarity with how they were going to transfer the learning into the workplace.’ Some 1:1’s lasted 10mins, others needed a couple of hours!
Later in the programme others booked 1:1’s. We think this was driven mainly through the curiosity of needing to know if they were missing out – they were!
At Phoenix, we recognise that learning is work and work is learning! For any development programme to be successful it needs to be personalised, not just to the group but to the individuals and this was the missing bit – the personalisation that comes through those offline conversations.
Going forward, we’re going to keep them formally in our virtual programmes. We fully recognise their value more and will also actively encourage them when we get back to classroom events – if we ever do!