I Want to Have My Cake and Eat It

I want what I want. The way I want it. At a price that works.

We all do.

Despite the old adage, I want to have my cake and eat it.

We all do.

I’ve been reflecting recently about how this plays out in the industry I work in; Learning and Development. In this article, I’ll share why I think a little shake-up is no bad thing, and why maybe  (just maybe) we can create a learning cake that we can have and eat.

I have yet to come across a business that doesn’t at least in word have its people as part of its core strategy, a key priority, at the heart of its vision or values or in whatever similar terminology they choose to use.

However, I rarely meet an L&D leader who feels like they have the full support of ‘the business’ or the right access to ‘the big table’. Of course, one of the age-old struggles is demonstrating the exact ROI or business benefit of the investment required for training of ‘soft skills’. Slice the pie whichever way you like. It’s very difficult for organisations to come to any conclusion other than that soft skills training is an important thing to do, whether it’s for the increase in performance or results that growth and development can achieve. Or because every engagement survey out there will tell you that people want to develop. Perhaps simply because of the hard fact that if employees aren’t being supported to grow, they’ll look for an employer where they’ll get that support.

The 2020 Impact

Now, bring into the mix everything 2020 has thrown our way (yes, I’m talking about that again!) and of course it has forced some organisations into remote and flexible working who had been resisting. But, for the vast majority, it has simply been an acceleration and concentrated version of an already shifting trend. In L&D, I believe it has brought around an opening of a new pathway.

Webinars, Virtual Learning, e-Seminars, Digital Workshops… or whatever you call them. They have traditionally been seen as the poorer sibling of the face-to-face learning intervention. And for good cause! People traditionally dialled in, but didn’t engage. A clunky PowerPoint deck (which probably wasn’t designed specifically for virtual delivery), was talked through (reading the slides) by a monotone voice from a distracted face in the corner of the screen which was obviously more concerned with using the digital platform correctly than making any real learning impact.

Now, most of us have no choice but to use video calls all day, everyday. We are all used to the format, used to talking and used to unmuting and muting (even if we have all had to apologise for being on mute one too many times.) If we don’t engage with people here, then we really will be completely isolated. What it means is that we now have thousands of disparate workers, desperate to connect online. It’s a workforce primed for remote virtual learning like never before.

It also means that our team at Interactive Workshops can deploy all of our skills built up over the last decade of running live workshops to this virtual environment. Specifically, we created PlayBook – unlimited live learning for everyone – to speak to this very real virtual learning opportunity.

Unlimited live learning for everyone

There are four things we realised PlayBook needed to be to be an effective learning tool for remote organisations.

  • Virtual: Sessions for any population size, anywhere, anytime.
  • Live: The power of an expert live presenter to download learning and apply it to very real-world live questions.
  • Low-Cost: A suite of workshops already researched and created ready to roll-out. No bespoke consulting design costs.
  • Scientifically Based: Every piece of content presented with validated research or neuroscience. Universal principles presented so individuals can apply them specifically.

Watching ‘e-Learning’ content will never give a live, engaging, interactive learning experience. The impact could never be the same. But I firmly believe that the changes in the digital connection appetite and ability of the global population means virtual learning is now working.

What about our difficulty in demonstrating ROI? If the low cost of virtual as compared to face-to-face doesn’t do the job already, then pick some of the ‘hard skills’ commercial topics and challenge the business to measure the numbers.

When the organisation picks the topics, chooses the frequency and a world-class L&D agency brings the virtual, live, low-cost and scientifically-based learning, facilitated brilliantly by engaging experts maximising virtual delivery… the learner really does get to have their cake and eat it.

They get what they want. The way they want it. At a price that works.

We all do.