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Learning & Covid-19

2020 has been a year of going back to class. We needed to learn and unlearn how to teach again, and this time a hundred percent online. Many businesses and organizations have had to rethink how they approach training, forcing the Learning and Development professionals to rapidly adopt virtual and online solutions.

Whether they have been effective solutions or not depends on the pedagogical approach that was employed from the very beginning. To be honest, it was quite a challenge and an opportunity to learn as well. I was wondering how I could make this switch both quickly and effectively. This had to come with mistakes. Trying to study all the possible tools for training. 

The rise of the internet has been a major development driving this growth of leadership and personal development. With the invention of TED Talks and Master Classes running on Youtube, one can get self- nourishment and learn a few tips in life from those who have gone before them. However, there’s still a great need for equalizing education and information, curbing the digital divide and now more than ever, focusing on a blended form of learning. 

Not many of our fellows managed to access the internet at the beginning of the online transition and we had to rethink strategies for improving internet connection. When this was solved, the other challenge was participation and engagement. Who were behind the screens and were they there in the first place? The most important question being, how would we redesign the curriculum to improve online engagement and follow-up on assignments?

I remember the 2020 graduation ceremony being one of the major Learning & Development milestones. It was quite emotional collecting feedback from fellows who would have preferred a face to face graduation ceremony, which definitely could not happen. The theme, ‘Nurturing Resilient Change-makers’ carried the event, reflecting on the impossibilities and the new possibilities of being a change-maker during and after Covid-19. 

I have learned a lot and I’m looking forward to yet another year with more lessons. For now we definitely should focus on an infectious disease preparedness plan, which addresses the needs for social distancing, staggered training shifts and introducing a curriculum that robustly upholds blended learning. Lastly, now we need to embrace technology more than ever. We need to employ collaboration tools that will help us reach learners who might not be in the classroom. Most importantly, we need to maximize on interactive technology that enables learners to receive feedback and take assessments. My greatest take-away this year is that as the training and development field evolves, we get to adapt quickly for our survival.

-Loyce Odo, Learning & Development Lead

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