This week is Learning at Work Week with the theme of “learning journeys”.  A lot has happened over the last few months, and I am sure many of us have been on our own learning journey.

Adapting to learning remotely (whether through traditional online programmes, or using Zoom/Teams instead of traditional face to face learning) has been quite a learning curve for many people, including me.

However, I have been surprised by how much I have loved adapting face to face sessions to become virtual sessions.  I recently ran a 2-day programme with a group on leadership essentials and found that this new format works brilliantly!  Delegates haven’t had the frustration of sitting in traffic for 2 hours to get to the training venue, so had more energy.  They also weren’t clock watching at the end of the day, worrying about getting on the road to avoid the traffic.

But the biggest surprise for some delegates was how interactive the session was – group discussions and break out activities mean that there are lots of opportunities to get involved.  Working from home, and not being able to deliver face to face training, has meant that learning has had to adapt to become more flexible and made it accessible to more people.  I have loved the opportunity to be creative, for example thinking about I can incorporate more resources such as video and podcasts into my programmes.

Many people don’t recognise the plethora of things they learn during a day – how to use the new coffee machine, a new word they weren’t aware of previously or a new strategy for leading the team.  These all contribute to our learning journeys.

As a learning and development professional, I spend a lot of time thinking about the journey I take a delegate on during a training session – what does this person already know?  What to they need to know?  How do they like to learning?  How will they put what they have learnt into practice?  Because most of our learning happens when we actually get to do something with the thing we have learnt.

My Learning Journey

The theme of learning journeys also got me thinking about what I have learnt over the last few months.  Our current situation seems to have gone on forever, and has been frustrating.  But there have also been lots of good points and I have learnt a lot.

For example, I have learnt that I am more resilient than I thought I was.  Faced with the challenges 2020 has provided, many of us have found ways to adapt – planning events more carefully and embracing technology to catch up with friends and family.

And who can forget the virtual quizzes, workout sessions and cooking demonstrations!  I now bake every week (via Zoom) with my niece which I didn’t do at the start of the year.

I have also learnt that I enjoying running!  If you had told me in February that, by October, I would be someone who enjoys to run I would not have believed you.  However, during lockdown I took the opportunity to get fit and (with the support of some very special people) last month completed a “marathon in a month” challenge for charity.

The theme of learning journeys has encouraged me to think about my own learning journey, and where my journey may take me next.  I would love to hear about your learning journeys, and how these have changed over the last few months.

I am incredibly grateful for my learning journey, and am looking forward to planning what’s next!