I hope we all know by now, that learning takes place in many, many, many more arenas than just a classroom.
For some learning teams and their people, the thought of not learning in a classroom is a terrifying and confusing thought.
One of the top questions I’m asked across my network is “Ross, I want to embrace this whole digital learning, blended learning, best of breed ecosystem, continuous learning, #insertlatestbuzzword here stuff in my business but I don’t know where to start or what things I can do”
Well my friends, let me drop some knowledge and share some things you could look to do.
✍️ Build or write a blog
Share your team’s work with the business, what you’re working, what’s coming soon. Get your people involved too, post articles from your people explaining what they do, how they do it and feature spotlights on tools, processes etc.
📹 Make some videos, don’t be shy
Do you know that video continues to rise as the largest form of consumed content by humans today? Maybe you should jump on this bandwagon.
You can film internal masterclasses, film yourself talking about new learning programmes and even better get your people involved. Encourage them to share short 1-3 minute clips, sharing their learning stories, tips, advice and reviews.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this. I use my phone and imovie or a free editing app called Shotcut to put it all together and share with the world. (Check out my how to easily film and edit videos with your phone and free apps step by step guide).
😮 Build a secret marketing group
If you’ve read any of my work before, you’ll know just how important I feel marketing and engagement is in the world of L&D.
How about you help yourself with raising the brand of your learning team and it’s work through creating mini secret marketing teams of your people across the business who can be the voice of learning for their area and champion your work to the masses?
💬 Use collaboration tools to enable social discussions
Does your business use Slack, Microsoft Teams or any of those other awesome collaboration tools? If so, you can put this to work for you.
Most of these tools will allow you to create groups for people to come together, ask questions, share knowledge and truly enable a social learning experience. Why not build some groups for people in your business performing key roles and give them a place to support and learn from each other.
🥳 Host a learning festival
Make it fun, engaging and a free flowing experience.
Show your people where they can take their career in your business and all the great stuff you have to help them develop the skills and experiences to get there.
🤔 Set learning themed challenges for your people
Ask them to review your resources and their skills to identify what 3 resources and experiences they could use to develop their talent stack in the next 6 months.
What’s the prize for this you say? Well it’s not some lame badges or a certificate, it’s the accolade of your people investing in themselves and building skills so they can set themselves up for more success in their careers.
✅ Curate external resources
There are literally millions of free resources online that you could share with your people.
Everything ranging from TED talks, insightful books and content from some of the leading thinkers and innovators across many industries. All of these are great tools to supplement your internal learning offer and showcase the possibilities to your people.
🦸♀️ Mentor me, Mentor you
Many people are familiar with a mentoring model of an elder parting wisdom to someone of a younger generation in navigating their business, career, life and more. This is great, yet mentoring has much more potential than this.
Over the past few years I’ve been experimenting with what I can only describe as a skill swap mentor relationship. Where I share a particular skill set I have with a colleague so they can add it to their own stack or vice versa, where I’m the mentee learning a new skill from a pro.
This is a process I thoroughly enjoy and find so much use in alongside the traditional mentoring model. We can all share our skills with those of any generation and in fact, learn many things about navigating the world around us at the same time too.
📰 Share a learning newsletter
Contrary to what some people say, newsletter’s are alive, well and can be a great asset if used correctly.
Just because this method might seem a bit old school now compared to social media, it doesn’t mean it’s dead and buried. I can tell you from experience that an effective newsletter campaign can transform the impact and engagement of learning resources across your business.
If you want to enable your people to find the resources they need for when the times comes, then I’d suggest creating a constant connection with them so they are informed on everything your team has to offer.
🎧 Get trendy with podcasts
Over the last 5-6 years, it seems like the world has been taken over by podcasts.
Their meteoric rise in popularity provides another useful median for us to use when connecting with people in their own learning journeys.
You might not know it but internal workplace podcasts are becoming very popular too. They’re easy to setup once you invest a little bit of time getting to know the equipment and using basic audio editing tools (I’m talking like no more than an hour here).
The maintenance time is also very low too, once you get into the swing of things.
I’ve found them to be a much more engaging and personal form of media for people to engage with, and allow organisations to share key information outside of the traditional email.
A recommendation for you – keep them short! No more than 20 minutes max.
You might want to listen to your favourite podcaster for 3hrs in your spare time but you’re going to find that type of engagement in the workplace very difficult. So, keep them short and engaging as much as possible.
🏃♀️ Run mini skill sprints
Mini skill sprints are fast becoming one of my favourite experiences to create for fellow humans.
Here’s how it works ⬇️
- Pick a topic that you want your people to connect with and learn about deeply.
- Create a 2 week sprint style pace of learning where people partake in several mini activities across the 10 days, including group experiences, watching videos, reading and demo testing.
- Keep each activity short and sweet – no more than 10-15 mins every 2-3 days.
- Think collaboration tools and less classroom: These sprints don’t need any classroom interaction whatsoever. You can build all of these in a digital environment using tools like Slack and MS Teams. Let people partake in activities where they hang out and when it suits them.
👋 Host L&D meetups – let your people ask their burning questions
Now you could easily do this via digital channel like a collaboration tool, but sometimes it’s good to get some old fashioned face time with the people.
Why not try to host a regular weekly/monthly learning meetup across different areas of your business to connect with your audience.
Build this forum so they can meet you, ask their burning questions on learning resources and provide guidance on developing their career in the business.
You don’t need much for this at all, find a table, a chair and a open location, bring yourself and voila – you have a first learning meetup. You can do this easily in the digital world too with Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom.
That’s not all folks
This is all I can think of for now, as I write this early morning brain dump. However, I will commit to updating this list throughout the course of time with anything else that strikes me as useful and of course I’d love to hear thoughts from you too.
Share those thoughts, ideas and everything else in the comments below.
Before you go… 👋
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6 replies on “Out of the classroom experiences and other cool things to try for learning”
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