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  • Writer's pictureIra Ketkin

Let's talk about the elephant in the room - COVID-19

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Every day I receive at least 5 invitations to webinars that tackle the issue of how to approach L&D in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in my courses on Udemy I constantly get asked by students what does it mean for L&D.

So here are a few thoughts on the topic.

First, I don't think there is absolute truth when in comes to what the pandemic means and how to adapt our day-to-day. For everyone it needs to be a personal decision. If your company allows you to work and develop from home, then great. If it doesn't, then perhaps you need to consider alternative ways to help people learn.

And this is where I will take a slight detour - is online learning the best way to learn? This an old question, one that keeps being tackled over and over. And again, there isn't a straightforward answer. What works for me, may not work for you and vice versa! So what does it mean for L&D? You need to not just adapt the L&D solutions but you also need to know your learners (almost) individually - their learning styles, their preferences, their personal performance and learning gaps and so on. This would mean that the learning needs analysis on a high-level is no longer relevant - we need deep dives into everyone individually.

Second, there is a lot of content on the topic... maybe too much! Within the first week of the lockdown announcement, I received an educational announcement from an instructor on Udemy about his latest course on dealing with the effects of the COVID-19. While I didn't watch every course and read every article on the topic, it seems a bit rushed and half-cooked. Is all of this content really good? Is it helpful? Is it kind to people's suffering? While it's great that a lot of companies are taking advantage of the situation but shifting to eLearning and offering their services online, something inside me keeps nagging me about the quality of all this content. Surely, it can't all be great or true?! It almost feels like the 'fake news' phenomena but for trainings and webinars.

Next, based on the student count on my courses on Udemy, there has been a rise. And that makes me very happy! And no, not because that translates into sales for me (it helps but it's not the main point). The way I interpret this is that while people are locked inside, a big majority of them invest in their growth and career development. As an L&D practitioner, this 'music to my ears', so to speak - we love working with people who want to learn.

Finally, quite a few people have now approached me to ask how to transition to L&D in these troubling times. And the answer is "I don't know". At this point in time I don't even know what the recruitment process looks like (if you do, please let me know in the comments!) let alone if now is the right time to switch careers (again, if you've done it, please let me know how in the comments!). There are a lot of questions that won't be answered any time soon - for L&D or any other field for that matter.

In conclusion, I think I would like to see

  • more learning vendors take greater responsibility for the content they put out,

  • learners keep learning at this rate (even after the lockdown)

  • we stop acting like we know what we are doing - nobody does and that's ok

It's great that companies and people are adapting and finding new opportunities in the crisis. Just remember the old saying "You spend so much time thinking if you could, you forgot to think if you should".

Until next time!



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