Art of Work – Blending Learning

Table of Contents

Art of Work is a leadership training provider that exists to propel people into this new era of thinking. The organisation was engaged to roll out leadership training at one of Australia’s leading retailers.

The large retailer wanted to shift the way it thought about and practised ‘safe work’, a core tenant of its operations. The organisations wanted to address ‘safe work’ in a more agile and responsive manner, identifying issues and deploying solutions rapidly to ensure the safety of their workforce.

The organisation faced a number of key challenges in rolling out this training. The first was the vast geographic spread of those that needed to be trained. This retail giant has outlets all over the country, so detailed face-to-face training would be challenging to manage. The people taking the training were leaders within the organisation, so their time was very precious, and every effort had to be made to make the training as efficient and time effective as possible. Finally, the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns meant the team was uncertain of the ongoing future of face-to-face sessions.

The client had also mentioned that in the past, a lot of the leadership training sessions it had run spent a lot of time addressing basic themes that could have more effectively been covered before the face-to-face sessions took place.

Taking all of this into account, Art of Work decided and pitched a blended learning model to its client. A model where pre-work could be done online, meaning that when participants came to the face-to-face sessions, they were as prepared as they could be to make the most of those sessions.

The client had expressly stated that it wanted to move away from traditional leadership training with long days in the classroom and printed workbooks that would eventually be stored at the bottom of a filing cabinet. So this would need to be considered in Art of Work’s response.

Development / Implementation

To deliver its blended learning approach Art of Work partnered with Tribal Habits as a technology partner.

Art of Work spent a great of time and effort understanding its clients’ needs and determining what parts of the ne3w safety training were best suited to the online environment and what needed to remain in the face-to-face sessions.

The organisation challenged the traditional nature of blended learning, which involves online and offline training, by bringing the technology into the classroom. All pre-work was completed on the Tribal Habits platform, meaning that learners at face-to-face sessions with a good understanding of what would be addressed that day.

By supporting a face-to-face session with the Tribal Habits online learning platform, the Art of Work were able to do away with traditional printed notebooks. Tribal Habits contains a digital notebook that staff were encouraged to fill out during the sessions. This meant that all the pre-work that was conducted online and any notes, questions and activities carried out in the face-to-face sessions were all stored in one place.

This blending of synchronous and asynchronous learning allowed Art of Work to be incredibly responsive to its customers’ needs. If an issue came up during the in-person sessions, the team were able to quickly spin up online training on that topic in the sessions, addressing the real challenges it’s client faced.

Throughout the implementation of the blended model, Art of Work continually built in reflective elements in its training to encourage learners to understand where they were coming from and how the lessons they had learned could be implemented into their workplace.

In terms of timing, the team at Art of Work were able to create all elements of the leadership training (both online and in-person) in under two weeks.

The training created was closely linked to the achievement of the organisational goals of its client.

How it’s going

Feedback from the client was incredibly positive. The training was viewed as modern and far more interactive than previous attempts at leadership training in the safety space.

Managers within the client were hugely impressed with the pre-work approach stating that their staff reported being able to do elements of the training in their own time online made the face-to-face sessions infinitely more engaging and valuable. When face-to-face sessions took place, there was no need to cover the laborious material that learners had already addressed in the online training.

The blending of online and offline training and bringing the technology to the classroom was seen as a huge win as well. The digital workbooks allowed learners to open up about the challenges they were having and provided an outlet to address those challenges. Insights were uncovered that would have otherwise remained hidden, and a more robust communication chain was established.

Learners reported that having training reference material available online rather than in printed workbooks made it’s a lot easier to access, particularly once the in-persons sessions had finished. Staff can easily access what they learned in training at any point in the future.

The training provided by Art of Work was designed to achieve and capture Kirkpatrick behavioural changes. Team members at the client have reported that the on-the-job activities encouraged and recorded through the online platform have been a great way of validating these behavioural changes.

Results

The pilot program was viewed as a huge success by the client and will be rolled out to 4000+ leaders over the next three years.

The Art of Work blended learning approach involves an inclusive platform that crosses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning styles, leveraging participants’ existing base of knowledge and experience to capture valuable insights and perspectives that help learners contextualise new concepts and principles.

Key concepts are explored across each of the blended elements without explicit repetition. Online material hosted on Tribal Habits incorporates reading, video and audio content, and user interaction modules. Interaction on smart devices is quick and frenetic and aligns with modern information sharing habitude (social media, texting).

Facilitator prompted self-reflection is complemented by a private note journal feature. The private notes give users a safe and formal outlet to gather their thoughts providing deeper insight to prompted and captured interactions and responses.

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