Even before the pandemic, the learning industry was in a period of rapid, technology-led change. This is even more evident as we settle into the post-lockdown period, but improved learning outcomes cannot be achieved by new technology alone.

What we know for sure is that not all business problems can be solved by a technical solution. For example, simply replacing face-to-face courses with online resources is not enough to ensure the engagement is there and the learning outcomes are the same, let alone better.

As learning professionals, now more than ever, we need to walk alongside our clients to address not only the technical challenges of introducing new technology, but also consider what else needs to change in the organisation. This is the adaptive challenge. It requires people to develop new ways of doing things, rather than simply coordinating behaviour and organising people to apply a known fix or solution. And it requires leadership that understands how to bring the people along with the change.

The pandemic has forced us to challenge previous approaches to work, but it is critical that we identify which challenges require adaptation, and distinguish them from those that are purely technical. Success in what, for some, has been a rapid move to learning online will only be realised if together we also value the changes required by individuals and groups around their behaviours, and how they interact and form new relationships.

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Timing is everything, and I’m privileged to be currently learning in depth about adaptive leadership (Advanced Leadership Programme, Women and Leadership). As a result, Like-Minded are incorporating aspects of adaptive leadership to help our clients make long term and effective change in this difficult time. Our aim is to work closely with all stakeholders to provide them not only with the right technical solution, but also to help them identify and implement the supporting activities that will underpin the required adaptation.

If adaptive challenge or adaptive leadership are new to you, check them out or read The Practice of Adaptive Leadership. There’s never been a better time to use this model to guide a successful transition to online or blended learning delivery. 

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