Exploring the Best Ways to Deliver Leadership Training Through Face to Face and Digital Learning

With everything that’s happened in the past year, perhaps it’s no surprise that digital learning is a hot topic. As we’ve all been forced to move large parts of our work and home lives online wholesale during lockdowns, teaching and learning has also made the switch to being, if not digital only, at least digital first.

Obviously, the pandemic has accelerated this move to delivering learning interventions online. But it’s worth remembering that this trend began before we knew about Covid-19, and it’ll continue afterwards. Since the development and mass adoption of the internet, we’ve seen more and more learning and training move online, with providers offering courses to the general public on anything from cooking to beatboxing.

Within leadership development training, we’ve seen a similar trend. A sector of training that 10 years ago would have been entirely face to face is now moving online.

At Purple Owl, our story is similar. We used to deliver our training primarily face to face, considering online as an occasional substitute if it was required. But, over the years we’ve developed our offering, and now we have a strong digital learning provision for leadership development. We still offer face to face training – but we’re also investing in e-learning solutions, such as interactive e-learning (Fluidbook), gamification and we even offer a virtual learning platform!

With any learning intervention, it’s important that an effective analysis is undertaken before determining any learning solution. The analysis will dictate the appropriate delivery mechanism. Some key considerations for this analysis should be:

  • Value – what outcome is sought, and what will be the potential return
  • Resource – what resources are available including personell, systems and budget
  • Adaptability – how agile are you to effectively implement specific delivery mechanisms
  • Time – what is the timeline to achieve the outcome/return
  • Capability – do you have the appropriate skills, knowledge and behaviours to effectively implement

We really believe that there’s a lot of opportunity in digital learning to deliver targeted learning interventions in ways that really resonate. With gamification, we can actually offer learners practice scenarios that feel immersive and real. This allows learners to develop skills in a natural way. We’re really excited about the opportunity for digital learning of this kind – but we know that for many people, face to face is still the right method, so we take care to ensure our courses are available in as many ways as we can.

This new blended approach to leadership development allows us to truly partner with your business and get to know what approach, or approaches, will work best for you. Here’s a list of some of the crucial things that we look for to help figure this out.

Digital learning can be more flexible

One key advantage of digital learning is that it can be delivered asynchronously, with recorded sessions or exercises that your employees can access whenever is best for them. If your business has a lot of employees working remotely or based across time zones, this may mean that digital learning is the right option for you.

While some forms of digital learning are not asynchronous, in general digital learning offers more flexibility for learners, rather than requiring them to all gather in a room. If your business has a lot of flexible workers, it’s worth considering whether face to face learning could end up being really disruptive for them.

Remember that your staff have a range of learning needs

Another thing to bear in mind when you’re considering how to deliver leadership training in your business is that your staff will have a range of different learning needs. Some may respond better to different kinds of exercises while other may need more structure or more flexibility. Consider undertaking an audit across your staff to ask them how they’d prefer to learn, and take that into account when you’re planning how to deliver the learning.

Consider the needs of the business

The other thing to bear in mind is the needs of your business. The kinds of skills your business needs to develop – and the best way to develop them – are dependent on the kind of business it is. For example, digital leadership training may not be appropriate for a customer service setting where you’ll be meeting customers in a retail location, as you’ll want to be developing those softer skills in person. On the other side, face to face learning may be less appropriate for digital professionals who are primarily working online.

Don’t make value judgements

When you’re evaluating your options for delivering leadership training, it’s crucial not to make any value judgements. The different delivery options offer different things and are geared up to work in different ways. It’s about figuring out which is best for your business and your staff, rather than judging which is better in general.

Consider these things when you’re looking at your leadership training delivery options and you’ll be well on the way to making the right decision for your business. Digital learning can be used to facilitate a wider range of learning pathways and allow students the freedom to go at their own pace. Face to face learning is great for ensuring synchronicity in your leadership development training and making sure everybody gets the same feeling in the room.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important that your business’s leadership training delivery is deliberate, targeted and specific. It’s not as simple as just moving a face to face session onto Zoom and hoping for the best, it’s vital that you’re making a considered decision about how you deliver your training.

As we’re coming up to the end of the year, it’s a great time to reflect on the training provision in your business. How could it be made better? Which methods of delivery are working, which are not? Do you need to update or change anything to reflect the changing circumstances of the world? 

If you’re looking for a true partner to help you with your business’s leadership training needs, speak to Purple Owl. We take the time to truly get to know your business and we can deliver innovative forms of training alongside a robust set of traditional face to face courses.

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