Adapt learning content to be accessible anywhere in 4 steps (even if you’re not techy)!

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We’re in the thick of COVID-19 and it’s having significant impacts on the traditional face-to-face workshop that many of us have defaulted to for years – not to mention participants!

The thing is, that learning has been designed and delivered in many ways beyond face-to-face for years. I’ve long been a fan of learning happening in the work, when it is most relevant. Current circumstances make it a non-negotiable philosophy (read more in this post)!

So, if you’ve got a traditional face-to-face learning event that needs a quick adaptation because people aren’t gathering in groups due to COVID-19, here are 4 steps to get you on the right track quick smart:

Step 1: Explore all the ways of learning

This is about getting into the right headspace for making changes to your existing program. If you know much about 70:20:10 as a model for learning at work (and I know it has its detractors, but it’s perfect for broadening our thinking in this context), you’ll know that learning happens in many ways beyond the formal classroom environment.

So, with 70:20:10 in mind, here is an example of some of the ways that people could learn at work (not limited to…):

70: on-the-job

20: coaching / mentoring

10: formal learning

Job tasks

Special projects

Role shadowing


Continuous improvement activities

Cross-functional project

Line manager coaching

External executive coach

Formal mentor

Informal mentor

Learning huddles

Peer-to-peer coaching

Social learning platforms

Classroom workshop

Virtual workshop

Elearning modules

Industry publications

Academic publications

Explainer videos

TED talks


Step 2: Chunk down the content

Go to the learning objectives of your existing workshop and map them to the content. Usually this is already done for you just by looking at the agenda. What you’ll find is that whatever you had planned to deliver in a room across a whole day could be chunked down into easily consumable modules of content.

As an example, here are the content elements and learning objectives for a conflict management workshop I designed a few years ago:

Content topics

  • Conflict types and definitions
  • Personal responses to conflict
  • Tools and techniques for de-escalating and managing conflict (with consideration to confined spaces)
  • Opportunities for practice and feedback

Content topics aligned to learning objectives

Content topic

Learning objectives

·        Conflict types and definitions

  • Identify contributing factors to escalation of different conflict types and situations

·        Personal responses to conflict

  • Increase self-awareness and recognition of own triggers and responses to conflict

·        Tools and techniques

  • Access tools and techniques for identifying and managing conflict situations
  • Apply conflict management techniques to a variety of situations
  • Adapt communication skills to suit the needs of a diverse audience (culture, age, hierarchy, etc)

·        Opportunities for practice and feedback

  • Identify opportunities for experiential learning at work
  • Engage in feedback loops with peers at work

Step 3: Modularise into events

Now, think about how you can take your chunks of content and bring them to life in different ways. I go by simple formula for any learning regardless of modality and that is:

  • Provide relevant CONTENT
  • Create ways for people to CONNECT and make sense of the content
  • Agree ways to COMMENCE putting new insights into action

For alternative ways of delivering my ‘Conflict types and definitions’ content beyond face to face, it might look something like:

Content (10)

Email an infograph to participants of the main conflict types from the original participant workbook.

Schedule a 60 minute virtual session with participants to attend a group discussion based on the question: “for each conflict type, what is an example of how it plays out in your area of work?”

Connect (20)

Facilitate the virtual session for participants on pooling together responses to the question you sent. You may do this on webex and utilise whiteboard functions, chat, etc.

Commence (70)

Follow up virtual session with an action item for participants to lead a discussion with their peers at work on the types of conflict they experience and would like to focus on improving in their work area.

Send a nudge to participants to post the outcome of their action item on a shared discussion board of some kind (Yammer, Microsoft Teams, etc.).

Step 4: Communicate the journey

If you are transitioning a face-to-face workshop to a modularised self-paced or online learning solution right now during the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a pretty good chance that many other things are being disrupted for your participants, so you’ll need to communicate two things in particular:

  1. Very clearly why this learning solution is still relevant in amongst all the noise of the moment and won’t take up more of their time and cognitive energy to participate in.
  2. How your new structure will work end-to-end for people, the role they will play and the role that you will play in delivering and leading the learning.

Often, with this approach to learning, you’re actually asking participants to take more of a lead in their own learning and how they contribute to the learning of the group, so these dots often need to be joined for people to get a better rate of useful participation.

It also helps to ‘over communicate’ a little during your program. Without over doing it, regular email or messaging nudges to help keep momentum of action as well as recognising and celebrating with the participant group when people are contributing positively and helping each other gain insights along the way!

Now… get started!

So, there you have it. Not turning the world upside down, just tweaking a solution that has already had all the hard work done on it.

We are in the age if adaption. COVID-19 is a call to action. Our context changes all the time, so the need for learning and growth will continue. We need to be able to adapt to that need as an ongoing skill!

If this post got you thinking and you want to move to action but not sure of your first step, book a free 10 minute POWER-chat with Lachlan to work through your ideasClick here

Lachlan’s commitment to helping people succeed in the future of work is driven by core values of inclusive leadership, strength-based growth, development for all, customer-led design, and deep relationships.

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