Today’s executives and managers are overwhelmed with the 24-hours news cycle, the demands from everyday life and the pressure from having to perform at work. Smartphones have made information, misinformation and staying connected ubiquitous. It is all around us all the time. However, what’s happened in the past month has alerted our faculty to the one key area of focus amid the deluge of electronic data: all online work must be human first.
What We Learned from Going Online
As we created online programming over the last few years, we have learned that simply being online isn’t enough. Rather, we must humanize our education. This was true years ago, but any shortcomings have been amplified in light of the current climate.
For that reason, before training becomes a curriculum, process, or a model, or a metric, we must ensure it is human first. And although it’s delivered through digital means, the importance of feeling, empathy and listening forms the foundations of Schulich ExecEd’s online programs.
How We Humanize Our Online Programs
Introductions are Back
Stop, be human. Our faculty are re-introducing new creative methods for virtual in-class introductions. What was considered a time drain, has now become more meaningful as learners wrestle with their own thoughts, concerns and questions.
We Don’t Convert, We Re-Design
The medium is different. The context is different. Simply converting a program risks making it less human. Instead, our faculty re-design their programs to dial up more listening and social activities to make learners more personally connected.
Group Size Matters
Although it is true that online learning is scalable, it is not proven that “scalable” and “effective learning” always work hand in hand. Schulich ExecEd’s online learning programs are truly private learning experiences that leverage the participants’ engagement first and foremost, which is why Schulich ExecEd limits the number of participants in specific learning events and modalities so as to optimize the learning experience.
We Keep it Brief, Frequent and Social
Transforming behaviours online requires frequency, brief learning events and social interactions. The confinement of a physical classroom and limits on time are not factors in design. Rather, our faculty focus on making learning brief, social and frequent.
We Make it Real
The speed of which our faculty produce online programming is critical. The latest research and current affairs are what matters to our learners. That’s why Schulich ExecEd’s faculty create a link between what’s happening in today’s world and academic content.
How We Engage Online Participants
The distractions from the online world are real. Many organizations raise valid points about their concern for keeping participants engaged while learning online. At Schulich ExecEd, our instructors use proven practices that vastly increase participant engagement. This starts with recognizing that distractions will happen, but rather than police it, Schulich ExecEd’s faculty coach to it – teaching participants how to learn efficiently online and the benefits of staying focused.
Technology isn’t Perfect, Neither is the Real World
Just like the real world, technology can have hiccups, lag or present challenges the same way a cold classroom, squeaky chair or noisy neighbor make learning in the real world challenging. Our faculty are equipped with techniques and the agile skills to work past technological issues, but they also recognize, just as learners do, that we are human in an imperfect world – making our online learning feel genuine and authentic.
In times such as this, when going virtual becomes more prevalent, we need to ensure that the warmth of a smile and the bellow of laughter are not lost in cyber space unless we let them. As we prepare learners for the new future, we continue to add layers of humanity to our online programming.