Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Altering How We Be taught And Work

Change the way we learn and work

If you read my last article, “Back to normal? Not going to happen!” You will find that I am extremely confident that we will not continue as we did before. Why would anyone want that? And if you hope so, then prepare for a major disappointment and a likely failure. Look, the toothpaste is out of the tube, the genie is out of the bottle, use any language you like, but we are all moving towards real progress. So either get on or stay behind.

Those who want to return to a (former) normal fear change. They are comfortable with things as they are and not as they should or even might be. They fail to recognize the social complacency that we have all become familiar with, and fail to recognize the potential that awaits them. You are the dinosaur. Don’t be a dinosaur.

The human species should grow, develop, change and learn. It’s programmed into our DNA. If we remain static and resist progress, our species will shrink and cease to exist. And if you don’t accept that fact, ask yourself, “Why is the human species at this stage of development?” If we were to stop evolving and evolving, you would be reading this article by a fire in a cave in sub-Saharan Africa. If you are one of those “resistance fighters” please stop going back to an irreconcilable past and look to the bright and opportunistic future.

As we emerge from this unique and one time event, many wonder how we are going to do things in new ways. To be honest, I don’t know what this will be, but a lot is already happening right under your nose … and you are probably contributing to it without even realizing it.

The pandemic is a blessing in disguise as it forces us to develop new and innovative methods. Do I wish society could move on without a tragic event like this? Of course I do, but as I said, social complacency is insidious. Seriously, these new avenues are amazing in my opinion and like me, you probably don’t even realize how they’re taking over your life. It’s time to realize it, embrace it, and then use it to your advantage.

Learning in the 21st Century

Learning is an area that has barely developed in the last century. Learning, as most of us know, usually takes place in a classroom setting where a subject expert lectures or teaches. Even well into the 21st century, with significant technological advances, those who develop eLearning are mimicking this outdated approach … until this pandemic. Those responsible for learning must now look to their truth and either meet expectations or be irrelevant (read: “eLearning’s Time To Shine? Apparently Not”).

Since the beginning of the pandemic and with little foreseeable end, educational resources have been forced to adapt their learning efforts to online remote models. If you have school age children, you know this too well. As a university professor, all of my courses that were once in the classroom have now become distance learning. And as an employee, not only are you working remotely, but all of your training and compliance needs in the workplace are likely virtual.

This is the moment that learners and many educators have wished for! The moment when eLearning is paramount and the standard for all types of learning interactions. This is the moment when practitioners might say, “Look, I told you!” to executives and decision-makers. For this type of occasion to be better there would have to be a bow or a cherry on it.

But eLearning doesn’t live up to the hype or expectations. This is a broad generalization, and there are some that live up to the eLearning promise, but these are the exceptions. The problem is that those responsible for on-the-job learning either quickly cobble together something worse, or turned worse, simply teacher-led courses into eLearning with no care, thought, or judgment.

It’s worse with academic institutions and educators. The administrators forced the teachers to convert their lessons in the classroom into virtual lessons. Most of it is just a remote “zoom style” classroom with terrible PowerPoint and poorly designed virtual activities. It should come as no surprise that staff and students are frustrated with learning.

Here’s a thought … how about actually living up to people’s learning expectations? How about demonstrating what eLearning and a blended learning approach can be and offer at a time when it is needed most? The pandemic won’t last forever, but you have the opportunity to create innovative and impactful (blended) learning environments. Academics and practitioners have (and have asked) the technology and software to do this. So it is time to add to your credibility for future endeavors, or to compromise it forever.

New way of working

Of course, the most obvious change for many of us is the collective new work reality. Remote working is nothing new. What is new is the scope of reality and how well we adapt to our new ways of working. Like many others, you probably haven’t seen the inside of your office, cubicle, or company building in over a year. And polls show you probably won’t be doing it for a long time, if at all.

Prior to the pandemic, only 7% of workers in the US had access to a “flexible workplace” or teleworking, based on a survey by the Pew Research Center using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest National Compensation survey. A recent survey by Pew found that more than half of workers want to continue working from home after the pandemic.

Frankly, when wonderful and welcoming employers tried to shape the corporate headquarters, it quickly got old and bleak. We have just accepted the dreary shuttle to another place, then come back after 8 hours and repeat the madness daily. This is such a 20th century mindset. The pandemic has clearly shown how outdated this approach is.

The pandemic has proven to corporate executives that employees do not have to physically appear in a specific location for a period of time. This was required when we had to do physical labor, like on an assembly line, but it is quite insulting to expect knowledge workers to do so. In an industrial environment it is important to be “present”. In knowledge, results and innovation are the expectation, not the presence. In 2022, Global Workplace Analytics predicts that 25 to 30% of the workforce will work from home several days a week. It is time to rethink and fully accept the new reality of how and where we work. Employers simply recognize and change their workplace paradigms and their reality.

That will not happen…

I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it, wanting to stop or want to “get back to normal”. It won’t and never should! There is no turning back, only forward. The pre-pandemic world was anchored in a very tired and out of date approach. We didn’t just notice it because social complacency set in. And when that happens, it’s no good. Our knowledge-based environment requires progressive thinking and approaches.

Every facet of our life, both personally and professionally, is changing. You can continue to resist and look for the “old days” and “old ways” but that only makes you nostalgic and irrelevant. Regardless of your role in the workplace, the new or “next normal” requires evolving work practices, workflows, adapting to the expectations of workers and employers and anyone learning from this pandemic what they need to do to be more adaptable and less be complacent.

The silver lining of the pandemic is your opportunity to nurture significant change and apply what you have learned to improve your future. We have all been given permission to reinvent how and where we work without having significant impact. It is now your responsibility to take this unique opportunity to learn, make change and grow.

Please share your thoughts and feedback with us. We look forward to hearing from your efforts. And who knows, maybe it will be the topic of our next article in the eLearning industry. Also, take a look at our LinkedIn learning courses to learn more about developing your business credibility for your learning endeavors. Please share your thoughts and remember to always study!

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