Building a culture of Collaborative Learning will be more important in 2022 than ever before—and video is key in an organization‘s success.
Powtoon’s Head of Content, Nick Liebman, recently sat down with Jonah Goldstein, Head of Learning at 360Learning, for a look at important learning trends in the year ahead, and how to start implementing a truly Collaborative Learning culture in 2022. You can check out the recording of their interview here, or peruse the written highlights below:
Nick: What are some of the trends you're seeing emerge for 2022 in learning and development?
Jonah: Learning has always been, in my opinion, a critical strategic role in a lot of organizations. But I think even more so in 2022, that's the case. Organizations are forced to be nimble, to be agile. The pace of change just keeps on accelerating. And, of course, we get bombarded with lots of other unknowns and variables that make the functioning of an organization difficult. So learning, and being a Learning Organization, is critical in 2022.
Companies need to have their people curious, skilled, and on the cutting edge. Work needs to be a place where you learn from one another and where you're able to share. Peer-to-peer or Collaborative Learning is so important. At the moment, I think it is still mainly a trend, but frankly, organizations must get on board with this.
L&D professionals like myself need to be enablers within an organization. We need to create the opportunities and channels for people to capture tribal knowledge, which exists in specific teams and truly facilitates the flow of information.
An emerging L&D trend that I see is that learning and development is slowly shifting away from being a top-to-down content producer and instead allowing L&D teams to become knowledge brokers who create a network within their organizations and encourage curiosity for collaborative exchange of information.
Learning, and being a Learning Organization, is critical in 2022.
Nick: What's the role of video that you see, especially among teams trying to implement this more holistic approach to learning?
Jonah: The role of video today is to continue to bring a face to the expertise that we're sharing within our organizations, especially in remote contexts.
Just to give you a real concrete example: one of the ways we're using and leveraging video is with our sales teams. Our sales reps can record themselves doing demos, create a real-life example of how they pitch our product, and talk about it. Afterward, they can share that video with their peers, coaches, managers, or other people and get feedback.
This kind of real, authentic capturing is a really powerful thing, and we wouldn't be able to do that without video capabilities.
The role of video today is to continue to bring a face to the expertise that we're sharing within our organizations, especially in remote contexts.
Nick: Let's say you've got an L&D team who sees the trends and are on board with them. How do they get buy-in from the rest of their organization, executives, and other teams?
Jonah: We need to be proactive. We need to be out in the business talking with people to truly understand the issues, challenges, and opportunities. It’s essential to identify those problems through collaborative means and learn to address those issues and communicate around them.
A process like this helps you to recognize what's important, address problems quicker and ultimately communicate your results back to the organization, saying, “Look, we identified this, we worked on it with other stakeholders, and these were the results.”
That's what I call a success story that we can replicate, and that's a recipe for buy-in!
It is a recipe that will work regardless of what you're trying to do, but even more so for learning, because we are not often seen as identifiers of critical business opportunities. If we communicate collaboratively to identify and resolve issues together, L&D professionals will be seen as identifiers of those important business opportunities and ultimately get executives and other teams on board.
Nick: So it’s about having that kind of pilot program and being able to show measurable results, combined with intentional work of positioning and learning in the organization.
Jonah: Yes, and doing it at pace because I think that that's what organizations value too. If you're able to have a win that's done quickly and effectively, while bringing people together and creating this kind of collaboration around something, then that's huge. It’s a model of what success should look like in many organizations.
If we communicate collaboratively to identify and resolve issues together, L&D professionals will be seen as identifiers of those important business opportunities.
Nick: Ok. So if my organization is ready to launch this pilot project, but we are primarily using one-on-one learning and long, in-person training sessions. Where should we begin updating our approach? How should we start this transition?
Jonah: A lot of the L&D folks that I exchange ideas with talk about onboarding as an important first use case, especially for companies that are growing fast, are remote, or international. Video in that context is really powerful.
You can, for example, share videos of your key players from the organization, like the CEO or your executives. Those videos don't need to be super polished, just authentic. You might not have the luxury to bring people together all in one room anymore, so you will need a real and repeatable solution that allows someone who is remote to have an authentic experience with other people.
Video gives us the capability to have human interactions and creates a Collaborative Learning experience. It is a powerful tool that can make new employees feel connected during the onboarding process. But beyond that, it can help them build their “relational scaffolding,” as a friend of mine likes to call it, which is absolutely critical when starting a new job.
Onboarding is an excellent example of where we previously relied on bringing people together in a room, but today we need to change that paradigm, while still bringing people together when we can. That’s why it is essential to think about how you can use video and other media to create an impactful onboarding process.
Nick: Definitely. L&D teams can use video at every stage of the employee experience. For example recruiting, onboarding, actual learning content, upskilling, and offboarding as well. As much as you hate to see people go, they sometimes leave the organization for other opportunities, and it is crucial to have a smooth and organized offboarding strategy in place.
Video can help new employees build their “relational scaffolding,” which is absolutely critical when starting a new job.
Nick: Let’s say my department is on board, we're going to move to a more collaborative approach and would like to implement peer-to-peer learning. How do we encourage the other departments to participate and share their knowledge? How do you influence the company culture to move in that direction?
Jonah: To give you a really concrete example. Let’s talk about identifying the learning needs of our organization. We are wrapping up 2021 and we're going to move into 2022. So some questions that we discuss are:
Traditionally, that might have been a top-down exercise, plotted out on your strategic roadmap. You speak with a couple of executives. Maybe trickle down into different departments and figure it out. Many of us look at the data we have from performance reviews and skills gaps.
And that's great. There's very much still a place for that in organizations.
However, if you really want to implement peer-to-peer learning and a bottom up culture of sharing and collaborating around the learning experience, you need to complement your top-down learning and needs analysis with a means for people in your organization to individually identify and share their needs.
Your employees should be able to say, “I recognize that I need to improve in this or this area.” The trick is to not just ask them to share, but to provide the transparency for those needs to be seen by the entire organization.
This transparency will allow someone else in the company to recognize, “Oh, I have the same need.” While someone else might say, “Well, you know what, I actually have some experience in that. Let's get together and talk about how I can share that knowledge.”
So again, coming back to what I said at the beginning, L&D teams need to create opportunities, channels, and instances for peer-to-peer learning to happen.
Instead of telling your organization mandates from up high, ask your employees what they feel like they need. Try to figure out what is going to have the most impact and how you can leverage the collective knowledge of the organization and help each other meet your goals.
(If you want to see more, check out our tips on building a company culture through peer-to-peer learning over on Powtoon’s blog.)
Check out Jonah’s #CLOConnect series to see interviews with other L&D professionals. If you’re an L&D professional yourself, reach out and ask about his private Slack channel, just for those in the business.
See Nick’s weekly video how-tos, published every Tuesday on the Powtoon YouTube channel to get insightful tips and tricks on video creation. And don’t forget to download Powtoon’s L&D guide to discover how you can leverage video throughout your organization’s entire learning experience.