Experiential Learning and Responding to COVID

In many respects, COVID has arguably been a significant catalyst for change in the area of learning and development. As John F Kennedy stated, “Crisis presents a choice” and perhaps now has never been a better time for organisations seeking to provide meaningful training or continued professional development to their displaced workforce, to make one and implement alternative longer-term learning delivery strategies.

Traditionally, organisations training people in practitioner related skills, have been required to incur expensive costs for hiring training venues and paying staff travel and accommodation. Managing employee abstraction in the process has also often been challenging. Opportunities for experiential learning using specialised technology historically came at a high cost and were limited to a fortunate few, and whilst LMS platforms have their place, they do have limitations and are no substitute for the personal transition of knowledge and experiential learning. The challenges presented by ‘Zoom fatigue’ are now increasingly well documented.

Although the concept of immersive learning is not new (and often exemplified by virtual reality), the idea of making experiential learning available globally, and at an affordable cost to multilingual participants, was a challenge that I set out to achieve when I designed the first iteration of our proprietary View360 Global™ platform in 2017.

The benefits of this style of collaborative immersive learning are well documented as it has been proven that information presented in mixed reality is retained more efficiently and reflected in improved learning outcomes and results. The opportunity to learn in a safe environment enables this and, as feedback shows, provides a much more enjoyable style of learning from the participants perspective.

Fortunately, the technical challenges nationally and internationally have largely been overcome through reliable internet and computer & tablet technology. Training in one language is easily achieved, but what if we wish to train simultaneously in a multilingual environment? Cognitas Global has achieved this and present greater cost-effective opportunities.

View360 Global™ - Tomorrow’s Learning for Today

Our multilingual, immersive platform allows a client to create bespoke learning solutions and simulations, deliverable in one location or remotely through the integrated video conferencing facility, in over 90 languages. Whilst the platform is an excellent tool that has been used extensively in over 20 countries for delivering capacity building and technical assistance in the criminal justice sector, it continues to be used for crisis management, compliance training, business continuity, Human Resource related training, safeguarding & education, and many other areas.

Its user-friendly interface and functionality are accessible through an internet browser and most importantly for many organisations that have security concerns, it requires no installation of third-party software. The cloud-based delivery and video conferencing functionality makes it possible for facilitator led learning to take place in a local environment or remotely, with participants located globally. Video breakout room functionality means that multiple participants can participate as a team and can communicate and receive responses in their own language, which are translated using an advanced Google API. Amazon Web Space and our VPN encryption systems ensure security of data.

So how does this relate to training in the UK where people have never routinely had access to this style of learning, but may now significantly benefit from this in the future? Imagine the knowledge and skills delivered on a training course being transposed into a simulated exercise, so that by blending real world with authentic digital content, learners experience true reality. The ability to engage remotely with other agencies on a national or international basis, where language is no longer necessarily a barrier to learning also provides unique opportunities, without the associated costs that traditional training events generated. Most importantly, as previously stated it just requires access to an internet browser and a suitable environment in the home or office in which to participate.

Our ability to respond with agility to the needs of our global clients as if delivering in person using our immersive platform from our dedicated virtual training suite in Kent, has also enabled us to reach the clients, stakeholders, participants and other learners that we had been engaged with on many projects prior to COVID that were not able to progress key workplan activities due to the travel restrictions.

As a CEO of two companies that are accredited Skills for Justice (SFJ) Training Centres and are ‘Kirkpatrick New World Model’ practitioners, it is important to me that our clients know that as a company, we approach all of our L&D projects and practitioner training by applying high academic standards and principles to achieve the outcomes. This has never been more important when value for money and a return on investment is even more critical in COVID times, where training budgets are also very much under pressure.