When we talk about blended learning, we’re not just talking about in-person and technology.
COVID-19 has sent a ripple through the Leadership Development world. You see we are predominately people’s people. That means face-to-face is king and leveraging technology is often a distant ‘not as good’. But now we operate in a world where in some places face-to-face isn’t an option.
The conversation is now all about technology and leadership development. The gradual process of change and technology adoption has become rapid. Delivery isn’t always face-to-face, it’s now sometimes virtual. Practitioners have moved from tech starters to tech masters. Zoom meetings are the norm. It’s all about how we can best move delivery from face-to-face to virtual.
What It Means
This is both good and not enough. It’s good because there are many benefits of integrating technology into leadership development. We can reach more people, reduce travel, allow people more private (and public) reflection. We can focus coaches and facilitators more on the art of our practice than the process and more easily extend the time people are paying attention to their development.
It’s not enough because half the benefits I just mentioned have nothing to do with face-to-face or virtual delivery. They are about asynchronous delivery. Asynchronous is when individuals work in their own time and space – it can still be together but they don’t need to be together. Face-to-face and virtual delivery on the other hand are actually almost identical. They are synchronous. People together during the same time working on the same thing. We even use technology to share the same space when meeting virtually.
The Learning Curve
Therefore when we talk about ‘blended’ developmental experiences we shouldn’t be talking about blending classroom and technology. We are actually talking about blending synchronous and asynchronous.
Why am I sharing this? Well the real learning curve is around blending asynchronous with synchronous delivery. Asynchronous brings flexibility and integration with work and life, synchronous brings commitment (check out student syndrome) and a fresh context to view work and life from.