Each year we run two cohorts of our hugely popular Management Development Academy (MDA), an 11 module programme recognised by The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) as an accredited development programme.
Our MDA graduation in April marks the end of the most recent cohorts journey with the presentation of certificates from the ILM. It’s an opportunity to recognise the hard work of those who attended and the development journey they’ve been through. For our two cohorts graduating this year that journey has taken twice as long and had more twists than a game of twister.
Cohort 11 had just completed module 1 in 2020 before Covid turned everything upside down and shut us all indoors. At the time we thought it would be a few weeks but soon weeks became months and at the end of 2020 we decided enough was enough. We needed to convert our programme from in person to fully remote. Converting a very full 11 days of highly interactive, in-person development with pre & post module activities and supporting materials was no small feat. But as a Learning & Development team we rose to the challenge. We mapped out all of our modules, the sessions within each and the activities or materials that would need to be updated if they were to work remotely.
We considered tools we already knew about like editable PDFs or online quiz platforms and how we could utilise collaboration tools like Miro to create virtual boards and enable delegates to work together in real time. We asked our internal facilitators for their feedback on our proposed changes and then we got to work updating.
Now I would be lying if I said everything went smoothly. We had one session where the facilitators captured feedback in a completely different way, access issues with our Miro boards, another session where the new energiser we designed just didn’t land, Wi-Fi issues and all the while our people missed that in person interaction that had made MDA such a highly engaging experience for previous cohorts. What I can say is that we adapted and as always continuously looked to improve our programmes based on feedback from facilitators and those attending.
I love digital learning and virtual sessions definitely have their place but having just delivered module 1 for our latest cohort I can honestly say there’s nothing better than getting a group of people in an amazing space like our Labs training room to explore models, theories and topics of management development. Seeing relationships being built and people learning from and supporting each other on challenges they’re facing is such a rewarding experience. Unsurprisingly, developing others is a strength of mine and something I get a lot of energy from.
If you’re looking to adapt your management development materials for in person or remote delivery then please get in touch and I’ll be happy to share more challenges and solutions.