When public health protocols in response to COVID-19 halted in-person Training & Development opportunities, teams across the municipality collaborated to provide a virtual solution for employees.
One team that recognized the need to increase their capacity in facilitating online training was the Office of Diversity & Inclusion/ANSAIO. In addition to having two employees attend an Online Design and Delivery course through Dalhousie University, the team has been able to collaborate with Organizational Development to redesign modules as necessary, facilitate virtual conversations with Business Units and offer online workshops.
“Although we continue to work through the challenges that come with virtual training, the process has brought opportunities for more collaboration with various business units, including HR and ICT,” says Huwaida Medani, D&I/ANSAIO Senior Advisor and the team lead for training. “Colleagues from across these divisions are available and ready to answer questions, discuss solutions and exchange knowledge.”
The Organizational Development team partnered with D&I/ANSAIO to support this pivot to online training. This included determining which courses needed to transition to Virtual Instructor Lead Training (VILT), which is training that is delivered in a virtual environment; increase proficiency of engagement tools within Microsoft Teams to achieve the established learning objectives; redesign courses as necessary; and conduct pilot sessions ahead of the courses being launched.
“There have been pockets of awesomeness that have come to light as a result of our need to work from home. One of them has been VILT,” says Jodie Shreenan, Learning & Development Specialist. “Like most employees, we found ourselves challenged to deliver on the same job functions but needing to find a new way to do so. At the time, we were all new to using Microsoft Teams and had limited experience with VILT, so these skills were new to us. As well, we learned to expect the unexpected, like planning for technological challenges that arise when working from home.”
By sharing these processes, reflecting on lessons learned and adapting quickly to new ways of doing business, D&I/ANSAIO and Organizational Development have been able to make the transition to online training as smooth as possible.