Re-think your organisation’s capability building and pivot to online learning.

Discussion and insights from our region’s leaders.

Many Learning & Development (L&D)programs were placed on hold amidst COVID but some did pivot. 2021 and the continuity of COVID in our society has caused us to rethink learning programs.

Harvest HR & People Solutions was delighted to host this priority item in our first HR Roundtable for 2021, giving us the opportunity to walk in the shoes of our panellists who have taken their L&D Programs online.


The Fundamentals.

How often have you sat, possibly yawning, in a training program because your boss said “you needed to be there”?

“We no longer drag unwilling participants into the training room. We now give people the “want” to learn with good L&D Strategy within the organisation,” says David Hunter, L&D Consultant.

Fundamentals in setting up an L&D Strategy include:

  • Developing employee’s capabilities
  • Engaging employees and even rewarding with an element of recognition
  • Attracting talent into the organisation
  • Incorporating L&D into the organisation’s culture

“Our L&D was very purposely designed to align with Barwon Water’s Strategy. We also had ROI in our sights – outcomes need to meet objectives,” Melissa Stephens, Barwon Water.

Keep in mind the  70 20 10 model when developing programs which states that people obtain: 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with others, like co-workers and managers, 10% from formal learning events.

“(Organisations), need to consider where their staff are at on the learning journey,” Susan Spozetta, The Gordon.

Why is Human Centered Design critical in developing online learning?

Human Centered Design is about delivering empathetic, team-led and personalised solutions. This Design Thinking approach is about understanding the focus is on the people involved.

Before working out “what” the training will be, steps include:

Step 1: Start with empathy. Define the problems, add elements of creativity, testing, and continual refining and refreshing.

Step 2: Develop Content, Structure, Budgets, Timeframes, Technology being used etc.

Ask yourself:  “What do we want people to do differently as a result of the training?”

Of course, the practical applications of undertaking these steps and rolling this out in a busy workforce can be challenging.  Employees need to be brought along the journey which really requires a change of mindset.

A human centered approach implies a 80 / 20 split  – 80% human centered steps, interviewing end-users etc. and  20 % of time actually creating the course.  This approach of course adds more time to the learning delivery.

“In reality, sometimes a 15 minute e-learning “the cheese” is required before “the picnic”, (the Human Centered Design Approach), “ says Rachel Gilbert, Worksafe.

David Hunter advises that even if you use a bit of design thinking in your approach, it’s worth it for the outcomes.


Learning Management Systems

Many larger organisations have learning management systems (LMS).  The trick here is – make the LMLS accessible, not too clunky and get employee buy-in.

Interactive learning, library of courses, internal development programs, Ted Talks etc. added to the LMS can make it more interesting.

Other organisations don’t rely solely on an LMS, but take a blended approach using different environments, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, MIRO Academy and other platforms that also give employees the opportunity to become more “tech savvy”.

“LMS’s are a 20 billion dollar a year industry.  There’s no perfect LMS,” says David.

But they are a great place to host content, provide links, .pdf’s, internal training videos, You Tube Links etc.

Make sure the front end can be personalised to provide a friendly interface and that it records compliance and attendance.

Ask: What do you want to do with your LMS?


Why did you decide to move your learning online during 2020?

With the majority of staff working from home in the early part of 2020, traineeships, induction programs, performance reviews, along with L&D stalled and many organisation’s had to ask the question “what do we do now?”   That’s when remote, virtual online learning become a necessity to continue business and to meet strategy goals.

For many organisations that had not dabbled in this area before, it became a challenge that needed to be implemented in a very quick timeframe.

“We had 3.5 weeks for teachers (400) and students (14,000) to prepare and move to on-line learning (prior to which they had not delivered courses on-line),” Susan Spzetta, The Gordon.

“Face-to-face” but “through a screen” became the norm.

Read more about the Gordon’s experience here. 


Is online training here to stay?

For some organisaions there will always be a blended model of face-to-face and online learning.  But many organisations have proved online works and certainly won’t go back to learning in classrooms.

Other advantages have come to light too – time savings, less travel, safety aspects and increased attention spans.


Organisations that pivoted

The Geelong HR Roundtable, “Taking Your Organisation’s Learning & Development Online” included case studies from some of Geelong’s larger organisations:

  • Urgent pivots to on-learning – challenges and opportunities – moving vocational education to online platforms in two weeks – The Gordon.
  • Leadership and competency based programs, delivered on line – Barwon Water
  • Taking complex programs on-line – WorkSafe.

All our HR Roundtables engage Chatham House rules. But, you missed this Geelong HR Roundtable, for more information please contact Harvest HR & People Solutions.


Our Expert Panel:



David Hunter – Instructional Designer and L&D Consultant

David Hunter is a capability and learning professional whose passions include leadership, coaching, and supporting people and organisational development. Working in L&D and Education in Australia and overseas, he has learned from a wide range of amazing colleagues and customers.

Most recently, David has been contracted by contrasting government departments, helping them to look beyond a traditional ‘what training do you need?’ approach to targeting measurable success through lasting behavioural change.


Rachel Gilbert – Learning and Capability Manager – WorkSafe

Rachel Gilbert  is a seasoned Learning & Development professional and has been involved in learning in just about every form you can think of. But no matter the industry, topic or mode of learning, she’s realised that the ‘good learning’ always contains the same key things: it’s relatable, sparks the desire to change and keeps people engaged.

Rachel is the Learning & Capability Manager People & Culture at Geelong’s WorkSafe and will share some of the “gotchas” when moving your learning online.


Susan Spozetta – Executive Director, Education – The Gordon

Sue Spozetta has spent the last 23 years in the Australian VET sector across three states, Queensland, NSW & now Victoria. She Pioneered the first Queensland online course for Enrolled Nurses in 2009 when online learning / delivery was virtually unheard of.

In 2013 during the TAFE QLD reform, Sue was involved in the planning and implementation phase of blended delivery, state wide, which would occur via a Learning Management system. This Master product roll out has succeeded due to its governance framework.

She has also worked in TAFE NSW’s Digital Delivery arm where all teaching is delivered online for approximately 100,000 students.


Melissa Stephens – General Manager Organisational Performance – Barwon Water

Melissa Stephens has extensive experience in strategic management, human resources, change management, customer service, stakeholder engagement, and finance. In 2018 Melissa was named as one of the Top 50 Public Sector Women in Victoria and has been recognised on the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s International Women’s Day Honour Roll.

Melissa is General Manager Organisational Performance at Barwon Water and along with her team ensures the integration of people, process and governance systems to a drive high performance workplace.


For more information on L&D Training, please  Contact us.

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