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Learning During a Crisis


At times of crisis, the line between learning and communication becomes blurred. Learning should always have a purpose, but in uncertain times, this is even more crucial. Uncertainty brings a change in demand from both internal and external sources. Your organisation will need to act with pace to ensure your workforce are kept up to date with the latest information, which will play a pivotal part in your organisation running as smoothly as possible.

Some of the information you will be providing will be new information, therefore, is learning. However, at times of crisis, you do not have the luxury of time to roll this information out to your people over a long period of time. Therefore, other methods will need to be used in order to able to create clear and concise messaging, which is delivered at pace.

Although it may not seem it in a time of crisis; we are fortunate to live in a world which has robust technology which can assist the learning world. Content can be created in a number of different ways, from one-pagers to videos created on smart phones…which can be done from your own home! With time and resource being of the essence, producing highly branded or designed content should not be a key driver or slow down the process. The most important factor is getting the information out.

This content can then be shared on different platforms. You probably already have formal channels, such as LMS’s and intranets. However for most people these are not platforms they regularly use. You may have other channels which people use more regularly which you can use to share learning and critical information. These could be corporate channels such as Slack, or Microsoft Teams or informal routes such as Whatsapp and other social media groups.

These channels will play a key role in being able to get information and content out quickly. It will also allow your people to be able to share information far more easily and you’ll have more of a visibility of the types of questions and discussions which are being had.

It is also important to remember during a crisis or ever-changing situation that information should not be one way or even just two way but also across your organisation. There may be messages, training on new processes or reinforcement of messages you need people to see and these can be sent across multiple channels. You can also create a rhythm or rigor to your communications so people know when regular messaging or new information will come to them, possibly a once a day or once a week summary.

Creating conversation between colleagues is a vital strategy during times of uncertainty, some organisations will shy away from this as they will worry about misinformation or losing control of messages. The benefit to this is you can share best practice from those on the front line, you can encourage joint problem solving and if there is any misinformation it is happening on channels where you have visibility so that you can readily join and redirect conversation as necessary. Often this informal sharing can form the basis of content which you can then reformat and share more widely.

As at any other time, each organisation will be facing slightly different challenges and be operating within a different cultural landscape with a different existing toolset to tackle these challenges. Therefore your approach should be individualised. However the following may help you construct or refine your approach.

  • Be clear of what you are trying to achieve

  • Put yourself in your audiences shoes – what do they need

  • Be succinct and to the point – clarity is key

  • Use quick easily digestible format – video, one pagers, infographics

  • Use a variety of existing channels

  • You don’t need to know everything involve your audience in problem solving and content sharing

  • Evaluate and adapt your approach regularly

Yesterday we covered Learning in Uncertain Times.


Tomorrow we will share some information on some of the best tools and approaches to quickly put together content.


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