As 2021 comes to a close, both workplaces and places of learning are emerging from lockdowns. It’s a fair bet to say that both will remain changed forever.
The Amicus Strategy Team has a foot in both worlds. While we help organisations ‘reboot’ their ways of working and work environments, we also consult to schools and universities.
We believe that workplace leaders should be watching how places of education change during the COVID disruption. In the same way, educators should keep their eyes on the thoroughly disrupted world of work.
It’s simple: while leaders seek to attract and retain talent in a changed world, schools and universities are figuring out how to shape that talent in the first place. There is a great deal to learn by peering across the fence. As we’ll see below, the same story is playing out in both domains.
There is no debating the significant challenges that this pandemic has generated. Among the extensive range, leaders and teachers have had to grapple with how to nourish wellbeing in learning communities separated by lockdowns, keep learning thriving in remote contexts, how to authenticate student work completed remotely, to work out to best use outdoor spaces to make learning environments covid-safe. Leaders, teachers, students, and parents have shown themselves to be extraordinary in these extraordinary times.
As educators and learners have adapted, the developments have close parallels with those of the world of work:
The general shift has been one toward agility, by necessity! Student agency and capacity to learn in highly independent contexts has been demonstrated across ages and capabilities. The question now presents itself – if students are capable of independence when circumstances require, and even enjoy higher autonomy, how might this impact the future of how we view the learning process?
Technology has played a critical role in keeping education going in the face of the pandemic. Learning communities have quickly come to rely on home-based online learning, using multiple communication platforms.
While this raises a massive equity issue regarding access to technology, the fact is that many schools have greatly accelerated their use of and skills with technology during this time.
For workplaces, while employees have mostly appreciated remote working, there’s been an appreciation for the sort of human connection that only face-to-face can bring. In learning contexts, the value of ad-hoc in-person connection has also been craved – the learning that happens through shared conversation, impromptu questions, through the osmosis that an on-campus setting provides.
In both worlds, the emergence from lockdown has now created a window of opportunity to rethink. What lessons from this time can shape how we do "learning/business as usual"?
Think of phrases from a typical job advertisement: “ability to work independently, be self-motivated, problem solver, possess strong social skills, have flexible and growth mindsets to thrive in change” – now is a time when both educators and professional leaders are asking how the fundamentals of our learning and work contexts can both nurture these qualities.
So, how do we answer all these questions and seize the opportunity?
If you’re from the world of work, check out our Hybrid Working guide.
If you’re an educator, check out our upcoming workshop: Rethinking Pedagogy and the Learning Environment as we emerge from Lockdown.
If you’d like to have a chat, book in a time with us here.
Steve Collis - Head of Workplace Strategy
Sophie Fenton - Senior Strategist: Education and Workplace