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The new-found agility of corporate learning

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Even though helping leaders to be agile has been a focus of many corporations, the L&D function has rarely been described as agile.

Yet one result of the changes forced on us by COVID-19 is the liberation of L&D from the logistical nightmare of booking venues, coordinating diaries and travel itineraries to get groups of executives and faculty together in a face-to-face environment.

A huge benefit of the move to digital learning is the ability to deliver learning at greater speed

We are delivering sessions organised only one month in advance rather than with six to twelve months’ notice. A sudden need, for example, to give executives the skills and experience of making the right decisions as a result of unexpected events, can be met quickly. Although executives are certainly no less busy than in the past, they have more freedom to fit in development time alongside their professional and personal commitments.

To make this work effectively, companies need both the right tools and also the right delivery partners. The functionality of virtual communication platforms is steadily improving, alongside the increasing use of virtual collaboration tools such as Miro. At the same time, partners who provide coaches, facilitators, actors and simulations etc need to be agile and innovative.

One requirement we have been responding to is the need for “agile customisation”. Leveraging our flexible digital platform, customising our business simulations can be done quickly to enhance, not delay, learning.

For learning to impact behaviour long term, it needs to connect with the learner

Customising learning to the changing needs of the organisation, as well as the individual, deepens the connection to learning and increases its’ impact. Over the past 12 months, we have seen a sharp increase in client requests for customisation of our business simulations. This stems from the desire to create maximum ROI in learning – to ensure that every penny spent is as effective as possible.

Two popular dimensions of customisation have been:

  1. Situational, cultural and terminology customisation

For a long time, we have been creating simulations in different languages, but customisation is much more than just translation. It is about the nuances of language and culture that more closely reflect the environment of the individual. Recently, for a US client we customised the language to US English, but also changed the names and titles of characters within the simulation to make them more American. Even parts of the dialogue within the simulation were changed. For other clients, we change the terminology and financial vocabulary to match their business context. This makes the simulation feel much closer to real-life for participants, reflecting their day-to-day interactions with their colleagues.

  1. Client objective customisation

Every client has their own objectives for each training programme. These may be broad, such as ‘upskilling our middle management tier,’ but are often much more specific. For example: transitioning from one style of culture to another, tackling digital transformation or adopting new ways of global working. The flexibility of digital simulations enables us to listen to each client’s needs and understand what type of events can be adapted or created within the simulation to deliver the greatest impact on these particular learners.

“With the experience of working both within Fortune 500 companies and on many different client projects, our team has an innate ability to understand the client’s objectives and quickly identify what changes to our off-the-shelf simulations will have the biggest impact for the learning group.” Jonathan Knight, CEO of Ososim

Not only can events within the simulation be customised, but we can also tailor how simulations are delivered. This goes beyond just virtual or face-to-face delivery. As we found previously with simulations run face-to-face, so we have found that in the virtual world actors can be used to allow real human interaction between participants and other individuals during the simulation. This creates a new challenge for participants, as well as adding a further real-life dimension to the learning experience. Actors can delve deeper into the decision-making behaviour of participants, testing their emotional intelligence in real-time situations.

All these customisations are happening at speed, helped by our platform’s versatility and by the experience and knowledge of our people and our partners such as ProfitAbility. The simulations we are developing together are being customised by leveraging their long-standing and deep experience working closely with clients in multiple industry sectors.

This collective agile capability, in collaboration with our partners and clients, is helping to transform corporate learning to become as dynamic, fast-moving and responsive as it has been trying to train its’ internal clients to be.

Ososim is a global learning technology company that helps organisations to bridge the gap between theory and practice

Working in over 85 countries with major global companies, as well as government institutions, leading business schools and non-profit organisations, our digital learning experiences enable individuals, teams and companies to perform at their best.

To find out more about our customised and off-the-shelf business simulations please contact us on +44 (0)1223 421 034 or email