If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we no longer have the luxury of setting an annual plan and sticking to it. Instead, planning for uncertainty may be the new normal. This means that all businesses, regardless of type or industry, need to be able to pivot quickly.
Whether you run training and education programs for a large corporation or a small association, you need to be able to deliver learning in a way that is more flexible than ever before. If your organization is not already using an agile learning model to develop your curriculum and deliver training materials, now may be the time to start.
Agile Learning in a Pre-COVID World
In late 2019, before COVID-19 hit our radar, we published a blog article on the rising need for agile learning and development. Little did we know just how crucial this methodology would become in the months that followed.
In the article, we discuss the benefits of using an agile framework to design and develop training and continuous education programs that better respond to today’s rapid rate of change and innovation, as well as the need for organizations to foster an agile learning culture so employees can adapt more quickly—in essence, fostering speed-to-proficiency.
Agile Learning Evolves from Best Practice to Necessity
Today, incorporating this level of flexibility in training and professional development has become more than just a best practice. For most of us, agility has become an overnight necessity. COVID-19, and the resulting changes in how we deliver learning, has forced us to re-think our curriculum and how we print and deliver training materials.
Here are two reasons to incorporate the agile framework into the print and delivery of your training content:
1. Changing curriculum requirements
Many organizations had been incorporating a blend of learning models—from self-guided online courses to in-person, instructor-led classes—to deliver the content required for existing certifications and skill assessments. With the shift to 100% virtual learning, in many cases, we have had to re-define our learning requirements and restructure our curriculum accordingly.
Additionally, nearly all industries are facing changes in policies and protocols due to COVID-19, which requires new training content to be developed and rolled-out to members and employees. And, as our understanding of the virus and how it’s transmitted evolves, our policies and procedures (and resulting educational content) need to evolve, too.
2. Minimizing financial risks
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on much of our economy, creating a significant amount of financial uncertainty for individuals and businesses alike. Organizations are looking for ways to move forward in a way that minimizes financial risk, at a time when the future is more unclear than ever.
When it comes to print and delivery of training materials, achieving the lowest cost per thousand is no longer the best practice. Typically, securing a low per-unit cost requires printing a larger volume of materials. But with a need to change content more quickly, organizations have begun adopting a just-in-time approach to printing.
Like the principles of the just-in-time inventory system for manufacturing, just-in-time printing means organizations plan for smaller quantities to be printed throughout the year to minimize overhead and eliminate waste. Here at Omnipress, we take it a step further.
We work with customers to forecast annual demand for their titles. We then print and warehouse a slightly larger amount to provide a lower cost-per-piece.
This allows us to take on on the financial risk for you by only invoicing when materials are shipped.
It’s safe to say that even when we “return to normal,” our outlook for the future will be irreversibly changed. We have been forced to pivot our training programs quickly due to unforeseen circumstances. And when this current pandemic ends, this mindset of adapting quickly to change isn’t going to stop. COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to organizations that we need to put ourselves in a position to be as agile as possible for the long-term.