A New Wave of Learning?

Discover more about Royds Withy King's pilot learning experience, in their own words.

In May 2019 we (Royds Withy King) embarked on a pilot learning experience with New Wave Learning. A common development need recorded in our performance management system is to improve presentation and influencing skills or to build more confidence in public speaking. We have delivered traditional presentations skills workshops previously over 1 or 2 days however there were two main issues in repeating this style of learning.

Building confidence and developing presentation skills requires practice and to embed any real change, that practice is required over a longer period of time than 1 or 2 days. Secondly in a client-centric highly utilised professional services environment it is a challenge for fee-earners to commit to full days for training. When running training sessions internally we are always seeking to maximise the impact of bite-sized chunks of time to meet the learning need whilst respect the reality of our organisation.

The New Wave team were amazing and I feel this is so the way forward for future learning and development

In conversations with Ciara Lees and Jim Alexander at New Wave Learning an opportunity to develop a new way of learning combining practice with technology, bite-size skill development with real-time feedback and coaching, minimising time commitments and maximising the impact of the learning was on offer. I jumped on the opportunity to get involved and work with them to facilitate a pilot programme where they could test their programme. If successful, this style of learning could revolutionise learning and development programmes in professional services.

Jim says “It has been my vision for some time that there is a better way to help people develop specific soft skills. As we move into the fourth industrial revolution we as humans are going to need to become, well more human! The need for soft skill development is going to become more important as the robots start to have more influence on our lives. So what can we do to help people communicate effectively to be better leaders, sales people, colleagues, friends and family members?

We need to engage them in getting hungry to learn these all important skills in a way that is exciting, efficient and works. We believe that every learning programme needs 6 elements in order for this to happen and these are:

  1. Storytelling
    Influencing learners to emotionally connect to the skills being taught.
  2. Creative design
    Appealing and coherent visual design will engage learners at every stage.
  3. Interactivity
    Touch points involving gamification, tech based activities & peer to peer learning.
  4. Face to face skills practice
    Giving people the confidence and holding them to account to practically apply these skills.
  5. Reinforcement
    What we learn is easily forgotten, unless we make it stick.
  6. Measurement
    Sharing insight that allows us to see the value of our investment.

We have taken one of our most successful programmes ‘presenting and influencing’ and made it into a blended programme using all these elements. We know that if we can make this programme work then we can make other programmes come to life in the same way.

In short our purpose is to shake up the learning industry and deliver something that is not just different but really helps people realise their potential.

To partner with a professional services firm like Royds Withy King who believe in what we are doing is essential for the development of this style of learning. Royds Withy King, as early adopters, are helping us bring about a new wave of learning and we can’t thank them enough.”

The 6 week pilot programme concluded last week with a half day face to face session in our Bath office. We’re wrapping up debrief and measuring final outcomes but I’ve already seen fantastic insights into its’ potential successes and we are identifying opportunities to improve for the next iteration. A programme delivered using technology in this way definitely needs robust infrastructure and there needs to be greater attention to ensuring learners are confident with the app before they get started on the programme. We’ve also recognised that time invested in contracting with learners on their accountability before the programme starts would be highly beneficial. It was a joy to witness the individual learning journeys tell a powerful learning story relative to the individual’s starting point. From an L&D professional’s perspective there is no greater return than that when you embark on an experimental learning experience!

One of the delegates emailed me to say “I really enjoyed this and have learnt so much. Today was brilliant, we all gained so much from it and today pulled everything we learnt over the last 6 weeks together. I would definitely endorse this course and the way it was delivered. The New Wave team were amazing and I feel this is so the way forward for future learning and development.”