L&D Learns from COVID

Just say, “No,” to bullet points and Powerpoint for training. Instead, consider the D.E.D.I.C.T. approach that includes on-the-job training, coaching, assessments, and arrange of modalities.

Last spring I read a headline question in the Sunday Times Business: “Why Are We So Bad at Training?

The Learning and Development (L&D) industry is currently worth $367 billion globally. The key questions we must ask is: Are we making enough progress? Are we stuck in the analog mode of 2022 or ready for digital 2025?

Tired of Learning Online?

2020-2022 were tough years for learners and the training industry—we were forced to migrate to online platforms/Microsoft Teams/Zoom/Webex/open learning. The world adapted to Teams calls and listening to podcasts, while lecturers learned how to work Webinars (in most cases). With COVID restrictions now mostly relaxed, recent research (NSHS 2022) shows Generation Z is tired of learning online (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/15/new-report-finds-the-top-work-preferences-amongst-gen-z-talent-.html ). Having survived COVID-19, they now want to touch, see, feel, and experience learning on the job.

The COVID era was not all bad—it did teach us how as a nation we could upskill and retrain armies of volunteers to test and trace, vaccinate, and help the vulnerable. In industry, we learned how to work collaboratively, creating new project processes to replace Prince II and Agile methodologies. More dynamic manufacturing methods proved the impossible was possible: We built ventilators and other equipment rapidly and collaboratively—designing and assembling medical equipment and ventilators in less than four weeks. And new records were set in creating vaccines in less than 12 months. Now is the time to keep moving forward, share these best practices, and not look back.

My own experience in this period included being furloughed and made redundant. Like many, to survive, I joined the team of front-line volunteers willing to take on the fight against COVID. It was the quality and quantity of training that inspired me: Looking after patients post-intensive care; how to swab test and trace without catching the virus; and finally, how to safely inject more than 2,000 patients with the vaccine. While I learned so much from my colleagues through experience, it was not the actual skill but the training methodology that was so impressive. It was simple, fun, practical, and, most importantly, competence based. It was both cost- and quality-efficient and effective.

In the process, I experienced two approaches that we can use for the future: Stop using ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) and Powerpoint and deliver more on-the-job training.

Past and Present

ADDIE is a training model originating in the U.S. during the 1975 Vietnam era. We must move on and away from this model. It does not meet the needs of 2022-2025. The sequential structure lacks agility and does not provide timely, efficient, or effective solutions. The waterfall approach lacks immediacy and simplicity. Since 1974, the external learning environment and its learners’ needs/wants and expectations have changed. We need to be more responsive, adaptable, efficient, and inclusive. Industry, employers and learners need a simple training model they can use to address their skills shortages—and they need it now!

The Future

Reality, realism, and recognition are the key attributes for L&D design in 2023. We need to provide an L&D experience that takes less time, is done on the job, and can include assessment to a recognized standard. I hear you saying, “But this approach is not new!” True. But we have lost our way and become deceived/deluded into thinking Powerpoint is the way to achieve/facilitate learning.

I read numerous articles and reviewed a range of options to find a better solution. The Australian L&D D.E.D.I.C.T. approach came out on top. This simple methodology links Coaching, Training, and Evaluation all together in one simple process:

Demonstrate again

For the last three years, I have applied this approach to train and coach engineers, technicians, healthcare workers, and line managers. Learners and employers benefit most because it is done on the job, simple to use, and provides immediate results. Highly visual and hands-on, it is both efficient and timely. And the best part: There are no Powerpoint slides.

In terms of neurodiversity, the D.E.D.I.C.T.  approach uses a range of modalities. With the help of augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), this training approach can and already is being digitized and gamified. Best of all, this approach is fun and learner centric. The assessments at the end become creative competitions that motivate and recognize skills and talent. Focused on job-related key skills, D.E.D.I.C.T. can be adapted to test individuals or teams.

Just say, “No,” to bullet points. Move away from ADDIE and toward D.E.D.I.C.T.



DEDICT Method for Imparting Mobile App Development Training – CEOWORLD magazine

Weaknesses of the ADDIE Model – InstructionalDesign.org

Teaching and Learning Conference 2019: An introduction to the light board pedagogy | Advance HE (advance-he.ac.uk)

Harvard Just Discovered That PowerPoint Is Worse Than Useless | Inc.com

L&D Industry to Touch $402 Billion Mark by 2025, Says Beroe Inc (prnewswire.com)

Will Doherty
Will Doherty, MBA, MA HR, Cert Ed., QTS, FHEA, is an author, lecturer, and seasoned veteran in the L&D industry. He has more than 30 years’ experience helping global industries and organizations improve and rethink their human resources development (HRD) strategy and transform their digital offering. His approach includes a key focus: “Less is more; learn on the job; and make learning fun, visual, realistic, and sustainable.”