From Townsville to Tokyo, human services agencies, teams, and individual workers have had to find highly effective ways to keep on learning through the use of virtual workshops and online group processes.  As a result, the new ‘workarounds’ that have emerged in response to the coronavirus pandemic are here to stay.

The pandemic has surfaced new needs and exposed better ways to do things within our existing training and professional development systems. As trainers and facilitators who bend towards optimism, we view these needs as novel and real opportunities.

So what are the greatest benefits of the Encompass range of virtual workshops?

Everyone can join in

Our virtual workshops connect workers from around the country.

 No longer constrained by time, space or location, professionals on either side of the city-country divide have greater opportunity to mix with their colleagues and benefit from hearing about different perspectives and experiences with shared issues.

When you expand the boundaries of the training group space, there’s almost limitless untapped potential created by the mix of skills and knowledge in each session.

An agile program

Expanding our perspective on how and where learning can happen has broadened how we approach learning and development here at Encompass. For example:

  • Individual professionals and whole teams can now take part in a variety of ‘lunch-box’ training sessions, alongside colleagues state-wide for ‘bite-sized’ learning.
  • After completion of face-to-face group workshops, participants have the option of consolidating their learning by engaging in follow-up online coaching circles – research and experience have shown us this is one of the best ways to ensure knowledge transfers to practice.
  • We have introduced the option of ‘walking supervision’ for professionals accessing our external professional supervision services. Participants benefit from a gentle stroll through leafy greenery while engaging in supervision, all of which we know aids in processing their experience.

Great digital tools accelerate learning

Online workshop platforms like Zoom offer great tools for breakout sessions, gathering questions and answers, sharing documents quickly, and seamless participant communication before and after the workshop.  The bonus is they are easy and straightforward to use.

Managing your schedules

Scheduling to suit virtual groups is not constrained by travel and accommodation costs and time away from clients. During 2020 we launched a highly successful online risk assessment training program that aims to see around 120 professionals engage from the comfort of their own office or home.

Senior Team Leaders with the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs from around Queensland have been able to unite through the Program – from a donga on the northernmost tip of Queensland using a dongle and the 3G network, to the state’s far western and southern reaches.

Bringing in more viewpoints Collaboration opportunities arising from virtual workshops can be almost endless. Virtual workshops with great agendas can curate interesting, open conversations around interesting topics.  These conversations are often continued offline well after workshops have ended; for example, several Senior Team Leaders are maintaining ongoing discussions with their colleagues due to the connections forged during our online training.

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