Professional development courses work well online - here's why
"Online learning is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-effective ways to educate the world's rapidly expanding workforce." - Jack Messman, former tech CEO
These challenging times make us shy of anything that screams expense.
But, lifelong learning is one investment that guarantees personal and professional growth.
Online business masterclasses not only help scale up your business; they can lift your spirits, give you human connection, and boost your creative thinking.
It's a great reason to hunt down the best online learning platforms.
10 ways online business masterclasses drive growth
You get cheat-sheets from global experts
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, claimed it took 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become expert in any given field. Mark Bonchek is a great example of this. The revered digital transformation expert from our Time for Transformation masterclasses series has made uncanny predictions about the internet since the 1990s.
Online masterclasses are essentially cheat-sheets of these decades of knowledge and insights. It's like using a jar of concentrated tomato paste in your spaghetti bolognese, versus making your own from a case of tomatoes. Expert advice "in a jar" means you get a cheat-sheet on each topic, and it's a top reason to take online masterclasses.
You have a ready-made team engagement idea
Professional development is shown to improve employee engagement but it's hard to do face-to-face when people work part-time, remotely, or in different parts of the building.
Coming together for a virtual learning experience is a great way to build trust while building capability. "Lunch and learns" (where you use a lunch hour for learning) can be hybrid affairs, with some in a board room or office, and others at their home desk.
And, research shows an engaged workforce is more productive.
You get a competitive advantage boost
Growth won't come unless you and your team are scanning the horizon for opportunities and threats.
As Jim Collins and Morten Hansen found when studying resilient companies for Great by Choice (summary here), successful leaders are always asking “What if? What if? What if?”
Live-to-air online masterclasses, like those offered by The Growth Faculty, reveal the very latest research, and perhaps in amongst it is a shortcut or an insight that puts you ahead of your competitors.
Continuing professional development is a great competitive advantage in and of itself anyway, so lifelong learning will always reward you.
You're upskilling yourself and your team
A skills boost is vital to unlock your potential and future-proof your career, but skills development is usually associated with all-day or multi-day training courses. Online masterclasses are an easy way to fit upskilling into a working day schedule.
The tools and methods in online courses on leadership, transformation, teamwork, negotiation and customer engagement can be immediately implemented in your business to drive growth. As well as motivating teams, virtual learning and development lifts each employee's capacity. Upskilling is one of the best win-wins of taking online masterclasses.
You enjoy human connection again
If this seems an odd one to add in when talking about online lessons that drive growth, you must be reminded how sharing challenges with peers outside of your orbit makes you feel less alone. It also prompts innovative thinking. Sometimes this sharing is easier when you're online, seated in familiar surrounds. A well-run online masterclass will feel safe and intimate, and encourage group chats on shared pain points. Often other participants will pitch in with solutions or ideas, building on advice from the masterclass expert.
You don't have to travel
You don't have to fly, bike, or don a mask for an Uber or a bus. If you're working from home you don't even need to get dressed (at least not from the waist down). Online business masterclasses are the ultimate study in convenience. Whether home or in the office, you simply click on the link in your calendar, sit back, and enjoy the show. You can cradle a cup of coffee, take notes, sit your kid on your lap, and cut your toenails (if you must, although we hope you're in your home office by this point). All your thinking power is on the topic, not whether you parked in a loading zone. Cutting out that "noise" is good for letting in more ideas for growth.
You save money that can be directed elsewhere
HR training is likely one area the CFO will circle for discussion at the next budgeting meeting. If money is tight for your team, masterclasses present an instant and flamboyant way of ticking that HR training box, while saving many of the expenses usually associated with learning and development (L&D). The Growth Faculty's masterclasses, for example, are offered free as part of the annual membership fee. Cost-savings on personal and professional development is a key reason so many large and well-known companies are signing up their teams, and directing the savings into growth strategies.
You have a focal point in your week
We're all told to work ON the business, not just IN the business. Remote working, part-time work, casual work, and changed work are all part of the new business landscape. While it's good to assume others are doing the best they can, it can feel a bit rudderless. Regular, weekly online masterclasses put a virtual stake in the ground of your schedule, focusing attention for 90 minutes on a growth topic. Whether it's transformation, leadership, culture, mental health, teamwork, marketing or negotiation, you and your team are prompted to discuss vital aspects of the business that may be neglected right now. Stepping outside the day-to-day to shine a lens on these aspects can show new pathways for growth.
You grow from the surprises in a curated learning journey
Harnessing new opportunities requires lifelong learning, curiosity, and a boldness to try out new thoughts and ideas. To stop yourself doing the same old, tired old courses and training, expose yourself and your team to a curated model of learning. New weekly topics offered by leading online masterclasses are a great way to challenge your thinking. For example, staff who are not proficient in soft skills may find themselves discussing empathy, guilt, burnout, and communication. Sales staff might learn how to develop a mindset for innovation and transformation, and the R&D department could do a masterclass in marketing. An agile team is a big asset in challenging times, and highly likely to outperform more stagnant teams in boosting growth.
You can immediately discuss and implement key learnings
The second a masterclass is over, you can swing around in your chair (or meet up online) to discuss how to implement learnings in your business. Ideas from seminars and courses often fall off the priority list when there's a whole weekend between attending and gathering as a team. So the instant gratification of discussing an online masterclass moments after sign-off is a valuable growth tool. Thoughtful discussions may ensue, bringing up personal challenges or concerns that would otherwise fester unnoticed. Finding common ground from enjoying and discussing a shared experience can bring teams together, and enervate staff who might otherwise feel left out or unloved.
And, as a bonus......
Online business masterclasses are the gift that keeps on giving - developing what's called "adaptive expertise" - the key to growing your career or business.
According to Wikipedia:
"..adaptive expertise is the ability to apply knowledge effectively to novel problems or atypical cases in a domain."
It sounds like a novel idea for growth, and anything growing business in 2020 should be worth your attention.
The Growth Faculty has this year launched virtual masterclasses - the Time For Transformation series; especially designed for business leaders. We make learning and development easy and inexpensive by bringing your team the world's renowned thought leader. Ensure your team are trained to pivot, adapt and innovate in these unprecedented times. See who's up next.