The world is currently impacted by a pandemic unprecedented in our time, with states implementing a series of equally unparalleled responses. I hope you are all safe, healthy, and well, wherever you are in the world. Collectively, I know we will get through this difficult time, but at the same time I feel it is important to acknowledge that some of us will lose lives and loved ones before this is over. My heart goes out to all of us who are impacted by this, in ways both large and small.

While we learn to control and treat this disease, we are collectively learning to live, work, and support each other in a new environment. Humanitarian and development work is changing quickly, as we innovate to keep programs going from isolation, and will likely be impacted long after restrictions on the local scale begin to ease.

This situation of course presents a challenge for us at Lessons Learned. Face-to-face trainings clearly have no place in the response to COVID-19, for an uncertain length of time. The team at Lessons Learned Simulations and Training is working to update our programs and our way of working to remain relevant during this time. Our aim is to support and influence how humanitarian workers adapt and grow during and after the response to COVID-19.

We are currently focusing on:

  • Adapting our course material to an online medium. Before this crisis, humanitarian training was already moving towards a digital environment. Online courses allow for more participants to share in learning from anywhere with an internet connection. They offer great potential for localization efforts, greater global knowledge-sharing, economic efficiency, and greener teaching. Courses can be stretched out over longer periods of time, to allow for more reflection on and application of lessons. We view our challenge today as learning to mitigate the shortcomings of online training vis-a-vis face-to-face courses. You can expect our online courses to go beyond simple recorded videos to include interactive live sessions, breakout groups, and other exercises.
  • Building digital simulation games. Interactive simulations are an integral part of the the learning packing which Lessons Learned offers. We are excited about the possibilities that digital simulation games can unlock. Digital simulations can be structured in a wide range of ways, from mobile apps to email-based exercises that run over multiple days. We are exploring methods to translate the social tension and drama of our simulations into the digital arena, while maintaining the exciting new opportunities that digital media offer.
  • Developing and sourcing the tech skills required. We are busy researching products, learning new skills, and testing new ideas to bring you the best possible online learning experience. Expect a blend of innovative approaches to build an engaging, interactive, and exciting “digital classroom”.

While we are eagerly awaiting the day that we can return to face-to-face trainings, the LLST team sees the migration to digital platform as a process that was inevitable before the onset of COVID-19. The current crisis has hastened this transition, and we fully expect the lessons we learn and innovations we implement during this time to persist after the crisis has passed. Digital trainings will inevitably represent a serious portion of our work in the future.

What you can expect is our continued dedication to learning which provides hard humanitarian skills while encouraging empathy, community engagement, broader understandings and critical thinking.

Watch this space in the coming weeks for more updates, information, and resources. In the meantime, I hope we all stay safe and healthy through this difficult time.