Turning Disruption into Innovation
Disruption is generally not a good thing. It is truly scary to face the ultimatum “shape up or get shipped out!” That’s exactly how I felt about a year ago when I was literally disrupted and displaced from a teaching job after 19 good years! Initially saddened by this uncomfortable situation, I am now comforted to know that there are so many souls out there who are also similarly disrupted from their jobs.
According to a report, published by the World Economic Forum, by 2026, 1.4 million employees in the US alone will be vulnerable to technological disruptions. The good news, however, is that with adequate re-skilling, 95% of these ‘at-risk workers’ will eventually find good-quality, high-paying jobs in growing sectors if they choose to shape up and upskill themselves today.
"With hope for re-employment, how can we make that process of re-skilling and surviving through disruption more manageable and meaningful?"
The following 3 tips from my recent talk “Turning Disruption into Innovation” to a group of aspiring micro-learning course curators, will inspire you to turn your disruptive experiences into a more meaningful and fulfilling one.
Learning a foreign subject can be overwhelming but, it does not have to be this way. The very first step towards innovative re-skilling is to keep an open mind and embrace a new way of learning.
For the past 19 years, I have been developing courses which are taught face-to-face, in classrooms. E-learning, mainly created for access via desktop/laptop browsers, was an innovation that disrupted the classroom setting format before.
Times have changed, and we have moved past this traditional way of teaching. With the rise of mobile learning, I am forced to innovate. In my new job, I had to develop micro-learning courses (MLCs) for access via mobile devices. A shift in mindset was needed for me to overcome this challenge.
When I embraced an open & adaptive mindset when developing these MLCs ‘Motivation on the Move’ and ‘Counselling on the Go,’ my heart and soul opened to became more flexible and adaptable to take on the new challenges. That shift led to an opening of a whole new world of interesting and unimaginable opportunities.
For example, just when I thought I had lost students and counselling clients whom I used to meet face-to-face in the classrooms, I have now gained access to hundreds of students and counselling clients who are my current ardent micro-learning courses (MLC) learners. Since the launch of these MLCs in April 2018, I have gained about 760 learners for ‘Counselling on the Go’ and 410 learners for ‘Motivation on the Move.’ I am no longer limited to just one client but have the opportunity to impact thousands at scale using the mobile platform.
Some learners have already become very comfortable with this new way of learning. They not only share happy and painful experiences like divorce and retrenchment privately with me, but also discuss with peers in the group.
"I especially like the interactions with Ms. Farida (Curator of this course) through the comments sections of our exercise answers. This makes the programme more interactive, instead of a one-way student submission framework." - Ms. Liz Soh
Learn to Unlearn
The second step towards innovative re-skilling is to learn to unlearn and relearn the skills and knowledge needed to get to the next level. As a subject leader at Temasek Polytechnic, we had to develop materials for a 45-hour module to be delivered face-to-face over a 16-week semester. With the MLCs, it was completely different! I had to unlearn pedagogies and strategies I have been applying for 19 years and had to relearn a new way, bite-sized way of delivering content. of delivering content.
With Gnowbe's easy curation tool I compressed a 45-hour material into a 4-hour micro-learning course. A lot of creative and critical thinking was needed to structure my program. I applied new design methodologies fit for the smartphone user to take learner engagement to the next level. Despite the steep learning curve, the process has been a meaningful learning experience. I am honored to have the no. 1 MLC with the most user engagement , shares and interactions on Gnowbe.
The third step towards innovative re-skilling is to get out of your comfort zone and get comfortable to do the uncomfortable. You have to agree with me that the comfort zone is a beautiful place to be in. But, nothing changes in the comfort zone. There is no room for growth, and your life will remain stagnant forever.
The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote, "Everyone has to bring something extra; being average is no longer enough. Everyone is looking for employees who can do critical thinking and problem-solving… just to get an interview. What they are really looking for are people who can invent, re-invent and re-engineer their jobs while doing them."
I was in my comfort zone for 19 years. I had experienced the blissful feeling of having a ready set of counselling clients, students, and subjects to teach.
With the new career change as an e-solution content developer, I had no more students, nor clients to counsel face to face. I felt lost to have been rudely shoved off my comfort zone. It was so hard to leave my comfort zone and during the initial few weeks into the new job, I felt unmotivated to work.
It is during this difficult phase of my career change that I started to ask myself this question, "Faridah, what is your purpose for going back to work every day?" To answer this question, I began to search my soul and researched on the topic of motivation which inspired me to develop the first MLC ‘Motivation on the Move.’ I re-built my self-esteem, resilience and healed my emotions by developing the second MLC, 'Counselling on the Go.'
The process of developing this MLC gave me the answer to this question. I have finally found my purpose in the new job. The answer to this question brings back my zest and motivation to work every day with purpose and joy! For more insights on my journey, check out session 8 of ‘Motivation on the Move.’
Another factor which helped me bring back my zest for a new career is my family and friends that I have included in the MLC. My family had given me the support I needed to cope with the career transition by bringing back the heavenly happy feeling on earth, as suggested by playwright and activist George Bernard Shaw, “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
During the initial phase of disruption and transition into my new job, I realized that I had forgotten the last time that I had honestly laughed out loud. The research for this MLC revealed that laughter could make us more positive and boost our physical and mental health. This motivated me to start laughing again, especially, at myself! I had included the science behind laughter into this MLC too as I want to share with learners the benefits of laughter and celebrate life with zest and joy.
Creating a personal ecosystem where innovation thrives
By 2019, my fellow curators and I have a shared goal to complete several new courses while keeping in mind quote by author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar.
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Slightly over a year ago, I was unsure and uncomfortable about curating micro-learning content, but today, the process has transformed my Mindset, helped me Learn future skills and forced me out of my Comfort zone.
I hope you have been inspired by my humbling story of Turning Disruption into Innovation by re-skilling using micro-learning.
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More about the author
Faridah N., Curator and Trainer at Temasek SkillsFuture Academy
Faridah has twenty years of work experience at an institution of higher learning, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore, in areas of motivational training, leadership, counselling and coaching youths, adults and industry professionals. Currently, she develops micro-learning and e-learning solutions at Temasek SkillsFuture Academy.
Faridah has a Masters of Social Science Degree in Professional Counselling. She is also a registered counsellor with Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC), and has received the John Maxwell Team Certification (JMT) and Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment (ACTA) Certification Programme by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).
BrainyQuote. (2001-2018). ‘BrainyQuote.’ Retrieved from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/zig_ziglar_12089
The New York Times. (2012). "Average is over." Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/25/opinion/friedman-average-is-over.html
World Economic Forum. (2018, Jan 22). “Re-skilling Revolution Needed for the Millions of Jobs at Risk Due to Technological Disruption” Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/press/2018/01/reskilling-revolution-needed-for-the-millions-of-jobs-at-risk-due-to-technological-disruption/