The value of in-person connection in learning & development

In a world of increasing virtual and digital connection it’s easy to overlook the value of human connectedness. At Hemsley Fraser we believe in striking the right balance of virtual and in-person experiences to harness the cost effectiveness, scale, and inclusiveness of virtual interactions with the importance of real-life human connections.

As soon as the impacts of the Covid outbreak affected our ability to come together in-person, we worked hard to ensure that all of our learning content was re-crafted to work in a digital environment – among many other things that work included launching our entire topic portfolio in a completely redesigned virtual format. While the virtual format itself wasn't new to us (we’ve been delivering virtual sessions for 10+ years), re-creating our entire learning portfolio in this format was new, and it proved vitally important to our global clients as it meant that their training plans could continue almost uninterrupted despite the massive disruptions forced upon us all.
And of course we have all enjoyed the benefits of virtual learning and virtual connectedness more generally. Quite apart from keeping us feeling more connected when we couldn’t be together physically, virtual learning formats bring other benefits such as cost-effectiveness, global scale, and a more inclusive working environment. And we fully expect virtual learning to remain a key pillar of the learning ecosystem indefinitely. However, we also know that it’s crucially important to provide people with an opportunity to come together and share experiences in-person. The question is what does that precious in-person time look and feel like? Gone are the days of requiring people to be physically present to work and learn, so when is right to be together and what are the benefits that cannot be realized virtually? We have been looking hard at this and working with our clients and our Insight Group to ensure we are bringing the latest innovations and advancements in delivering in-person face-to-face training experiences (and we very much see this as part of the blended learning journey).

Our point of view on the value of human connectedness

While the act of delivering learning content can form part of in-person experiences, virtual formats are just as good for sharing that content – what can’t be done so well, virtually, is the magic of a shared experience, the opportunity to discuss real-life experiences, and even the micro-connections that happen during moments of informal chat and conversation that simply doesn’t exist in a virtual format.
Something else happens when people come together, they share in a common experience. And that shared experience can be a hugely valuable tool in affecting positive behavioral change. In fact, a Stanford Business research finding showed that in-person experiences led to greater ideation and cognition of complex ideas than virtual meetings.
A 2023 Pew Research Center study found that fully remote workers felt that not being physically present at work caused them to miss out on mentoring opportunities.  And there are many more findings that point to a certain value and benefit of bringing people together to share real-life experiences.
Hemsley Fraser’s point of view on in-person training focuses on the value these shared experiences can bring, rather than classic knowledge transfer, and moreover, ensures that our in-person training experiences focus specifically on highly experiential and participative activities.
Gone are the days of dreaded ‘chalk and talk’ classroom sessions. We make sure our face-to-face training delivery offers a highly engaging and personalized learning experience. Participants benefit from direct in-person interaction with expert trainers, fellow learners and enjoy a collaborative and immersive learning environment. We focus on the unique value of in-person interaction: fostering collaboration, shifting mindsets, and applying learning in real-world scenarios.
In-person face-to-face workshops are particularly effective when they form part of a programmatic experience where we blend synchronous virtual learning, asynchronous digital self-study, and cohort-based in-person experiences. This combination (blended learning journey approach) allows us to leverage the scale and cost-effective of virtual learning for theory exploration, active discussion, and knowledge transfer; the just-in-time ‘at-work’ application of the learning ideas via digital toolkits and playlists; and the magic of bringing peer cohorts together to explore real-life experiences, build new and valuable relationships, and reintroduce the magic of a shared experience.
Our in-person training sessions are designed to be interactive and engaging and facilitate networking and peer learning. Participants can connect with professionals from diverse backgrounds, share experiences, and develop valuable human connections. This approach also allows for real-time feedback and personalized coaching, ensuring that each learner receives the support they need to succeed.

Learn more about our live workshops (virtual or in-person)

Our topics and titles

We offer a wide range of courses and workshops across leadership and management and personal development. 

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