Windermere Blog Banner

How a fresh approach to parental leave delivered joy (in and out of the delivery room).

Published on June 29 2022 By Nicola Ranger

A story from The ID Crowd and Windermere about how a learning partnership delivered outcomes while a customer delivered a baby!

We've all been there. Someone in the team is making a move and you're searching high and low to fill their shoes. There's a whole bunch of potential candidates yet that glass slipper never quite seems to fit. Also, you don't have the budget to offer them a throne and a palace, it's more like a pre-loved chair at your cosy kitchen table.

Here's a little story about one of those times…

Katherine and Carmela are the L&D power duo at Windermere, a non-profit organisation with a vision to create a stronger, more connected and supported community. Carmela had been in her role for just a few months when Katherine started preparing for maternity leave. The team of two was about to become a team of one. 

Katherine tried the usual recruitment tactics, but couldn't find the right candidate to cover her role for the next six months. 

After a while, she put the word out to some awesome folks in the L&D community asking for advice. She was soon put in touch with Nicole White, CEO and Founder of The ID Crowd.

A constraint is an opportunity in disguise

Katherine had a wish list of compliance learning modules to be built while she was away. Most importantly though, she wanted to find someone who could support Carmela.

"I wanted Carmela to have a good experience… she'd started doing instructional design, which she was really excited about. I wanted to keep up the momentum on that."

Katherine knew that Carmela was more than capable of taking the lead on the compliance learning project, but she didn't feel it was fair to leave her completely alone. The leave cover budget allowed Windermere to engage The ID Crowd for instructional design support. But in the future, the Windermere team would need to produce their learning assets in-house.

Together, Nicole and Katherine pondered the question, 'How can we best use Katherine's budget to deliver these modules and set Windermere up for future learning design success?' 

Their musings reached an exciting conclusion, and Nicole announced to the Crowd: 

We're going to take Carmela under our wing as an honorary team member.

What's better than one buddy? A whole Crowd.

The time soon came for Katherine to wave goodbye and disappear through the (virtual) office door. A blink of an eye later, Amy, our fearless Project Manager, stepped (zoomed) in and introduced Carmela to her new teammates.

With the project budget divvied up between learning design and mentoring time, the team made every learning minute count, on every level. 

Carmela wasn't just working on the project, she was the project!

There's some learning design inception happening here…

Carmela said, 'After the kick-off meeting, Nick Petch, Head of Learning Innovation, did a deep dive with me to discover my experience level and what I wanted to learn.' (And that's the key first step in any learning project – get to know the learner and what they need). Nick then showed Carmela how to map out a design for her modules in Miro, our favourite virtual whiteboard app. 

The raw content for the compliance modules was, as these things sometimes are, a tad on the dry side. That was until Amanda, Learning Designer and expert wordsmith, got her hands on it and whipped it up into something a whole lot more exciting. Carmela explained that "Amanda made the compliance learning modules engaging and fun. She taught me about conversational tone and how to make it sound as if the module is actually speaking to you."

Carmela also levelled up her skills on Articulate Rise, an ideal platform for customers who want to maintain their own modules with minimum fuss. She said, "The learning designers on the project showed me some tricks in Rise, and James, the project Visual Designer, taught me a few things in Adobe Illustrator to help with graphics and banners."

 From little projects, big skills grow

When Katherine returned to work she noticed the difference in Carmela straight away.

"Carmela is much more confident in her role and her skills have grown. She's teaching me now! We've picked up so many tips that we're going to incorporate into our own practice."

Carmela tells us that the Windermere stakeholders were chuffed to bits with the new modules. Not to mention that the operational health and safety modules were praised by an external consultant and Carmela even received positive feedback directly from the CEO.

Carmela said, "I've learned so much about instructional design, it's really enhanced my role and my experience at Windermere too."

And needless to say, the Crowd loved working with Carmela. We're so proud to work with customers like Windermere, who strive to help make the world a better place. 

We love getting creative with budget and scope (and making new L&D friends!)

We believe that the best learning design happens when we work in true partnership with our customers. And if you want to know how we make learning magic happen, we're more than happy to huddle around a Miro board and share our knowledge. 

If you'd like to read about more creative learning partnerships, take a step this way.