From Civil Servant to Consultant
Changing the mindset of civil servants overnight isn’t the easiest thing. If possible at all. But starting a pilot program with the Regional Environmental Service Utrecht (Omgevingsdienst Regio Utrecht, ODRU) has shown us that Triple Blend Learning™ will get you far. With our project, we have successfully helped civil servants become consultants, too.
These regional environmental services are a separate branch of the Dutch government that ensure that companies live up to Dutch and European environmental laws. They typically inspect whether companies actually observe these laws and fine or sanction those that don’t.
And in early 2016, we were asked to start an online learning program to explain the most important changes in environmental legislation to ODRU’s employees and to enforce change management for them. We soon realized that a Triple Blend Learning™ program would suit this project best and their project leader soon greenlit the program.
New Laws, New Attitude
Due to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment’s recent changes in legislation and laws, the civil servants had to take on the role of consultant in addition to their usual tasks. These changes demanded a shift in the mindset of these employees, and to help them do that, ODRU decided to use the Triple Blend Learning™ program.
To enable this change in mindset, we set up this program, made up of a classroom group training, elearnings, and interactive video learning boosters.
How We Approached It
We made two modules for this elearning, both approximately 20 minutes long. These elearnings dealt with the theoretical aspects of taking on that new consultancy role. Both modules were closely linked to their classroom group training counterparts.
In addition, the second module also doubled as a model for conversational skills that they would practise with in groups during the training. A prerequisite to participating in those classroom group trainings was having successfully completed elearning modules.
For this project, external training bureau MET IMPACT provided these classroom training sessions. These sessions were divided into two meetings for all civil servants that were participating, meeting in groups of about fifteen people each.
How Interactive Video Comes Into Play
In the week after the last meeting, we started sending interactive Micro Learning Videos, a.k.a. the interactive videos. From then on, all participants would receive an email with an invitation to watch one of these interactive videos every week. In total, we sent out twelve interactive videos.
We filmed everything for the videos at ODRU’s headquarters and we had several employees play the parts in the videos, as they were a perfect representation of the target audience.
We wrote the scripts for the videos in close cooperation with the ODRU staff and the trainer to most accurately show real-life situations. These videos had a wide range of conversational topics, such as verbal and non-verbal communication, how to structure a conversation, and the importance of evaluating a consultation.
Did It Work?
The project had around twenty participants who completed the entire program and they have successfully taken on their advisory role.
Far before we were even close to the end of our program, our client expressed his enthusiasm for this project. He promised us that he would recommend our Triple Blend Learning program to his supervisors in The Hague immediately.
In the meanwhile, we received a message from the Ministry themselves, saying that as soon as more subsidy would be made available, they would like us to start similar projects at other Regional Environmental Services.
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