Three ways online learning sets you up to succeed

Want to discover how online study sets you up to seize the future in a work-from-home world? Lee Hickin and Leah Heiss share their insights on how to engender trust and collaboration in a time of isolation.

Increasingly, professionals need the skills to thrive in agile working environments; to exercise resilience through change and seek out the opportunity disruption presents to unlock growth.

RMIT Activator’s digital thought leadership series, Workforce Innovation in Uncertainty, brought together innovators and change-makers to share tips on how to do just that.

In the series’ second workshop, Microsoft’s National Technology Officer, Lee Hickin and Co-Director of the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network, Leah Heiss shared their insights in a discussion moderated by Industry Fellow - Innovation and Talent at RMIT Activator, Margaret Ledwith on how to engender trust and collaboration in a time of isolation

Discover how online study sets you up to seize the future in a work-from-home world.

#1: Online learning encourages trust and collaboration.

“We don’t sell products, we sell trust,” says Microsoft NTO Lee Hickin. In his tenure at Microsoft, Lee has seen that trust is the key factor in driving the adoption of new technology amongst consumers.

His role, created in the early 1990’s, is to ensure that “humanity is at the centre of all Microsoft’s technology,” and he believes it is our uniquely human ability to engender trust through remote collaboration that will set us apart in the workforce.

The trust building and collaborative skills students practice through online study at RMIT are vital. By collaborating with your classmates and lecturers through RMIT’s online tools and forums, and accessing our wellbeing resources to sustain motivation, students develop transferable skills that will put them ahead of the rest in a competitive job market. 

#2: Digital collaboration fine-tunes our empathy skills

“Different parts of our brain light up when we’re meeting someone online versus in a physical setting,” says Industry Fellow - Innovation and Talent at RMIT Activator, Margaret Ledwith. “This means that when working remotely, we don’t see the immediate circumstances or triggers for neural responses. With this in mind we need to form new emotional and social intelligence.”

“By scaffolding trust, you create an environment where empathy can occur,” says Co-Director of the RMIT Wearables and Sensing Network, Leah Heiss. “Neurologically, empathy is fostered when we see other people do things or do things together.  It’s about enriching online empathy in a time of imposed isolation - it is our emotional technology.”

Forbes recently ranked emotional intelligence as one of the most in-demand soft skills companies look for in new candidates, and as companies increasingly transition to remote working models, the ability to apply this skill remotely becomes paramount.

By creating shared experiences with online study, students practice essential empathetic skills. When applied in a professional environment, these skills lead to a more human-centred, emotionally and socially intelligent work experience. 

#3: Remote learning is a pathway to global opportunities

“We have made seismic shifts in moving forward, and we’re not going back to normal,” says Hickin when reflecting on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the immediate it’s changed how we think about flexibility. The positive of that is, if we can work remotely the job market opens up globally.

“What seemed impossible just weeks ago has now become part of our daily lives. The ‘tyranny of distance,’ is broken and we can move to a more open and collaborative workforce.”

Online learning is a pathway to a globally integrated workforce. By engaging in online study and work integrated learning through RMIT’s industry partners today, students can hit the ground running in the future of work tomorrow.

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