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S05 E01 – Blended Learning

Welcome to Season 5! The season kicks off with guest Elizabeth Godwin, the Global Lead, Digital Learning and Architecture at Greenpeace International

Elizabeth’s favourite books

  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Fire Island by Hulu – new adaptation

Find all of our guests’ reading recommendations at our The Tao of WAO book club.



Important note: this is a lightly-edited AI transcription of the conversation. If you require verbatim quotations, please double-check against the audio!

Laura Hilliger: [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to the Tao of WAO, a podcast about the intersection of technology, society and internet culture with a dash of philosophy and art for good measure. I’m Laura Hilliger.

Doug Belshaw: [00:00:35] And I’m Doug Belshaw. This podcast season is currently partially unfunded. You can support this podcast and other web open projects and products at open

Laura Hilliger: [00:00:46] So we’re very pleased to have our first guest of the season, Elizabeth Godwin. Liz is the global lead of digital learning and architecture at Greenpeace International. And we have been having a very good time working closely with her for the last couple of years on some internal training programs that we’re actually not allowed to get super specific about, but we’re going to try to generalise some of that. Welcome, Liz.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:01:14] Thank you so much. It’s really nice to talk with you both.

Laura Hilliger: [00:01:19] So Liz, we always ask our guests what their favourite book at the moment is, and I’m trying to remember if I warned you about that question or if you’re completely on the spot.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:01:30] No, you did warn me about it. And which means I’ve had, I think, a week to worry about my answer to this question. Um, my my favourite book is actually Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. And I realise that makes me basic basic Y, but it is a book that I can pick up at any point, seemingly in my life because I have picked it up at different points in my life and it has resonated with me or at any point in the book, because that’s how I that’s how I handle my Kindle. Sometimes I just turn to a random location and still find myself interested and intrigued about the characters. My favourite Have.

Doug Belshaw: [00:02:12] You read any of the like spin offs like with zombies?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:02:17] Funny you should ask. I have tried to read the spin offs and I can’t do it. I can’t read them as as works as as novels. But I can watch the movies, so I will give a plug right now if that is okay with you. There’s a movie called Fire Island on Hulu, which is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that is just delightful. It it captures the characters in a completely new environment and a completely new societal context with a lot of care. And as someone born in the early 80s, as I as I was just so many of the references resonated with me. I really love it. I’m not going to say anything else about it. I just really recommend the movie Fire Island.

Doug Belshaw: [00:03:08] Nice. So some of you listening to your accent, some people listening to your accent might think that you are somewhere on the other side of the pond. But whereabouts in the world are you right now?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:03:20] I am on the other side of a pond. You are by a different pond? Yes, I’m actually in Amsterdam. In the Netherlands, though I originally hail from the Washington, D.C. area in the US.

Doug Belshaw: [00:03:37] So just continuing on the kind of theme of like background stuff. So we talked about Pride and Prejudice. Is that a book that you like read at a very formative time of your life and has kind of stayed with you all the way through because you said you kind of dip into it different times.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:03:52] I, I read Pride and Prejudice under Duress as part of my high school English curriculum. And actually I had faked reading Pride and Prejudice. I pretended to. And then we were in school. It was the end of the school year. We were watching the BBC adaptation, which I assume even I’ve seen Exactly right. So I got caught for not having read the book. By my teacher because I had such a strong I was so shocked at one point in in the film, she was like, you really should read the book. It’s good that grades are already turned in. So yeah, I read it in high school through my public school education requirements. And then it became, I think maybe because I was so surprised by the story at one point, the story in which everyone predictably gets married. Um, it just stuck with me and I’ve. I’ve never been able to quit it.

Doug Belshaw: [00:05:04] Very good.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:05:05] I wish that I had some perfect intellectual answer, though. I have. Purposefully taking a step back from difficult reading in the past 3 or 4 years. Because reading is where I find fun. And I got tired of of footnotes and heavy, heavy topics.

Doug Belshaw: [00:05:34] So have you found the same have you stopped reading such hard things recently?

Laura Hilliger: [00:05:38] Well, first of all, I would not argue that a classic novel by Jane Austen is just simple read. I think there’s a difference between that and like, you know, a Jack Reacher novel or something. So that would be the first thing I’d say. And also, I have to I have also in the past couple of years sort of been quite picky about the more non-fiction, heavier intellectual stuff because I find that it just fills my brain up and it makes me tired. Like I’m reading something right now. That’s, that’s, you know, it’s sort of a manifesto about a new world. It’s called Binding Chaos by Heather Marsh, and it’s about mass collaboration was recommended to me at a conference I was at back in August. Doug bought it for me and I’ve been reading it and it’s just making my brain bleed a bit. I like to read classics too, Like the first time I read Wuthering Heights, I just laid on the floor for a while, like, Holy crap, how do you how does somebody write a book like that? Like it just, you know, I think the reason that they’re classics is because there’s there’s something quite poignant and eternal about that they.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:06:55] Connect with us. Yeah. A friend and I were actually recently talking about this. I have a friend who, similar to myself, she has a young child. She and her family also recently relocated to the Netherlands. And we were talking about how we’re just reading trash like we are. We are reading for joy and we are reading for escape and we are no longer reading for provocation. And and the reason I’m doing that is because I don’t read with other people, right? I don’t have a book club that I’m a part of. And I and, you know, I could watch a film with somebody else and share that experience together. But but reading is such an intense personal act for me that to not and maybe this can segway into our learning discussion to not have. A social connection to process those thoughts with. I’m intentionally taking a step back into the shallower end of the pool for my own, for my own enjoyment, and also for a bit of my own self-protection.

Doug Belshaw: [00:08:05] Well, I kind of say that Pride and Prejudice is your kind of. You didn’t you didn’t use the word guilty pleasure. But like the going back to and the kind of dipping into and being a touchstone. Um, that’s an awesome book to have for that. As Laura knows, she mentioned Jack Reacher there. When I finished my thesis, I said I’m never reading the book in my entire life. Um, and then my dad gave me the first of the Jack Reacher novels saying, I’m going to give you the first one, son, because you’re going to love them. You’re going to read the rest of them. I’m like, I’m not going to read that. I’ve now read 21 Jack Reacher novels. Oh. Um, and I’m currently reading one of my favourite books of all time, which is Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, which is all about the character Death. Um, and now I’m going to make a really awkward segway into learning design. Here we go. Are you ready for it? It’s going to be like a car skidding at 90 degrees. Um, do you find in general and I’m talking Liz and Lori here when you’re kind of doing learning design more recently, people don’t read as much. Is that a thing?

Laura Hilliger: [00:09:18] What do you mean? The content of the. Yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:09:21] So we can’t rely on providing a lot of text because people. My assumption is that people aren’t willing to read as much as they used to, and therefore we have to provide different kinds of things. But I’m just putting it out there as a slightly awkward segway into the topic of today’s conversation.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:09:41] Is too much reading. The death of learning. Well, too much anything is. Overreliance on anything is. Um. So in the in the digital learning space where I currently am. There is both a rejection of reading. In terms of that, me sitting at my computer and reading content is not the training that I have that I. Have been raised to expect. Yet it is all that people expect of digital learning. They either expect. Really fancy, overbaked, animated. You know, computer, the kind of computer based training that the regulatory agencies would put out around safety things back in the 90s that would take two years to produce one module. Or they expect. Well, what a subject matter expert would stand up at the front of the room and say to me, because I’m used to that sage on the stage training model, I expect now to read that. I expect to read their speaker’s notes, and I reject that and I support the rejection of that. That’s not what we should be encouraging people to expect of us. That’s setting a really low bar. But the power of that personal moment of reading something and having just yourself to sit with and think about it for a second. Oh, that’s a catalyst for me. I love that.

Laura Hilliger: [00:11:18] Yeah, I think it’s I mean, I think. The jug. I think you’re right that people have less tolerance for quite text heavy content, especially in online learning environments. But at the same time, I wonder if it really has to do with like really learner centric design, because there are some people like me, for example, when I go to learn something, when I want to be able to do something, just regular things like, I don’t know, something at home fixing something. Everybody else goes to YouTube or I have the feeling that everybody goes to YouTube and they watch a thing about it. But I don’t like DIY videos. Like, I just don’t have the patience for DIY videos. I so I go and I find it described in like a blog post and then I skim through it and then I mess it up myself, you know? And then I’m like, Oh, maybe I should watch a video. And then I watch a video after I’ve already broken whatever it is I was trying to fix. But like, I think that there’s just so many different ways that people go about trying to access knowledge. And I find it really challenging. As a learning designer, when do we use which method and which kind of programs are we going to have, be more text heavy or not? What kind of subjects? And I think it’s I feel like it’s a contextual design choice when it comes to learning. Like you really have to know the community of people that you’re, you know, that you’re teaching and learning with.

Doug Belshaw: [00:12:48] One of the things that Liz in the pre chat to this episode dear listener we had a bit of a chat about LinkedIn and Liz said that, you know, he doesn’t spend a lot of time on there. One of the things you’re missing is a conversation, a debate that flares up from time to time for people who say learning styles are just absolute, you know, they’re ridiculous. And other people saying, yeah, but they can be useful in terms of mixing up learning and finding out how people like to learn and and whatever, rather than saying the hard coded into the brain. Um, and yeah, I just wanted to open a space to, to talk about, about that kind of contested area, not like let’s rehash the whole learning styles argument, but just learning preferences, I guess.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:13:30] I love learning styles. I, I, I, I love learning styles because they switch the conversation from teaching styles. And I find that in my role typically as the, the, the training person in the room of filled with subject matter experts that it’s really helpful to have learning styles as a pivot point from what the the trainers. Are already comfortable with. To thinking about, well, what’s the learner going to need in this space? And to have learning styles as a shorthand for thinking that people are different and they might be different from you. Can be can be really helpful.

Doug Belshaw: [00:14:15] Sorry I was muted there. What what’s your kind of angle on, on on learning styles and stuff?

Laura Hilliger: [00:14:21] Well, as you know, I love to use the word multimodal so that I sound very impressive right after I use the word synergies. Um, so yeah, I actually agree with Liz there. Um, learning styles as a shorthand for changing the conversation around presenter styles and listeners. I just did some scare quotes there. Um, air quotes. Why do we call them scare quotes now? They used to be air quotes. Now they’re scare quotes. Anyways, I.

Doug Belshaw: [00:14:56] Think it’s trying to direct the listener as to how you should react to the word that you’re introducing into the.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:15:02] I have a, I have a personal preferred learning styles. That is not the normal like auditory kinaesthetic.

Laura Hilliger: [00:15:18] Visual.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:15:19] Etcetera and so forth. So I as you can tell by look, I dug this out, it was so it was, it was really easy to find. Sorry. Oral media. I prefer to use the Honey and Mumford’s learning styles. Honey and Mumford. They’re British dudes. And that’s as much as I know about them. But they they wrote about four different learning styles that are more more described as personas of learners around how learners like to engage with content, what they need to build confidence in content rather than how do we just absorb information, how do we absorb.

Laura Hilliger: [00:16:05] And what were the four types?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:16:07] So Honey and Mumford, who should pay me a little money, I think for digging this up from whenever they wrote it, Activists. Activists like to be involved in new experiences. They’re the ones who are going to need to try things out. Okay, that’s reflectors. Reflectors like to stand back and look at a situation from different perspectives. That’s me.

Laura Hilliger: [00:16:30] Too.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:16:32] Theorists. They like data and questions, probing things. They like to think through problems in a step by step logical way.

Laura Hilliger: [00:16:40] Oh, doubt me.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:16:43] And pragmatists. Pragmatists like to get things done. They are keen to try things out, but for a practical purpose.

Laura Hilliger: [00:16:52] Oh, that’s me too. Okay. I’m all four of those things. What does that mean?

Doug Belshaw: [00:16:58] The Laura. I disagree, but okay.

Laura Hilliger: [00:17:02] You disagree means.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:17:03] That we are all complex beings.

Laura Hilliger: [00:17:05] I know. Yeah, that was my point. But I guess we don’t have to have that learning styles debate. We are complex beings. People learn in different ways depending on the situation, depending on the thematics, the topics, depending on the other learners in the room. You know, because which I think is a go ahead.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:17:26] Well, or just what’s been happening in somebody’s day. You know, I had a great morning meeting to start me off today, but it really grounded me in having I feel a visceral need to produce something by the end of the day.

Laura Hilliger: [00:17:42] And here you are chatting with us. Liz, you’re gonna have to.

Doug Belshaw: [00:17:48] Produce this podcast episode in the next few hours. Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:17:51] Um, Liz, could you could you talk to our audience a little bit about your career path? I’m really interested to know how did you end up being the global learning design and architecture? Awesome person. I forget your exact title. That was, that.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:18:08] Was negotiation around title. That one. Um, I, I went to college and got a liberal arts degree and thought I would go to law school. And then the idea of law school and passing the bar and all of that seemed so supremely boring to me.

Laura Hilliger: [00:18:27] What did you what did you study in your undergrad?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:18:32] So I was a history major, which means I’m really good at Jeopardy. And I’m for all of the trash reading that I do right now. I’m really good at picking apart sources and tearing my way through an academic book rather quickly focusing just on the footnotes. Um, but history and international studies and political science. So after school and deciding that I didn’t want to do the boring thing, although props to lawyers, they make a lot more money than I do and have probably more interesting things to talk about sometimes. Um, I. I just got a job. I knew that I wanted to work probably in a non-profit or social sector. Kind of role and ended up getting a role with a wonderful small conservation group based out of DC and. I, I come from limited means. I’ll say like I have been on my own in terms of financing education. I didn’t have the opportunity to ever step out of full time employment. So. I followed the steps that kind of laid out ahead of me within that role. I was moved into human resources, which I think is a. A wonderful field. I really do feel like H.R. has the capacity to make people feel cared about and to make people feel heard within their organisation. I think there’s a lot of power and a lot of potential within human resources. In that same vein, I think there’s also a lot of opportunity for that potential to be lost. And and I did air for I was the head of HR for this organisation for about four years and realised pretty, pretty quickly in those four years. But I made my transition slowly out of it. While I love HR and I love what it does for people in the organisation, assuming it’s working for people in the organisation, I did not love doing it myself.

Laura Hilliger: [00:20:49] And is that is that kind of when you have a master’s in organisational knowledge and human organisational management and human knowledge?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:21:01] Yeah, talk about overbaked. I did. I went to, I went to grad school while I was working because I loved, I loved moments of learning and I loved moments of support and where you feel the conversation shift within organisational discussions. So I got my master’s in.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:21:24] Oh, Lord.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:21:25] I got my master’s in organisational learning and human development. Okay. And that it was I was part of a working cohort. So we were all working as we were pursuing our degrees. I went to school every Saturday for two years. Yeah, which was the first Saturday after graduation. I didn’t know what to do because it had been two solid years with breaks over a three week winter break period. And I also wasn’t taking vacations or anything. I learned a lot since then about how to how to listen to my needs and balance my time since then. But I learned through that master’s program that. While I love I’m a theorist in the classroom. I’m a pragmatist in the workplace. I love to spin around with big questions, but I only have so much energy for that. And then I try to come back to, well, how do we implement something?

Doug Belshaw: [00:22:30] So you’re doing the HR work in the US? Are you still over there? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You finished your master’s while you’re doing that for a year? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And what what happens next?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:22:41] I left HR because now I had a big shiny degree that I could go and get my next role, which was working for a international non-profit association, focussed on the operations community. So finance, human resources, IT compliance, the people who who don’t tend to get the conferences, the people who don’t tend to get a lot of connection between organisations. This was a community that I had been a part of and I really loved being able to come back and transition into a content development role, a training development role. I did a lot of community development with them and feel like I just got the best window of insight into. What are the problems that everyone’s having that everyone is reinventing the wheel over and over again? And why are none of these solutions working? So that was a lot of fun. I did that for a couple of years and then moved on to another place, moved on to another, and then moved to my current role or actually no, moved to a role at Greenpeace as an internal manager of learning, I think. Yeah.

Doug Belshaw: [00:24:00] So did you move to the Netherlands for the Greenpeace role?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:24:04] I moved I’m on my third Greenpeace role right now. Okay. So I moved between 2 and 3. Yeah, yeah. Okay, cool. So Greenpeace decided to invest in a global approach to online learning. For those of you unfamiliar with Greenpeace, we are a global network of 27 different national regional organisations and I work for Greenpeace International, so I am part of a coordinating body for the global network. The lawyer might have better language for me about that. I’m not sure I’m up to date on the last one.

Laura Hilliger: [00:24:42] No, I think that was exactly.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:24:43] The last way we’re phrasing that. So I, I bring digital learning tools to our global community of practitioners around and as well as the 3500 staff we have working for various nros around the world. So is there.

Doug Belshaw: [00:25:02] Someone working in L and D in each of the national regional offices?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:25:05] We hope. We really do hope. Resourcing is always an issue. Sometimes it’s somebody’s part time job or off the side of their desk. But there is a a growing recognition of the need for dedicated and expertise and focus within each office.

Laura Hilliger: [00:25:26] So can you tell us a little bit about what your role, what does it mean? What’s your day to day like? I mean, I know a little bit because Doug and I have the great pleasure of working with you on a project, but if you could maybe be a bit more general, I’m just curious how you describe your role.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:25:43] So my role changed a lot with Covid. When I came on about four months before anybody had started talking about Covid, my role was to slowly roll out a new learning management system across our 27 different nros. In February of 2020, that remit changed to as quickly as possible figure out a way for everybody to transition their live trainings onto this online platform. Thankfully, that didn’t go the way it was asked to go because that would have resulted in so many text based. Here are the slides trainings that I’m gosh, laptops would have been. Chucked out of windows. Nobody would have nobody would have enjoyed that. Instead, I get to do the part of my job that I love, which is consulting with, consulting with subject matter experts, consulting with program owners. Asking them what they love about their content, what their learners love about their content, what they love about their learners. I just the reason why my job works is because. I’m so curious about. Like, I just want to get down to the bottom of everything and I can I can be hopelessly devoted to whatever topic is directly in front of me. So I often work with 5 to 10 different projects at a time. Wow. But because I’m just asking questions about them and then thinking about different learning strategies that we could employ, I can keep all of those on different burners. I’m often not creating much content anymore, which which is interesting. That’s that was the space that I came out of. Was here a need, right? A training?

Laura Hilliger: [00:27:46] Yeah. And do you do you miss that? Because I know like I know for me, sometimes I just start building things, writing things, making things just because I miss it and I have energy, not because I necessarily have to, and also not because it’s faster or something, but just because for me, content development is fun and it’s fun to like put on music, get into the weeds and make something new. And luckily we get to do that quite, quite a bit with, with the Co-op. Um, but I wonder if in your role as sort of a kind of a consulting learner designer learning design architecture, I forgot your role again, but, but if it’s, if it’s something that sometimes you get into the weeds of just because it’s fun for you.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:28:42] I. I miss the direct. Cause and effect. I miss the direct link of Oh, that would be cool to structure it in this way. Let me go and do it. Um, and when I have those opportunities, I do seize on them like, like some of the train, the trainer content that we’ve been working on with our project recently. Uh, but I also fully recognise that my curiosity about stuff does not make me an expert on stuff. And, and I have worked very hard to not put myself, not overrepresent myself in, in terms of the training that I’m helping with sometimes. Um, this, this was really important when I was working in global compliance offices and just because I understood the shallow one inch of content that I needed learners to engage with, I needed to make sure that people did not equate me with the expert who could give them the definitive answer on something, because then I would be. Introducing a real element of risk to the organisation and also not not holding up who was the expert. So I think it’s a I had to learn some humility there around having the patience to not want to jump to, to developing where it’s not my content to develop.

Doug Belshaw: [00:30:12] So interesting thing about experts. So obviously in the UK we had Brexit and one of the things around Brexit was a massive distrust brought in by politicians about not trusting experts. And you see this kind of permeate further in society, this kind of distrust of expertise as in like, have they got an agenda? Is their agenda the same as mine, that kind of thing. Um, and on the internet where you can read a Wikipedia article and immediately be kind of create a YouTube video and be set yourself up as an expert. Have you seen the dynamic between. The way that learners interact with like subject matter experts with trainers. Have you seen learners acting differently, either during the pandemic or offline or online or whatever? Has that changed over the years, or is it is it broadly the same?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:31:07] I think because I’ve always worked in organisational learning. And learning is predominantly seen as a as a benefit. Or at least in the spaces that I’ve been a part of, learning has been a benefit. There has always been a measure of gratitude or or grace that exists between between learners and content owners or learners and experts. I have been very fortunate to not work in the environment of. Uh, this kind of forced learning model. What is training? A forced training model. So I’ve never. I’ve never experienced a time where. Learners felt that they needed to push back on something. Actually, actually, I take that back. I have experienced that. And what the learner, the the presenting issue was around the content. But the underlying issue, they were poking holes in the content, but the underlying issue was that they didn’t have any relational trust between. Themselves, their experiences, their needs, and what this person was trying to sell. To them, what the or what the organisation was trying to this was forced was trying to force them to, to align to and and. The the disconnect, I think, was rooted in that disconnect person to person.

Doug Belshaw: [00:32:47] And do you see more of the. Because obviously you’ve got experience of offline training and learning and online training, learning. You just talked about what happened during Covid and that kind of thing. Um. In my experience, when I go and do presentations and workshops before the workshop starts, I go around and try and talk to every single person in the room, or at least in a group, and try to make sure they’ve got some kind of. You know, interaction. I’ve seen Laura do this. And so what I really find difficult on Zoom and and things like that is having that pre chat and building a relationship before you’re standing in the mantle of the expert providing content. I just wondered whether you’d seen like a shift in dynamic or whether you had any advice for people about how to like develop that relationship as well.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:33:38] Yeah. Um, and Zoom makes it so hard because it, it also reinforces relationships that already exist. When when I’m leading a Zoom meeting and I see some people enter. The first. It’s just my my default instinct is always to reach out to the. Oh, Lord. Good to see you again. Hey, how are you doing? Hey, Doug. How’s it going? And. And what that does quickly re-establish a relationship, but it’s one that was already there and it can take away from those who we need to engage for the first time so that they continue to engage through even just that 30 minute session. Um, I have heard the the little facilitators guiding rule. If you get somebody to talk in the first five minutes, they’re more likely to, to contribute throughout a session and to feel a connection to the topic, to feel a connection to the outcomes of whatever that session is. Um, I’m not sure if it’s true. Why? Because a facilitator told it to me. That could have been some creative facilitation to, to get me to participate. Um, but because I.

Doug Belshaw: [00:34:54] I read once that if you, in a traditional classroom or lecture theatre, if you sit near the front, you’re more likely to do well, not just because you’re the kind of student who tends to sit at the front, but actually they’ve tested like if you said the front, you’re more likely to feel like you’re being watched or whatever. And I can never really tell whether online learning is like everyone being at the front of the class or everyone being at the back of the class.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:35:21] I think depending on the design, it’s more likely going to fall to everyone being in the back of the class. But in my ideal world, there’s no class. Because. Because you’re doing this in your life. Even class, to me feels like an artificial environment. Training rooms feel like an artificial environment. I want I want people to be getting the content that they need when they need it, when it makes sense to them, and they can get a burst of endorphins. Because it helped them overcome something. I’m sorry if you just heard my. Uh. Okay. So yeah, there is in my in my ideal world, there is no class. There are communities, there are people coming together and talking. But it’s not in this artificial construct of here’s where we go to learn, which makes it really weird that I run a learning platform.

Laura Hilliger: [00:36:18] No, but I mean, I completely agree with you. I think it’s I think it’s quite challenging as a learning designer and as a facilitator to ensure the kind of space that you’re talking about for all the people who enter that space. Because as the learning designer or the facilitator, you’re responsible for creating a ideal learning environment for a bunch of different people. And online, like, I mean, what I just got from what Doug said is that I feel like it is a little bit harder online to ensure that kind of like productive, positive learning space as, as opposed to offline. Because offline you can I don’t know, there’s just something about being in the room with other people having a little bit of time before or after sessions or in the middle of sessions, body language, all of these kind of communicative devices that we use in in meet space can be can be used differently and online. It is, you know, we have little activities and ploys and tactics that we use to try to create that space. But at the end of the day, you know, if somebody comes to the learning session and everybody else is participating and they have their Zoom video off, you know, the the the only way to deal with it is either to ignore it or be direct about it, you know? Well, I guess you could say, well, can everybody turn on your cameras? But if there’s only one person who’s face muted, then obviously they know that you’re targeting them. So it’s kind of a strange, a strange balance. And I think that there is definitely some learning content that can be placed around how to facilitate those safe spaces. And I think a lot of the train, the trainer that you and Doug have been working on that we’re going to start this week actually and start running. I think a lot of it is centred around those behaviours and attitudes.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:38:16] I actually just did a week of in-person training as a participant and it was so exhausting to be with people.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:38:26] For five days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or or longer. And I think I don’t know whether I’m out of shape. It’s possible that my my in-person learning muscles are just atrophied. But I found that I didn’t have as much patience and I couldn’t rebound as quickly going from. From how Sessions were shifting. I needed some more transition space in there and I think. The in-person trainers were okay about seeing that. And and I think they were more more clued in to the data that learners were giving through reactions than they could have been or than they likely would have been if we had been doing this all online. There is some safety of me sitting in in my room by myself. That I can pretend to not see certain behaviours because then I can keep my my learning journey or my training journey on track. But that doesn’t serve the learners needs. Um, but yeah, I was, I was surprised by how tired in person training made me.

Laura Hilliger: [00:39:38] Yeah, this is kind of a running theme through the last couple of seasons of the the Tao of wow, how tired it is to be coming back to the real world after the pandemic. So you’re not you’re definitely not alone. Doug and I were talking about how to we were before we went to our first in-person event or my first in-person event a couple of months ago. And one of the episodes we recorded was like, How to take care of yourself in real life events, just in case you forgot. And yeah, it’s definitely learning events as well. It’s so much interaction, so much social interaction.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:40:16] And we know that the act of learning takes more resources than if I were just going into the office and sitting for a day, even doing my very hard and important job. Sitting in that room in a state of vulnerability for eight hours. Admitting when I don’t know things. Working with new people that I don’t typically work with in areas that I’m not comfortable, that that takes more energy, that takes more. Um, I think it takes more calories, right? So for.

Doug Belshaw: [00:40:52] Sure. For sure. And what I found when I stopped teaching and so therefore, you know what teaching looks like. You’re in a classroom and you’re standing up and it’s a and when I went into like a university setting and then I was at Mozilla and stuff, like I had this kind of almost existential crisis of what does work look like? Like if there’s people digging a hole, they’re working, even if what they’re doing is pointless, even if they’re going to fill it back in like it looks like work. But how does my work look different from messing about on the Internet or whatever? And so I sometimes wonder about learning as well and how sometimes we perform work when other people are watching us and how we perform learning as well when we’re in front of other people and how that’s different online because you can just mute your camera and be like thinking really hard about this thing or staring out the window or whatever. And so there’s a performative aspect to being like learning in person, I think, which we don’t necessarily always have online.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:41:51] But learning is all about performance, right? Learning. Learning is all about. Being in a position where you’re not safe anymore, figuring out what’s needed to get you back to a position of safety and being back in that position of safety is when you have learned the thing.

Doug Belshaw: [00:42:08] That’s interesting way of putting it. But that that position of feeling unsafe on the edge of your knowledge or not being comfortable, whatever. Sometimes like a swan, you can be dealing with that internally whilst not exhibiting that externally. Yeah. And I think sometimes there’s almost a pressure to contort your body into a learning posture.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:42:35] Yeah, that’s. That’s very true. Um, when I say performance, I mean impact. I mean, and this is because I only exist in the organisational learning space, so everything I do is for the man. I guess I’m trying to get impact for organisational goals. Um. Yeah. Yeah.

Laura Hilliger: [00:43:03] Mm. I like how you tried to downplay what that means when you’re talking about, you know, designing, learning for, you know, a, a the entire Greenpeace workforce as if that’s, you know, an easy scale to wrap your brain around. I certainly think that I mean, I find it really impressive that you’re thinking at that at that kind of level and then, you know, kind of writing it off as organisational, you know, organisation. It’s easier than some other kind of learning design. I find that very interesting.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:43:39] I was thinking about this earlier actually, because I don’t think my job is that hard and I and I don’t think I think I work hard at my job, but I don’t think it’s that difficult to be perfectly honest. And I think that’s because my brain was designed for this work. My. My soul was honestly designed to be curious about some stuff and to find energy in asking questions about some stuff. And that’s why it feels effortless to me.

Laura Hilliger: [00:44:07] Or it feels effortless to you, Liz, Because you are actually an expert at the thing that you do at work, which is learning, design and helping people learn so well.

Doug Belshaw: [00:44:18] Plus one to that. And I’d bring in I didn’t know that you had this background, but it totally makes sense in terms of the like the empathy and the thinking about relationships within an organisation. So actually the expertise you bring from different parts, it’s not like a very straight track kind of career. So that’s interesting to me.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:44:36] I can also help you if you ever need any assistance with identifying US health insurance plans. I picked up a lot of skill in that area.

Laura Hilliger: [00:44:47] We better be careful because there might be a listener out there who’s like, Oh, Liz Godwin, okay, I’m going to get in touch.

Doug Belshaw: [00:44:55] Your LinkedIn notifications will be buzzing. Oh, talking about LinkedIn, Where is the best place If people want to like, I like the cut of Liz’s jib, I’d like to find more about her. Where’s the best place to look you up on the internet?

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:45:07] Phrasing like, um, so I am on LinkedIn and that’s really it. I have a dormant Instagram account which had a lot of kid pictures on it, and I have a Facebook account that I am on, but I try to not do anything on. That’s that’s me taking a step back from from the Empire.

Doug Belshaw: [00:45:29] So if you if you want to get in touch with Liz, you either have to send a pigeon or write in the margins of a copy of Pride and Prejudice in Amsterdam Library. Yeah. And hope that the message one day gets to her. I was going.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:45:43] To, you know, circular economy, sell that copy of Pride and Prejudice to a used bookstore and then I’ll go to all the used bookstores, find it, and we’ll connect from there.

Laura Hilliger: [00:45:56] 70 years in the future. Okay. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Liz. It’s we’re going to be hanging out all week so I don’t have to say goodbye, but thank you. I’ll talk to you in.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:46:08] A couple hours.

Laura Hilliger: [00:46:09] Exactly. But thanks so much for your time.

Elizabeth Godwin: [00:46:12] Thank you. Bye bye!

Doug Belshaw: [00:46:14] Thanks, Liz. Bye!