Is it a mistake to talk about ‘work life balance’? If we only live one life, why do we go to such lengths to separate the domestic and professional? Well, Life Based Learning (previously known as MAAM) is a life-based training course that highlights skills you will have developed as a parent so you can apply them in the workplace.
Introducing Life Based Learning and a few words about the name
Life Based Learning was created in Italy by Riccarda Zezza, for her company Life Based Value, following the arrival of her second child. A huge amount of development and research went into creating the Life Based Learning concept and having been available in Italy for some time, it’s now been opened up to UK employees.
Put very simply, Zezza felt that skills we develop as parents are transferable to the workplace. Negotiation, empathy, listening, delegation and time management are just a few of the skills that are as vital to the family as they are to employers.
This idea, however, receives very little recognition and so Life Based Learning was established to get employees thinking differently about their approach to work and family life. Employers can sign up to the scheme and offer it to their staff as a form of online workplace training. Zezza says this is vital as many employees miss out on training opportunities when they have children and so Life Based Learning goes some way to filling that gap.
A quick word about the former name, MAAM (which stood for Maternity As A Masters). I can imagine some dads may have found the name Maternity as a Masters off-putting. I’ve completed a trial of the course and once you sign-in and register as a father, everything is tailored to you as a dad (conversely, register as a mum and it will be tailored to you). The language used refers to fathers, the tasks you complete relate to fathers and the video content is all reflective of fathers. It has been very-well tailored to men so my advice to dads is to see past the name (and anyway FAAM would sound like a dreadful 1980s TV show!).
Undertaking the Life Based Learning trial
I have undertaken a trial of the program and studied some of the modules, each one focusing on a skill you have as a parent. As you complete modules, various tasks are unlocked. You must undertake the tasks using the skills you have to complete the course.
Registration for the program is simple. It requires some basic details about you and your children. In addition to the modules, you will also have access to the moderated online Life Based Learning community so you have support from your peers and it’s all behind the password-protected Life Based Learning website, so comments are not public.
The suggestion is that you should only need to spend about 20 minutes a week on the Life Based Learning training. In my experience, you may want to dedicate a little more time than this, but it’s certainly not onerous. I can’t imagine employers complaining about their staff spending hours and hours each week on the training.
I won’t tell you about every single module I undertook as that would take a long time! That said, after a module focusing on the Life Based Learning way of study, I completed a module on empathy.
The modules all follow a similar pattern of study. You usually watch a short video and read a manageable amount of text on the chosen subject. Often there are multiple choice questions and some open-ended questions which force you to apply your knowledge to home and work life.
Regardless of the module, this is the bit that really gets you thinking. When it came to thinking about empathy, I had to consider leadership and team building and it was, like all the modules, very thought provoking. I found this module particularly engaging because it really got me thinking about how I listen to my children and whether I could be better at it.
There are many modules to complete. They include:
- Communication (Empathy, Listening, Verbal Communication, Collaboration)
- Management (Time Management, Decision Making, Managing Complexity, Delegation)
- Innovation (Problem Solving, Creativity, Mental Agility, Change Management)
With the modules completed, you are then given missions to complete so you can apply what you have learned. I’ll list three of the missions so you can get an understanding of what it involves:
- Be actively empathetic with someone
- Delegating and letting go and
- Giving your time to others.
How can you study the Life Based Learning course?
Your employer will have to provide you with access to the Life Based Learning course. The fee will depend on the number of employees a company has and there are special offers available at present. You can learn more about the program by contacting the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What did I think of life based training?
I can be quite cynical about this kind of thing. In the case of Life Based Learning, however, I think it does have real value.
I think it would force employees to think differently and appreciate just how transferable their skills are. Crucially, I think this could be a great tool for getting managers to see how the skills their staff (be they mums or dads) have developed at home can be used in the workplace.
Endorsement comes from some very high places. A total of 7,000 people have completed the Life Based Learning course and companies who have given staff access to Life Based Learning include household names such as Accenture, Coca Cola and Lavazza to name just some.
I also found the course great fun to study. It’s not often you can say that about workplace training!
Disclosure: This post was produced in association with Life Based Value (previously known as MAAM).