Here are the three most common misconceptions that learning professionals have when rolling out virtual classrooms in their organizations.
One of the biggest things that people miss when delivering online training and learning is that people tend to aim too big, deterring them from achieving their desired results. In our webinar with Jo Cook, Jo advises to start where your skills and experiences already are. Focus on the skills you have already and how you want to facilitate the learning discussions and the activities in your sessions.
One example of this would be using the chat function.
Everyone’s technology levels are different, so starting small increases the likelihood that more people will be open to using something they are already familiar with. Ultimately, the small wins with technology will grow more confidence with using new and more advanced technology.
But no matter what you do, your learning strategy should start with the business goals first, and then you can delve into the technology part.
For this, Jo suggests using Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping Approach. This method involves everyone focusing on what people actually do at work, allowing you to better explain how technology applies to your learning plans and online delivery.
Remember, your learning design and facilitation skills that you use for your live training sessions can be transferred over to your virtual training sessions.
Online training still requires:
- course material preparation
- participation from attendees
- awareness if concepts are being well received and understood
Keep in mind, however, that there are differences between these two types of training methods which require different approaches and considerations. Take it from Jo, who recommends to “start thinking about your design like you do for face-to-face.”
In the end, use your existing skills and adapt them to what technology can offer.
Think about it. Children of today are possibly the first and only generation (thus far) to learn completely online. For the rest of us, a live classroom may bring about nostalgic feelings of silently sitting in a room with our peers, listening to our instructor and taking notes, and maybe some of us eagerly looking at the clock, desperately waiting for the hour to end.
No matter your personal feelings about live classroom sessions, the fact of the matter is they are no longer a viable (or safe) option for our learners.
Although traditional training has its strengths, there was always room for improvement.
As Jo says in the webinar, “an overused strength can be a weakness.”
There are many benefits for both the business and the learner when it comes to virtual classrooms, but many providers are still missing the mark when it comes to an effective virtual classroom session.
Why? Because many still maintain the belief that a virtual classroom is still a physical classroom, just online. This past year has proved that this is not the most optimal way to approach digital training.
This mindset prevents you from experiencing the great advantages of having technology at your disposal. Moving from face-to-face to digital is not as easy as flipping a switch, but there are ways to get started.
One example Jo references in her webinar is the use of a chat window in a virtual session. This way, the participants can exchange ideas and share information without interrupting the session. In a physical classroom, this would not be considered proper classroom etiquette, and could also be interpreted as rude and disruptive.
You also have more options for classroom engagement by having the facilitator ask the group to put their answers to a question in chat without anyone being left out or being spoken over.
By holding on to this idea of “virtual sessions are just classrooms, only online”, you’ll be missing out on the various opportunities for engagement – giving the attendees the best possible session and our facilitators the opportunity to hold the best possible session.
Those working in L&D many years know that driving organizational change in the workplace is no easy feat. There are many obstacles to overcome in order to position learning a strategic asset for the business.
Luckily, you don’t need to take on this challenge alone!
Digital transformation leaders such as Speexx or Lightbulb Moment have the knowledge and experience to help you provide the most effective virtual training that meets your specific needs.
Not sure where to start? Working with an experienced partner removes any mystery around technology or gives you the advantage of bridging the digital knowledge gap without roadblocks.
Whether you decide to partner with an expert or if you outsource to other internal teams, Jo offers the following tips:
- Be clear with where you are and where you want to be.
- Focus on the business needs.
- Define behavior change and don’t forget the resources you already have at your disposal.
- Know your budget. This will determine what resources are available to you at the time.
- Know the timing. You know your staff’s needs the best. Use your own knowledge and experience to recommend what time of day and how long sessions should be for your employees.
- Look for vendors who have specialized in online training and delivery before 2020. Remember, Zoom and Teams usage increased significantly during the pandemic. Those claiming to be experts in these software products might not have as much experience as they claim.