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Tuesday 19 May 20

The Takeaway4 Things to Transform 'Death by Webinar' into Engaging Virtual Training

These Four Characteristics Transforms 'Death by Webinar' into Engaging Virtual Training

Since the introduction of social distancing, there is a vast amount of marketing around virtual training and eLearning hitting people's inbox.

This stuff has been around for a long time, but never more relevant or appealing than in a world where we cannot physically be in the same room as one another.

People's opinions are very divided as to whether it is as good, better or worse than face to face training, and this is primarily dictated by experience or assumption, in that some people have engaged with it before and others are just imagining what it is like to train virtually.

Good Quality Training

As with most things, there is a certain amount of personal preference involved, as well as a bit of resistance to change when looking at this, but again, as with most things, it comes down to skill, experience and ultimately quality.

Virtual training can be delivered well, averagely or poorly, and this is the facet that is most likely to form early opinions.

This article will show you what to look for when trying to achieve good virtual training and what you should be expecting from your providers...

What do we mean by 'Virtual Training'?

For the article, we define Virtual Training as 'live, instructor-led learning sessions for groups of learners that seeks to give as much value as the comparable time in a training room', i.e. a training session moved from the training room to an online training or meeting platform.

Death by webinar is becoming increasingly common. With this, you start to lose the ability to read body language and trainers are less likely to be able to see confusion or disengagement in the group, so here are the things that you need to be looking for:

  • Accessibility - People may be better at reading or listening, most virtual platforms nowadays have the option to print live subtitles automatically on the screen, so if someone has a noisy background then they can still see what is said. Additionally, introverted people may not be as confident to interrupt a webinar to ask questions. Sending the learning materials sooner before the course so people can send in questions beforehand is crucial along with stopping the session regularly to ask for questions and allowing people to use the text chat function to log questions as the session progresses. This way, everyone should feel comfortable and get the learning that they need.

  • Mimic the Training Room - People cannot sit for any longer on a virtual session than they can in a training room; it tends to be less time. So build in considerable and frequent breaks to the session, allow people to go for a walk around the block, use the bathroom, make a drink etc. Energy levels must still be maintained. Additionally, you can often use the platform to split the learners into different 'rooms' so that they can undertake group work. They can also create shared documents to do their exercises and share them back with the wider group through screen share. There are many good tools for bringing exercises to life in the virtual forum, so ensure that your provider knows them and uses them; otherwise, the session becomes a lecture.

  • Same Rules Apply - What is boring in a training room is just as dull in a virtual environment, so having a 1000 slide slideshow is still a bad move. Instead, people should have an accompanying workbook with some of the content in it so that they can read that themselves alongside the session and do not have to sit and watch a never-ending presentation.

  • Creativity - Exercises need to be adapted, and as with training rooms, you need to give learners the space to get creative. At the same time, learning some of the functionality on platforms allows for screen drawing and link sharing, so that learners can create and share their learning in the forum as opposed to just be talked at for hours.

These are just some of the essential ingredients to making virtual learning work for your company and everyone in it. It is by no means an exhaustive list, more the starting points that you should be looking for.

We will share some more advanced tools next week.

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