Virtual Learning - Is it time to give it a try?
The technology for interactive and engaging learning exists, but some organizations have been slow to adapt to this type of learning. Given the recent COVID-19 outbreak, it seems like a great time to give it a try.
I have been designing and facilitating virtual sessions for over 8 years and have concluded that if it is done well, the virtual classroom can be upwards of 85% as effective (sometimes more) as classroom training. Please note there are some situations when classroom is definitely preferable, for example, when you are trying to build strong relationships between participants or covering a sensitive topic. These situations aside, virtual learning can be a VERY effective way to develop talent.
There are several keys to ensuring success: the right technology solution, the right design and the right facilitator.
Let’s start with technology. If you are trying to build skills and keep participants engaged, you must have a technology solution that is going to allow for structured chats, polls and breakouts (at a minimum). On the other hand, if you are just pushing information out similar to a meeting, then your technology options can be very basic (and then it really isn't a learning solution).
The right design. Designing a virtual learning solution is much more than taking classroom slides/exercises and putting them in a technology platform. It is designing the learning specifically for virtual and leveraging the technology solutions to best deliver and engage participants. With the sense of urgency COVID-19 has brought on, to start you may need a quick solution vs. an optimal solution. In this case, you may settle temporarily if you need to get content to your employees but know that it may not result in the retention and skill building you may be looking for.
Finally, virtual facilitation is quite different than classroom facilitation. Identifying facilitators who are verbally engaging and can manage the dynamics of the virtual environment is essential. If you don't have the luxury of experienced virtual facilitators, allow your classroom facilitators to conduct pilot sessions to practice their delivery and manage the technology. Another option is to hire a "host" to take care of the technology side and allow your facilitators to focus on just facilitating.
Terrible virus threats or not, exploring virtual learning provides many benefits including reduced travel time/costs, elimination of venue costs and so much more. If you have experienced good virtual learning, you know how effective it can be. If you haven't, then work with us to learn more. If your organization is ready to try out virtual learning let us help you start with an engaging and impactful learning solution!
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