We have been spending a lot of time recently reworking our training & development programmes to ensure they work just as effectively in a virtual world.
The first major component is to understand how we can ensure that learning is actually taking place as effectively in a virtual setting, and how we can measure this. We have shared a detailed article about this here: How we adapted our learning and development programmes for online delivery.
Another important component to learning is the logistics of it and the tools we have to use, and whether or not they are a hindrance or a help when it comes to effective learning.
Below are some of the new considerations.
The logistics of online training
- What devices are people using?
- Do they have the space at home or are they hiding away in a broom cupboard?
- Does everyone have good wifi?
- Do they need a microphone and does it work?
- Do they need 2 screens to work effectively?
In an online space, learners will need information delivered to them in smaller chunks and will need more breaks from screen-time and sitting stationary. How can we facilitate this in an organised way?
Depending on the format of the learning delivery, it is important to work out the etiquette of the virtual space. You probably don’t plan much for this in a face-to-face environment – most of us can work out how to behave in a group setting, but how do you facilitate this online? For example, do you turn all microphones & cameras off when the trainer is speaking?
Roles & facilitation
The roles & help needed for online training may differ slightly to a face-to-face setting. For example, we have introduced a facilitator (presenter) role and a moderator (host) role to our training programmes to ensure that we don’t get hit by a technology fail – the best way to lose engagement in a session!
For us at Brightstone, these roles have been assigned to manage the breakout rooms, scheduling, timing, muting/unmuting of mic’s etc, Q&A sessions, and allowed the training programme to run smoothly and seamlessly without interrupting the presenter.
Is sitting and staring at a screen all day going to be the most effective way to learn?
We know it can feel good to have something tangible to engage with, so we have found it helpful on some of our programmes to post our workbooks for participants to engage with physically. This helps to cut down screen time a little, and it has been an opportunity for us to get creative with other ways to deliver information, other than via printable paper.
Video clips have also really helped us to bring sessions to life and demonstrate some real-life examples, particularly in the absence of face-to-face experiences. The use of breakout rooms, polls and other interactive tools have really added texture to our sessions and helped our delegates to interact and participate almost physically.
It’s important to consider accessibility for all participants. Can users with visual, auditory or mobility impairments access the virtual learning environment? Do we need to make any adaptations to ensure accessibility doesn’t inhibit learning for anyone?
Online Meeting Tools
During 2020, online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams & Adobe Connect have unsurprisingly skyrocketed in use and we have made use of a combination of all of them to their fullest potential.
At Brightstone, we have found Adobe Connect particularly helpful as it offers lots of additional features which have helped us to meet lots of these new considerations and have helped us to evaluate our training as we went along.
Adobe Connect features we have utilised for our programmes
- Interactive Virtual polls throughout the sessions to keep people engaged and get immediate reactionary feedback.
- Virtual actions such as laugh, raise hand or applause, allow users to interact and engage without disrupting or distracting the room
- Virtual whiteboards to help visualising easier
- Engagement dashboard – if you really want to get fancy, it has an engagement dashboard which monitors the engagement of participants based on their interactions, and gives you real-time feedback on how delivery may be being received
- Breakout rooms with random assignment or pre-organised breakout groups.
- Assigning roles – you can have facilitators and moderators which are assigned roles in Adobe so they can manage the breakouts or polls for you.
We know there are lots of other awesome tools out there too and will be keeping our technology hats on to make sure we don’t miss out on any useful tools for future programmes.
Get started with your development programme today
If you have been considering a development programme for your business, there is no reason not to get in touch and get started now. Our adaptations and experiences in the last year have given us absolute confidence that we can deliver the same level of learning in an online setting, and we have the tools to measure this and provide a quantifiable return on investment.