Head of Learning and Experience Insights Learning and Development
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How learning and development can pivot to virtual delivery

Don't let the shift to home working stop you from equipping your employees with the skills they need to better support the business. Below are some tips to help you effectively transition to virtual training delivery.

6th Apr 2020
Head of Learning and Experience Insights Learning and Development
Blogger
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Virtual training delivery
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The world – and, for most of us, the world of work – has changed beyond all recognition. The spread of the coronavirus has placed severe limitations on the way we live our lives. What it might all mean for our families, loved ones and communities in the longer term is anyone’s guess. 

This unfolding health crisis will prove to be one of the defining moments of our careers and in the lives of our businesses, too. While we all observe the lockdown measures, which aim to combat the contagion, we still face important choices about how we respond – and what positive steps we can take. 

With colleagues doing their best to work from home, educate children and juggle dozens of other practicalities, there are lots of things that will prove tricky for a newly remote workforce. Worldwide, learning and development practitioners are facing challenges too – particularly those who rely on delivering training programmes face-to-face. 

The great news is that well-targeted and engaging online personal development and training delivery is possible. In fact it might be the perfect time to upskill colleagues and business leaders. 

To help you pivot at speed to virtual-first delivery, we have outlined below some of the key things to consider:

Interactive features like virtual whiteboards, polls and chatbots can really add to a high-quality experience. 

Be clear about what can be delivered 

Delivering online is very different to face-to-face, so shorten sessions to focus on key takeaways. Be clear on what can be achieved in the time available and how you will follow up. You might find it more helpful to your learners to offer a programme of shorter sessions over a couple of weeks.

Get the right tech ready

Think carefully about what you will need to deliver a successful learning experience. Inappropriate tech, or poor tech support, will be disheartening for participants and will not encourage engagement. Interactive features like virtual whiteboards, polls and chatbots can really add to a high-quality experience. 

Have the right people in place

Facilitators typically work alone when they deliver face-to-face, but tech support is crucial for a seamless online training experience. An online producer will help you to deliver a slick and technically sound experience and enable you to fully exploit all that extra functionality – while you concentrate on perfect delivery.

Let learners know what to expect

It’s helpful to set learners’ expectations for your sessions in advance. Consider sharing a scene-setting video ahead of your virtual classes or circulating other pre-event materials or useful digital assets that will enhance the learning. Think about what you might share after your session too, and how that could reinforce learning. 

Invest in your tools

The many distractions in our digital lives make it so much easier to disengage from virtual training. We find that asking people to contribute, through interactive tools like whiteboards and polls, requires learners to hold their focus – so be prepared to invest in the tools which will help you keep people engaged, create impact and wow your customers and their learners. 

Video cams help, too. Participants are much less likely to be distracted if they can be seen by others!

Experienced and skilled classroom facilitators might think that their skills will naturally translate to the virtual environment, but this isn’t always the case.

Give your people all they need 

Facilitators will still need notes, tools and scripts to deliver their sessions. Your digital producer might need prompts to activate your tools and examples at the right times. Practitioners will need all the same support materials – plus perhaps a few more – for effective virtual delivery.

Challenge perceptions

Experienced and skilled classroom facilitators might think that their skills will naturally translate to the virtual environment, but this isn’t always the case.

Delivering well online is different. Some of your colleagues might need help as they move to a new way of working, so consider a programme of internal training and upskilling too. Learn from other companies who execute virtual delivery really well – what could you build upon for your own delivery?

Consider different learning styles

Each learner is an individual, with a different personality and their own learning patterns. Make sure your classes include teaching styles and exercises that appeal to different preferences. This might include both reflective tasks and more interactive, engaging sections, for instance.

By tailoring your delivery to the needs of your learners you will help them to be more engaged and more successful. 

 

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