We’ve been helping organizations adapt and transition to an ever-changing climate for years, but we’ve never seen anything like this before. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the way we all work, and whatever the future holds, that won’t change. Even after the dust settles, 25-30 percent of the workforce will continue to work from home at least one day a week. Like it or not, working remotely is here to stay.
If you’ve already talked training with your team via Zoom, congrats! You’ve already started the switch from instructor-led training (ILT) to virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Going completely virtual can seem expensive and time consuming, but neglecting the switch altogether could result in frustration and lackluster results. Luckily, you don’t need to overhaul your entire training strategy to reconfigure for virtual learning. There are quick swaps and fixes you can use today to ensure your instructor-led training doesn’t go to waste while employees are working from home.
Without the back-and-forth dialog between instructor and student, a direct conversion from ILT to VILT can result in losing learner engagement. While you might not be in the same room, you can repackage ILT so that it offers the opportunity for more connected learner engagement. Whether it’s a post-training Zoom call, a poll to get learner feedback, or even a real-time whiteboard brainstorming session, adding interactivity helps learners stay engaged and on task. Remember that learners are probably craving collaboration, so add activities that give them a chance to chat, discuss, and plan.
Break It Up
Your learners’ stamina at home is nowhere near the stamina they had in the classroom. Without face-to-face interaction and a lack of dedicated learning spaces, your learners are bound to lose focus if your ILT to VILT is simply a recorded video. To make VILT more successful, break it up into bite-sized learning modules that incorporate engagement opportunities. Learners can focus for shorter periods of time without losing out on the content they need. Consider your existing content and find areas where you could scale back, and then naturally break it up into topics. Then, utilize post-training materials for learners to practice concepts without being glued to their screens for hours on end.
Train Your Trainers
Your facilitators might struggle with the new virtual learning curve. Take the time to train them on how to properly facilitate a virtual learning approach. They’re used to being face-to-face with their students, which means that some of the new virtual training technology might be foreign to them. Try running a few mock sessions before you’re ready to launch a new VILT initiative. That way you can identify gaps and pain points beforehand. Facilitators may also need pointers on delivery methods and how to interact with learners on- and off-screen, whether it’s during a chat, video call, email, or follow-up communication. Better prepared facilitators and moderators can help smooth out some of the bumps for a seamless ILT to VILT transition.
You’re definitely dealing with a new frontier in eLearning. If you used to rely on instructor-led training, it can feel like all your hard work is unusable with your workforce at home. But you can still use what you have as you pivot from ILT to VILT. You’ll find that with some creativity and flexibility, most of your content can be repackaged in a fresh, deliverable, and interactive way. Whether most of your employees continue working from home or you’re lucky enough to welcome them back, converting ILT to VILT means deftly adapting to a brave new (work) world.