Is virtual learning the new normal?
What does Covid-19 mean for the way you develop your people? Not just now but in future, once the pandemic has passed?
Businesses are already adapting to the new ‘normal’, with whole teams working from home. Face-to-face learning has (temporarily) gone out the window. Virtual learning has stepped through the door. But with less time to create content for your specific platform, can you take an existing program and simply facilitate it online? Wilson Learning invited our most experienced facilitators to join globally-recognised expert Dr Michael Leimbach on a virtual panel, to discuss precisely that.
Their verdict? Yes, but keep things engaging and impactful. Here are their top tips for using technology to achieve the results you want.
1. Mix things up
Catch and hold each learner’s attention with different activities. Ask people to ‘raise hands’ and call on individuals to contribute, then use chat/whiteboard functions for discussions, and polls to generate a quick-time response. Breakout rooms enable groups to work collectively, while a Twitter hashtag encourages comments to be shared.
2. Keep it snappy and clear
How do you stop learners checking out? Keep your main points succinct and presentations, questions and directions short and clear. Create a challenging pace. Online, you can’t take three minutes to tell a story: use digital storytelling, with lively visuals, instead.
3. Use real-work situations
Learners are usually in their own workspace. Make the most of their access to real-time information in live exercises: teach a tool that can be immediately applied. Encourage them to share what they did with others, especially if the learning spans several sessions.
4. Create a comfortable experience
Not everyone ‘likes’ online learning. The result? Distractions and delays. Address any issues ahead of time and line up tech support on the day. If you’re facilitating, ensure you know your platform and have a ‘Plan B’ should things go wrong.
5. Take a break – often
Take short breaks or risk losing learners to distractions. Five to 10 minutes every 60-90 minutes (free or combined with activities) will keep their focus sharp and your learning on track.
6. Use all the time you have
How do you create a lasting change in performance? By supporting learners in and, crucially, between and after sessions. Integrate the learning into their daily work environment, using real-life experiences, practice and technology to deepen its effect. Involve managers with tips for coaching and support.