In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations are now transitioning to a “working from home” model; a serious consideration to “learning from home” is imperative. In this article, I show you how to create highly impactful virtual trainings.
What Is Virtual Training?
Virtual Training shouldn’t be confused with online training or distance learning.
L&D professionals deliver Virtual Training using simulated learning environments. Instructors and learners connect remotely, and training occurs using a combination of these sessions and self-paced trainings that leverage strategies, such as Simulation, Gamification, 3D, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented VR.
However, the prevailing trend to transition to Virtual Training is a journey, where the elements of training gradually shift from primarily Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and, ultimately, to a fully self-paced training model.
What Are the Key Benefits of Virtual Training?
- Flexibility: Learn when/where you want (especially from home!).
- Scalability: Supports learning needs of small as well as expanding, large remote workforce.
- Adaptability: Is available on multiple learning devices, platforms, and operating environments.
- Customization: Is easily configurable for different roles/responsibilities.
- Personalization: Delivers unique training for each learner as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Cross-generational workforce support: Boomers, Gen-X’ers/Y’ers, and Millennials can each create unique learning paths to support their individual learning styles.
Why Is Virtual Training an Imperative Now?
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, employers are responding by changing their work paradigms to embrace greater work-from-home models. As a result, the L&D teams are looking at how to deliver their training programs remotely.
In the context of this new reality, where physical distance between learners and instructors is the hallmark, Virtual Training offers the ideal solution. Why? Because it blends perfectly with the objectives that distance/on-demand/remote learning seeks to achieve.
As work-life moves (or attempts to move) back to a semblance of normality, organizations that have a well-thought-out Virtual Training strategy in place will have an edge over the competition.
In this article, I outline what approaches or strategies will help you convert your ILT Program to high-impact Virtual Training.
What Possible Approaches or Strategies Can Be Used to Deliver Highly Impactful Virtual Training?
Implementing highly engaging and impactful Virtual Training requires a phased approach.
Here are 5 approaches to consider on the journey to transitioning from ILT to fully self-paced online learning:
- Move ILT to VILT: You can transition from a 100% face-to-face session to Virtual Training where the session is delivered by the instructor virtually.
- You could opt for a 100% conversion.
- Sometimes, you may need to retain crucial parts of it for the face-to-face session.
- Enrich and enhance VILT: You can offer interactions and collaboration through platforms as you transition from ILT to Virtual Training in the VILT mode.
- These could include polling questions, break-out group tasks, virtual chats, virtual discussions, and so on.
- You could further enrich the session by offering online resources (prior to and post the VILT sessions).
- You can retain the connect between learners and with the Instructor through virtual forums.
- Repurpose VILT sessions: Once the Virtual Training (VILT session) is completed, its recording can be made available to the learners so that they can review and reuse it at their own pace.
- You can re-purpose the longer duration session recordings into a series of Microlearning nuggets by adding Intros, Outros, and Assessments.
- Not only does this approach make the learning shorter and bite-sized, these nuggets can be SCORM compliant.
- With this approach, you can track the learner’s progress. Based on the assessment scores, personalized feedback can be provided to the learners.
- Deliver Blended Learning: You also have the option to blend VILT with self-paced online training (Mobile Learning). This enables learners with a greater control of their learning journey.
- Transition to fully Self-paced training: Today, you have a wide range of options to offer Virtual Training by going fully online and offer completely self-paced training, in a Mobile Learning format.
- You can opt for its more traditional format (Macrolearning) or a series of shorter, bite-sized Microlearning.
- Furthermore, you can opt for Rapid/Semi-custom/Fully custom approaches for development to match your budget and the desired learning experience.
- Make sure to leverage on different learning strategies that create sticky learning and facilitate effective application – including customized learning plans, frequent progress check-ins, review and recall elements, and learning analytics-driven counseling and support.
Are There Any Tips That Can Help You Enhance the Impact of ILT to Virtual Training Conversion?
As highlighted earlier, the transition from a fully ILT training model to Virtual Training is a progressive journey – one that begins with assessing your Virtual Training-readiness.
Here are 4 tips that you can use:
Virtual Training isn’t just about digitizing existing training materials, and then hosting them on an eLearning platform. A good first step would, therefore, include a learning assets audit to determine which of those assets L&D professionals may easily leverage for the transition and which ones require major revamping.
Also, consider Virtual Training tools and technologies, including hosting infrastructure (bandwidth, local server-hosted vs. cloud-based) and supporting systems, such as Course Management Systems (CMS), LMS, and Learning Experience Platforms (LXP).
Finally, because Virtual Training is likely a brand new training paradigm for you, it’s important that you invest in training everyone – L&D professionals, Instructors, SMEs, Tech Support, and course Administrators – before rolling out your Virtual Training initiatives.
There are a range of options to choose from as you convert your ILT training to VILT. If you want to achieve this conversion quickly, you can opt for Rapid development. Based on the budget and the timeline of conversion, you can look at Agile, Semi-custom, or fully custom options.
To summarize, the journey from ILT to VILT is way more than putting the existing trainer PowerPoint decks online. Only a well-thought-out transition plan will resonate with your learners and help you achieve your terminal learning objectives. I hope my article gives you the insights that you can use in this journey.
If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.
- Free Webinar: COVID-19 – A Survival Guide For L&D Teams – Featuring Tips, Strategies & An Action Plan To Handle The Challenge
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