Successful Virtually Delivered Training Is Dependent On…
Many organizations are using virtually delivered training programs due to companies’ widespread geographic locations and the just-in-time nature of delivery that the synchronous platforms allow. Unfortunately, not many organizations are doing it well. At a minimum, there are three key components for successful virtually delivered training. None is more important than another – all must be created, tested, and executed to perfection. The good news is: all are completely within your control.
Many organizations are moving what used to be delivered in a classroom to an online format. This requires translating concepts and content into a new format. The face-to-face class simply cannot be replicated in the online environment, so it is important to make critical decisions about what to keep, what to distribute in another way (such as reading or an e-learning module), and what to deliver in another way (such as on-the-job coaching).
Virtually delivered training, by default, is blended learning. There is no way around it. Not everything can be delivered successfully in a synchronous online environment, nor should it be. For example, reading a case study might be done during 5 minutes in the face to face class, but it is not a good use of online time. Therefore the case study should be read at another time (what to distribute in another way). Doing some work asynchronously (independently) and some work together, during the online session, is the very definition of blended learning.
Material are critical in the online environment. These include slides, because it is very visually oriented delivery medium; Participant Guides, because very often a learner will be the sole individual enrolled in a class at his/her location, and the learner needs some sort of reference material or supporting documentation in order to follow along in the class; and scripted Facilitator Guides to ensure the training achieves the intended learning outcomes while ending in the allotted time (virtual, online training is very tightly timed).
Most especially, when it comes to slides, get rid of the PPT templates, get rid of the bullets, and create visual, engaging “canvases” for creating.
Luckily, the technology is rather fool-proof these days unless something is done that purposefully interferes with its operation. Like most physical skills, using the technology only gets better with practice. A best-practice is to always rehearse the delivery one or two days in advance of the scheduled class. No matter how many times a facilitator has delivered the same session, it’s always a good idea to practice it –in the synchronous environment – to be comfortable with the tools, their location, their execution, and their results (e.g. does it look better to highlight a particular piece of text, or underline it?).
Creating and re-designing training to be delivered via a virtual technology can be a daunting task. There are many details to be aware of and manage. If you find yourself being overwhelmed, concentrate on these three things and you will more than ensure your success.