How to Convert Your Live Instructor-Led Training to Virtual E-Learning
Never before has there been more urgency to transition live learning events to virtual. For some, this has been a strategy on a future "to do" list. For others, it's an immediate to keep events scheduled and business running.
Virtual Training Defined
There are many working definitions out there for virtual training. It is most commonly defined as "training that is done in a virtual or simulated environment or when the learner and the instructor are in separate locations." Virtual training may be done synchronously (in real-time) or asynchronously (on-demand or recorded). These methods may be combined together for a more robust learning experience.
Best Practices for an Effective Transition to Virtual
If you are used to delivering your training in a live classroom, converting this material to virtual may seem daunting, time-consuming, and expensive. In actuality, the process of transitioning and implementing virtual training makes learning more accessible, scalable, and economical in the long-run.
You may be asking yourself if all live, in-person content may be converted to virtual. The answer is yes—most content can. All you need is the right tools, technology, and some out-of-the-box thinking.
Here are some tips to help you accelerate the process:
Assess and Structure Course Content: An 8-hour class that is typically delivered inside the classroom will not follow the same format in a virtual environment. Look at the course content to determine the best delivery methods for each segment. Consider all methods available to you: lecture, on-demand, group discussion/exercises, role-play, etc.
Champion Stakeholders: The key to adoption is stakeholder buy-in. Your stakeholders include senior business leaders and learners. Take the time to put forth a well thought out plan for converting events to virtual and then present to management. Consider their feedback in your final plan and then reach out to learners. Communication is key. Set learning expectations, create excitement about the transition to virtual, and again, solicit their feedback. Getting everyone fully on-board and feeling positive about the transition will set you up for success.
Instructor/Facilitator Preparation: Many ILT instructors can transition to virtual easily. All it takes is a little creativity and consideration for the delivery environment. Facilitators need not be extremely tech-savvy, however, they should feel comfortable and open to the technology. At a minimum, instructors will need to consider how they will deliver content through a virtual environment. They will need to be aware of virtual communication etiquette and know how to navigate the virtual communication technology to interact effectively with remote participants.
Virtual Events Provide Value
Don't think of switching to virtual as a contingency plan. Rather, there are many benefits that virtual events offer to your company and participants. Embrace these benefits and create excitement and positivity about the switch.
- Reduced Costs: Delivering events virtually lowers operating costs and makes managing events easier.
- Expanded Reach: Since participants don't need to travel to events or need accommodations, you may include more participants from geographically dispersed locations to your sessions.
- Reduced Carbon Footprint: Again, because people are training from home, think about how you are helping to reduce the global carbon footprint and helping to create a more sustainable economy.
Must-Have Technology and Tools
The good news is that there is an abundance of technology, tools, and resources to help you transition live events to virtual. Here are some important considerations.
- Bandwidth: Bandwidth and network speed are critical. The person delivering the learning content should do so from a location that has a solid network. Work with a company that offers venues with dedicated, high-speed connections that will ensure virtual events will be delivered smoothly.
- Virtual Collaboration Technology: The instructor should deliver content through a feature-rich platform that provides the proper teaching tools, presentation options, and two-way interaction needed for a robust learning experience.
- Virtual Learning Labs: Cloud-based labs are a powerful way to deliver hands-on technical or application training. Accessed via a standard web browser, each cloud-based training environment offers the exact specifications and software your learners need. Instructors are even able to observe and assist via an "over-the-shoulder" view for one-to-one, hands-on guidance. Because virtual learning labs are deployed in the cloud, there is no IT investment on the client's part, and sessions can be hosted by multiple instructors in different locations.
- Technical Support: Technology and tools are useless unless properly supported. It's important there be proper tech support in place to prepare instructors and learners for the virtual event and also monitor the event to ensure it runs smoothly and without difficulty.
A Company that Can Help You With the Transition
Thankfully you don't have to go it alone in your switch to virtual. Companies like Attune are here to help with dedicated virtual origination venues, virtual collaboration tools, and virtual training labs. Attune can help you plan for virtual delivery and provide you with a tech and support team to ensure a successful virtual training program.