In the current environment, we are working with a number of clients to quickly convert instructor-led training (ILT) workshops into online or virtual instructor-led (VILT) learning experiences. Since this conversion is going on in many organizations, we thought we’d share some of our insights:
1. Keep the technology simple. If you’re attempting to reach a learner population with varied levels of experience in online learning, make it easy for them to like it.
2. Focus on the learner and learning experience. Use basic engagement techniques like polling, chat, Q&A and simple games.
3. Don’t feel like you have to match the time length of the in-person learning experience. Take a fresh look at the content and learning activities and be open to reducing both to accommodate the virtual delivery.
4. Include “off-line” work that is completed by the learner outside of the live, online environment. Reading, watching pre-recorded videos, completing worksheets and other activities can occur before and in-between the live, instructor-led sessions.
5. Involve a three-person team in development and delivery. Have a technical person who can focus on the delivery platform and technology, the instructor – facilitator to focus on content, and an instructional designer/producer who can focus on making the learning experience engaging and valuable.
6. Deliver a course segment or the entire learning experience to a sample of real learners as soon as possible and capture feedback. Don’t invest too much time tweaking, revising and updating without the learners in the picture. Make revisions and continue to evolve the learning experience using the context of learner feedback.
Beyond converting the course, here are some additional considerations:
7. Create a course microsite with all of the context, content and links in one place for the learner. Ideally, this would be in a learning management system (LMS).
8. Include a pre- and post-course assessment to ensure the learning experience is achieving the desired learning outcomes. Provide a digital certificate or badge for successful completion.
9. Provide job aids or post training follow ups to reinforce key behaviors and to increase the transfer of learning to improve on the job performance.
The good news about intensely converting an ILT to a VILT is that you will create a model for other courses and workshops to follow. Everyone involved in the process will be more prepared for the growing need for quality VILT learning experiences beyond the current urgent need.