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Virtual training is an effective new way to train … as long as learners are ready to engage with the new training environment. Today’s Advisor presents part one of a two-part series in which we hear from one expert on virtual learning.
When making the move to virtual training, “we, as trainers, often get caught up with what we need to do to prepare,” says Cindy Huggett, training consultant and author of Virtual Training Basics (www.cindyhuggett.com).
However, it is important to keep in mind that while virtual training is a new way for trainers to train, it is “a new way for learners to learn as well.” As a result, trainers need to prepare learners to thrive in a virtual training environment.
In an article for our sister publication, Training Forum, Huggett offers three suggestions to help ensure that virtual training will be effective.
- “Define what you mean by virtual training. There are so many different definitions out there.”
- “Be very purposeful about your design,” she says. “What are the learning objectives, and what is the best way to accomplish them?”
- Make sure learners are familiar with the technology before training begins; that they understand “what learning online is going to be like”; and that they know how to minimize distractions.
“I’m a big fan of having a kickoff session,” that is, a 20- to 30-minute prerequisite session to be completed before training actually begins, Huggett says. That helps familiarize learners with the content and the technology (e.g., learning how to submit questions, respond to poll questions). If they are new to the technology, they will experience what it is like to be in an online class.”
She also suggests giving learners tips in advance to minimize disruptions during training, such as going to a reserved conference room alone to participate in the training. A checklist can be an effective tool, as well; and that can be as simple as instructing learners to set their phone to “do not disturb,” turn their daily to-do list face down on their desk, and hang a “do not disturb” sign on their office door and ask them to enforce it, she says.
Why It Matters
- As more and more Americans get into social media, they will become more open to learning in a social media environment at work.
- As the economy continues to sputter, your employer may have less money to devote to training—and virtual training is inherently less expensive than face-to- face training.
- As younger generations, who’ve grown up with social media and mobile technologies, move into your workforce, you’ll be ready to train them in formats they know well.