With Coronavirus engulfing the world’s health and economy, one of the hardest-hit sectors is the instructor-led training (ILT) industry. Because the success of an ILT is dependent on the participants being available in a single location and offering their undivided attention, the social distancing norm has had a devastating effect on the ILT industry. In the coming few weeks and months, social distancing is going to become a norm across the globe. So the big question for the ILT enthusiasts is what happens to classroom-based training in the meanwhile?
While many are opting to take their existing ILT content and run it via a conferencing facility, in reality such workarounds only get the task done but not the job. In other words, they do not yield the desired learning results. For instance, in a classroom, if you want to conduct a group activity, it is easy to divide the participants into smaller groups and have them work together. If you try doing that in a conferencing environment, you’ll end up with a fair share of chaos. Similarly, in a classroom, an instructor might just throw a question to the audience and ask them to raise the hand, but in a conference with 30 participants, raising hands in their mini windows is just not effective. There are a plethora of other known ILT strategies that just fail when you take the ILT material and use that as is in a conferencing facility. So, what’s the alternative one might ask?
Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT) to the rescue
The general understanding is that a VILT is just taking an existing ILT and conducting it using a conferencing facility such as Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Adobe Connect and the likes – Nothing could be further from the truth. While the overall format and the kind of training materials used (such as the instructor presentation slides, the participant guide etc.) remain the same, what happens during a VILT can be a whole lot different than an ILT.
So, what is different in a VILT?
If you want optimum results out of your VILT, you will need to rethink the whole training from a different perspective. The VILT content needs to designed and built fully knowing that the audience is going to be separated by time zones, virtual in nature, might have internet snags, may talk over each other a lot, and to top it all – might be shopping online on Amazon, while attending the training.
Therefore, designing a VILT needs specific strategies to be adopted. So, whether you need to convert ILTs to VILTs or design VILTs based on existing source content, you need to be aware of certain strategies.
Presentation Strategy for VILTs
While creating content for a VILT, the learning designer has to decide on the presentation strategy not only by using theappropriate adult learning methodologies but also the features available in the conferencing facility being used.
Engagement Strategy for VILTs
One of the biggest challenges during a VILT session is to ensure that the participants are as engaged in the session as they would be in a classroom. Therefore, the engagement strategies for the learner have to be designed such that there is active participation from all the attendees, and believe me, these engagement strategies are applicable only for a virtual classroom.
Assessment Strategy for VILTs
In a classroom training, you would most likely pass around the assessment sheets or in case of an online assessment you would monitor as the participants take the assessment. However, in a VILT environment, you need to ensure that the assessments are designed such that the results areaccurate and authentic, and they validate their learning retention.
Delivery Strategy for effective VILTs
Choosing the conferencing facilityis as important as the learning strategies.Most organizations make the mistake of buying a conferencing facility primarily for conference calls and extend it to the trainers saying, “oh by the way, you can also use it to conduct a VILT”. Well the problem with it is that some conferencing facilities focus all their energies towards ensuring that they are great tools for just conference calls. However, there are some tools that not only have great features for conference calls but also have several features for conducting VILT sessions. So, if you want to move your ILTs to VILTs, you need to make sure that you are paying for a conferencing facility that provides enough ammo to the trainer to conduct an effective VILT.
Lastly – Having created VILTs that were deployed for 60,000+ employees of a multinational organization with participants from 10 countries across the globe and designed VILT strategies for companies such as Microsoft, I can assure you that designing a VILT course is not just taking an ILT and conducting it using a conferencing facility. There are specific learning and engagement strategies that need to be considered to ensure that you have an effective session. Else, it is like fitting a round peg in a square hole. Even if you do manage to fit it in, there will be gaps around the corners.
Reach out to expert VILT designers at Apposite if you want your ILT to be converted into a VILT with fast turnarounds and flexible budgets.
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.