30 April 2020

Make the transition to virtual training events

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As the events of the past few months continue to reshape the business world, the need to provide learning for employees has remained constant. Closing the office building doesn’t mean closing the door on learning: millions of workers around the world are entering the virtual classroom. As people adapt to the new challenges posed by remote working, the need to learn is perhaps more pressing than ever.

As a learning and development professional, how do you maintain continuity for your organisation and preserve the culture of face-to-face learning events as they all start to move online? All of a sudden you’ve become a remote facilitator who has to engage and educate remotely distributed learners - so what do you need to adapt to make this work?

Here are our top tips on keeping the momentum going for learning, and making the switch from physical to virtual classrooms as smooth as possible. 

Make the best use of your LMS

An important way to make the virtual classroom feel like a physical one is to gather your colleagues in a proper learning environment: your learning management system. By running learning events through your LMS, you can easily create events and send participants invitations (by integrating a webinar platform like Zoom), and even track attendance.

What’s more, you can use your LMS to add even more supplemental texture to your modules, if you haven’t already. Think of the classroom session as one part of a whole: you can send out helpful documents that learners can use to prepare or review, set quizzes and evaluations, and provide other learning content that helps draw the most out of what you’re teaching. Make the learning experience valuable and engaging for your employees, and they’ll be raring to get started every session.

Plan, plan, plan

You wouldn’t start a lesson in the classroom without being fully prepared for it, so don’t think you can roll out of bed, boot up your computer, and deliver a first-class lesson without getting suitably ready! As a successful online facilitator, your success relies heavily on how much work you put in before the learning event. 

There’s plenty you can do ahead of the virtual learning event, for yourself and your learners, to ensure that you can hit the ground running when it starts. For instance, make a detailed lesson plan beforehand to help guide the session. You can also take stock of who’ll be attending the lesson: make surveys available beforehand to get to know how well people know one another, and what they want to gain from the event. Prepare a list of delegates to make sure everybody’s taken part, and to take notes on what each individual has shared, so you can refer to it later on, and get everybody more involved. On a practical level, you can also check with delegates whether they have used the virtual platform before, and any help they need with accessing it.

It’s also helpful to share an agenda in advance. That way, people who might need a bit more time to absorb information have a chance to do so before starting the class, and can ask you questions when needed. By setting a clear timetable, online facilitators can stir up excitement for their lessons and get everyone comfortable with learning in the virtual sphere.

Get interactive

Potentially the most important way to facilitate learning well in an online learning event is to make sure the content is interactive. Remember, you’re running a virtual classroom, not a one-way webinar. Online or in the classroom, people learn best when they interact. Don’t just give your students a lecture, but rather get them to take part and engage fully with what you’re teaching. 

Not only should you design engaging course materials, but you should encourage participants to actively engage with your content and with each other. A rough target is to get your learners to take part in some activity every four minutes, be that a quiz, an online break-out room, a shared whiteboard, or even just a quick coffee and chat break!

Make the most of the online toolkit you have on your LMS and webinar platform to create meaningful interactions with colleagues. Encourage them to learn by doing too, through role-play, buddying up and by mentoring them yourself on a one-to-one basis during the lesson. 

Keeping learners active and interested in what’s going on means they’ll be less likely to be distracted and disengage.

Keep learning on track, online

As both trainers and employees move to the virtual classroom, it’s those who realise that it’s still possible to harness the value of face-to-face learning in the online classroom who will have the competitive advantage. 

When you, as an online facilitator, can modify your classroom content for an online space using your LMS and webinar platforms, prepare properly for each session, and create an engaging and interactive environment for your learners, then learning can happen as well as it did in the office -- perhaps even better!

Eager to get started? Here at Breeio we’ve always been committed to helping learning and development professionals flourish, and even though the world is rapidly changing, that goal remains the same. We’re leading the charge on equipping L&D leaders with the equipment and advice needed to succeed in this new environment.

Click here to see how we’ve integrated with webinar services like Zoom to make facilitating online learning events easy.