How to be ready to deliver more and better virtual classes ?
By Jonathan Mohadeb the 9 July 2020
Most statistics we read today about post-pandemic learning strategies concur with this statement: companies will keep increasing their virtual class training offering for their employees.
In a previous post we described various reasons for this to happen. We cannot say it is just because of the pandemic! There’s so many other advantages we already knew and maybe value even more today… So, face-to-face is gradually coming back but also virtual class will keep growing.
Are we ready to take the challenge of growing our capabilities to deliver exponentially rising numbers of effective virtual classes? Being a good cook does not mean that you are ready to feed a whole city: there’s a giant leap when you want to multiply your production by five, fifty or more without compromising your quality… And by the way, you will also want to bulletproof your quality before going this big…
Let’s create a checklist of keys to success when increasing our capabilities to deliver more (and more effective) virtual classes. If you’re reading this, you’re either an L&D stakeholder (you’re responsible of other people’s learning) or an L&D provider. I am certain that this list applies to both cases.
Spoiler alert: this list is not complete; I’ve only covered 4 points. I invite you to discover and share more keys in the comments section.
- Ensure you have the right technology and infrastructure. Maybe this is evident, as at this point, I am certain you already have. Anyway, there’s enough specialised references you can use to make the best selection for you. Let me just share a funny anecdote: a manager told me a few years ago that they didn’t have enough licenses to deliver simultaneous classes, but the real issue was that they didn’t have enough bandwidth! (By the way, I did experience that at home during confinement: my provider did not anticipate I would have 5 full audio and video virtual meetings at the same time on the same router+modem…).
- The human factor. When you start industrialising something, sometimes the first thing you lose is the spirit. You’re already becoming more digital, don’t forget that this also requires you to remain human. Let us put it this way: technology will give you more options to contact and interact with the audience. The moment you realise this is still a live session, you’ll do better. A virtual class is neither a webinar nor a video.
- Invest in your trainers and your producers. We identify two main roles to ensure success of a live virtual class. The trainer will take participants through activities and exercises, being the “visible face” and the referent of content and expertise. The trainer’s didactics are not transferrable from face-to-face. Of course, a trainer could be good in both environments, but that’s not obvious or even necessary. The producer is the one that monitors participation and keeps the session alive: setting up the room, working out the pods, ensuring everyone’s at ease with their connection, sorting out any technical issue…
- Pedagogy and Didactics, and good content! You want people to learn during (and after) your virtual classes, this is not just about bringing them together because it is easy. Yes, you can have kick off sessions and follow up workshops, where the didactics may be quite obvious! But if we are talking about virtual classes, you must ensure that you apply working principles and effective tools. So, deliver only relevant and updated virtual classes, and when designing them make them as modular as possible. Doing so, you will be able to rebuild or use them as part of multiple and varied learning journeys.
What’s your status on these 4 points? Are there any more keys to success you can share?