Getting Your Arms Around Virtual Instructor-Led Training

April 12, 2013 14:04 by Dana Peters

I had a call last week with the Director of Learning and Development of a mid-sized organization. Though familiar with her company from a previous project, she started the conversation reminding me that the majority of their training is currently offered in the traditional, face to face, classroom. She explained the time has come to leverage virtual instructor-led training (VILT) to offer more to her learners, meet the requirements of her stakeholders, and keep the budget in check.

She wanted my input in determining what her next steps should be. Her questions included:

  • How do I do this smart; I feel like such a novice, there is so much I don’t know?
  • How do I introduce VILT to my designers and facilitators, I know there will be resistance?
  • How do we decide which classes get repurposed and which ones do not?
  • How do we select a platform to deliver our VILT courses? There are so many.

These are great questions and I thought you might be interested in what we discussed. In this blog post I will take one of her questions and share my response. Then, I would like to hear from you! Who knows where the discussion might go?

As I mentioned, her first question was:

How do I do this smart; I feel like such a novice, there is so much I don’t know?

I had a lot to say about this.

First, I congratulated her on recognizing VILT was something that should be approached with thought, consideration, and planning. I have worked with clients that are recovering from the aftermath of jumping into the VILT deep end; it’s better to take the time planning, preparing, and gaining the internal support needed on the front side.

Second, I reminded her that everyone starts out feeling like a novice when something is new, VILT included. Being familiar with her background I pointed out, while she may be new to VILT, she is not new to learning and development.

Next, we made a detailed list of what her facilitators currently need to deliver a class successfully in the face to face classroom. Then we made a list of what they would need for a successful delivery in the virtual classroom. The comparison of these two lists brought the “ah-ha” moment. She realized much of what is required for success was the same regardless of where the class took place. The difference was in the design and delivery of the content.

Finally, we brain stormed action steps she could take to increase her knowledge and start to develop some skills. Here is what we landed on:

  • Take several VILT classes as a participant. Topic not as important as variety. Different:
    1. Instructors
    2. Sizes of classes (number of participant and lengths)
    3. Types of topics (soft vs. technical skills)
    4. Learning platforms
  • In these classes pay attention to all that is happening:
  1. Was the instructor engaging? How did he/she accomplish this?
  2. What about the design worked? What did not? 
  3. How easy was the platform to use as a participant? How well did the tools work?
  4. Was the content successfully delivered in the VILT environment (were the learning objects were met)? How was that accomplished?
  • Sign up for free trials of a few learning platforms. Play with the tools. When you are comfortable, invite others to join you in the VILT classroom. Test things out: the audio, polls, chat, desktop sharing, breakout rooms, whiteboards, and the video capabilities.
  • Network with others that have been successful with VILT integration. Learn what worked and what didn’t.
  • Absorb information. There are many books, articles, and blogs on VILT. Consider taking classes on facilitation and design or retaining a private coach. (My client knows we do work in this area, so we discussed our services. I also shared with her a list of informational resources. I am glad to share this with you too, just send me an email.)

This was what we discussed. I know there is a wealth of knowledge out there, what else would you share with someone in my client’s situation to address this first question?

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eLearning | Online Learning | Virtual Instructor-Led Training | Virtual Learning

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