Getting Your Arms Around Virtual Instructor-Led Training (3 of 4)

May 9, 2013 11:39 by Dana Peters

If you have been following this blog, you are probably aware I am in the midst of 4 part series addressing a set of questions that came from a recent phone conversation with a colleague. The objective of her questions was to support her planning efforts as she was deciding how to proceed with implementing Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) in her organization.

If you are just tuning in now and would like to come up to speed, give part 1 and part 2 a read.

Now, on with this post to share my response to her third question:

How do we decide which classes get repurposed and which ones do not?

There is not a clear cut answer to this question. Each organization is different for a variety of reasons;  audience being served, type of learning programs offered, nature of the organization’s industry, ability of the learning and development team, and technology available.

To further complicate matters, are the individual decisions that need to be made about each learning objective within the course. I encouraged my colleague to not only think about the classes as a whole, but to look at it in pieces. By pieces I mean the individual learning objectives. There may be pieces that could be repurposed to VILT, pieces that are well served in another delivery method (like a self-directed module or assignment), and pieces that should remain in the traditional face-to-face classroom.

Bottom line, what are the learning objectives of the class and what delivery method best support each objective?

With all these complexities in mind, we forged on to discuss the following general approach:

  • Review of current class learning objectives. Were these objectives well defined in the first place, are they still relevant with what the learner needs to perform on the job, and are they still it in line with the current business needs? Things change over time. This is an opportunity to update and re-tool.
  • Ask yourself some questions about each learning objective. A few examples we discussed:
  1. Is this a knowledge objective?  Example: Learners will be able to define the 30 compliance terms listed in the consumer disclosure. I would not use precious class time, whether face-to-face or virtually, to communicate a list of terms that could easily be learned independently through a self-directed modality. This is ideal pre-work. Class time would be used to confirm and apply this information.
  2. Is it an objective that requires interaction with others? Example: Designing a cross-departmental procedure to resolve a common service complaint. Opposite of the previous example, some class time could be well spent on this activity. Plus additional outside group work time may be required, depending on the complexity of the procedure and the depth of the activity.
  3. Does the learner need time to digest and reflect? Example: When learners need to recall a few working examples from their own experience to apply to a new strategy they’re learning. As implied, participants need independent think time. Pre-work or in-between session work would position learners to be prepared for fruitful discussion.
  4. How will understanding be confirmed? Is this something the instructor needs to observe (see the participants demonstrate) or could understanding be gauged with a knowledge check. 
  5. What environment will this learning be incorporated in, in real life? Example: If the end result, back on the job, is for the learner to successfully turn an escalating upset customer call in their call center into a satisfied customer before the call concludes, what learning environment ideally supports this?
  6. What will participants need to physically be able to get their hands on? Example: Demonstrating the ability to drive a folk lift safely.
  • Determine the possibilities and make decisions. With each objective, determine the different ways the objective could be accomplished. Some ideas will be better possibilities than others and some will be more practical than others. There will be give and take.
  • Step back. What mix of the above possibilities best meets the overall objective for this course, the needs of the business, and works within the budget?

Another question often stems from here; what are the best practices for repurposing face-to-face content to the VILT classroom? Though I am tempted to address this now, it deserves a post of its own. Stay tuned, I’ll put it on my “to do” list for a post after this 4 part series is done.

Back to the question at hand; what would you add to our conversation here about how to decide which classes get repurposed and which ones do not? I look forward to your comments.

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

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