How To Incorporate Virtual Instructor-Led Training Activities Into Your Online Training Strategy
Black-and-white thinking is often automatic, but that doesn’t mean it’s helpful. In practical terms, we often have to mix, match, and compromise. That’s how we keep the world turning. In this space, eLearning is a golden child, since it’s thought to resolve all the challenges presented by conventional training methods. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and saves time. That said, offline learning has benefits as well. Therefore, the ideal solution is to combine the two. So, let’s explore 7 interesting ways of throwing some instructor-led training activities into the online training mix, through the power of blended learning.
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1. Combine Synchrony And Asynchrony With Live Events
The biggest benefit of online training is that corporate learners can pick their own pace and schedule, as they can study at their convenience. In synchronous training sessions, all employees study at the same time. It could be a webinar or a live Q & A session. Asynchronous sessions are driven by the corporate learner. They log in at will and train when it suits them. There’s no contradiction in combining these two systems. Corporate learners have access to all their online training material, so they can select the time and structure that works best for them. However, you (the eLearning developer) can schedule weekly group sessions at a pre-set time. Every employee is required to attend or watch the recorded event and complete follow-up activities to make up for it.
2. Set Up One-On-One Time
Similarly, each corporate learner can have individual sessions with their online instructor. Every week, the online instructor might issue a timetable defining their availability. Corporate learners should pick a convenient slot. During the session, the online instructor and corporate learner can get into video-chat or instant messenger meeting. The online instructor can answer questions, give eLearning feedback, or offer guidance as needed. They can dig deeper into complex topics or recommend external reference materials. These instructor-led training activities can also be used for individual evaluation and assessment. Keep it casual so corporate learners aren’t intimidated into non-responsiveness.
3. Build A Good Chat Room
Even if corporate learners don’t study simultaneously, there needs to be a consistent link among them. A chat room or web forum is a good way to do this. Your online instructor (or their assistant) should moderate the chat room. This is important, because online conversations have an alarming escalation rate. Check that all online discussions remain training-related. As part of their course requirements, each corporate learner has to participate in the online discussion. Require them to respond at least once a week and keep track of their instructor-led training activities. You can even program alerts and notifications to nudge them into action. These can be sent on a Thursday evening, reminding them to meet their quota.
4. Offer Access To The Online Instructor
By nature, your online instructor won’t be physically present. This doesn’t mean their corporate learners can’t reach them, as instructor-led training requires. Create a workable template for communication. Let corporate learners know they can reach the online instructor by chat or email within a given window. Specify the duration for a response – ideally 48 hours. This way, corporate learners won’t feel ignored, and online instructors won’t feel pressured to respond immediately. After all, with corporate learners studying at their own pace, they may have ‘urgent’ questions at 3.00 a.m. It’s not realistic (or fair) to expect instant answers. Also, avoid direct phone numbers. Corporate learners can easily – and inadvertently – become invasive via poorly timed calls and personal messaging apps.
5. Invite Questions
At the end of every self-study module, request corporate learners to ask questions. They can type them anonymously if they prefer. Online instructors can review these questions and use them to craft the next session. This keeps the online training course interesting and dynamic because it’s constantly being updated to suit the needs of your corporate learners. It also gets them more engaged, because they can see their own direct influence on their online training course. From a course development perspective, it can also help you identify any information gaps in your online training content. It’s a convenient form of eLearning feedback for instructor-led training activities, showing which bits of the class need clarification and improvement.
6. Pre-Course Brainstorming Sessions
Schedule brainstorming sessions before the online training course so that online instructors can ‘bounce’ ideas off employees and get their input. This can be done via video conferencing, social media groups, or online discussions. The goal is to give employees the chance to voice their opinions and expectations. As well as get to know their online instructors/facilitators. Brainstorming events also allow everyone to gradually immerse themselves in the subject matter, given that they serve as a knowledge primer.
7. Video Demos And Walkthroughs
Invite online instructors to host live demos and walkthroughs that allow employees to follow their example. They can also record the session for future reference. This is ideal for product demos and tutorials, as the instructor is able to share pointers and illustrate proper performance behaviors. For example, ways to speed up the checkout process to keep customers happy. Another great addition to instructor-led training is personal anecdotes. You can also encourage them to include personal stories that help employees relate and emotionally connect.
Blended learning combines online and offline teaching methods. It takes the best bits of instructor-led training activities and self-driven education. How can you apply it to best effect? Use a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. Carve out blocks where corporate learners get individual sessions with their online instructor. Group classes are good too, where everyone gets together for a real-time webinar-type session. For peer exchange, provide an in-course moderated online discussion. After they complete a unit, prompt employees to ask questions that will be incorporated into their next class. They will feel involved and listened to, becoming more committed to their online training.
Does your current LMS support the best of both worlds, or is time to look for a tool that supports blended learning? Our online directory features the top blended learning management systems to consider for your online training program.
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