5 elements you will get from an expert approach to live virtual training.
By Martyn Lewis, Founder and Principal, 3g Selling
Have you ever observed a true expert at work? Take the head chef at your favorite a chef restaurant: She prepares a gourmet meal while effortlessly traversing the kitchen, chopping, tasting, pouring, and stirring. Experts like this often can make what they do seem simple, until you have to do it yourself. True expertise does not come easily. It is developed over time, with persistence, experience, and often by overcoming an incredible amount of trial and error. But in the end, the long journey to expertise can pay off in spades, and, in the case of our expert head chef, results in a gastronomic delight.
In many ways, learning and development professionals experience a similar journey when it comes to harnessing the power of Web-based learning. For many, what at first seems simple in fact turns out not to be simple at all. Having access to great technology, content, and even good virtual facilitators proves inadequate for creating and delivering consistent and effective virtual training experiences.
The 64-million-dollar question is: Where do you get access to the kind of expertise you need to maximize the ROI of live virtual training? Sometimes you have to look outside the organization. With this in mind, here are five elements you will get from an expert approach to live virtual training that you won’t necessarily get from within your own organization:
A proven and rigorous process for the design and delivery of a virtual learning experience. A truly engaging program that leads to a change in behavior should integrate learning with hands-on application of new knowledge right into the job. Peers should have the opportunity to collaborate to enrich their learning experience and receive expert coaching to help reinforce the change required.
A depth of resources that will enhance the learning experience, appeal to different learning styles, and increase the rate of absorption of new knowledge. For example, effective and engaging program delivery should carefully match the best resource to the learning points being made. Whether it be audio clips, pre-recorded video, breakout groups, visual animations, or images, use the right tool for the job.
An approach to program delivery that’s structured yet dynamic, and that drives dialogue and engages the learner. This is one of the most critical aspects of live virtual training because participants can get distracted easily and gain little from the training unless the delivery style requires their interaction and is compelling enough to capture and sustain their attention.
A delivery experience that ignites collaboration among the participants, and a program structure that ensures their managers are equipped to address issues that affect adoption of the learning both during and after training.
A system for evaluating the training results both during the program delivery and beyond. During the delivery, the facilitation team should monitor the attentiveness and participation levels and be prepared to adjust the approach as needed right on the fly. The delivery team needs to be flexible and focus on pulling in and engaging participants in the program. If something isn’t working, find out why and make the necessary adjustment. On an ongoing basis, ensure there is a mechanism for the training participants to share the results of what they learned when it was applied. This continued forum for collaboration and learning reinforcement will help ensure results are maximized and barriers to implementation are overcome.
If virtual is not giving you the results you expected, don’t give up. Great chefs are not made overnight, and neither are great virtual training programs. Seek out experts—and not just those who talk about doing it, but those who are actually doing it in the real world…and doing it well. This is by far the fastest, cheapest, and most effective path to your virtual training success.
Martyn Lewis is a virtual learning thought leader, entrepreneur, sales consultant, facilitator, author, and keynote speaker. He founded two companies: Market-Partners and 3g Selling, which offers an integrated learning format, proven sales methodology, and program customization.